Are You Strong Enough?

Categories: Blog Sep 29, 2014

[caption id="attachment_2132" align="alignnone" width="350"]Wirey, but strong! Wirey, but strong![/caption]

Are you strong? Can you deadlift 3 times your bodyweight? Can you squat twice your bodyweight? Can you do a one arm press with more than half your bodyweight? If you can do these things, some would say that you are strong. But, what do you say?

Strength seems to be a quality that is judged and determined by others, especially in the "strength" world. We are often sized up and judged by how much weight we can move. But what if we don't care about moving weight in a deadlift, a squat or a press? What if we don't care to perform or test these lifts at all? Are we then not strong? Or, what if we can do these lifts, only we can't do them at the designated "strong" level? Does that mean we are not strong?

What if a person can perform all of these feats of strength at an extraordinary level, but they can't walk up two flights of stairs without having to take a 5 minute recovery break? Would that person be considered strong?

Who comes up with the standards of strength? And, why would we let anyone's standard be the judge of how strong we are? What does it matter whether or not you can move a bar with weights on it? Can you move a bag of mulch, or several bags of mulch, repeatedly if you had to in order to beautify your lawn? Could you do it pain free, with plenty of energy to spare? Do you have the strength you need? The strength that allows you to live the life you want to live?

When it comes to strength, you should be the only one who can determine whether or not you are strong. And, you can determine whether or not you are strong by asking yourself one question: "Am I strong enough to live the life I want to live?"

There are many definitions and ideas of strength, but the only person who can truly define strength in your life is you. Can you do the things you want to do? Can you go for walks with your spouse? Can you wrestle with your kids, should a WWE match spontaneously break out? Can you mow your own lawn with a push mower? Can you live and do the things you want to do with plenty of ease and energy to spare? If you can, you are probably strong enough.

By the world's standards, there are plenty of very strong people who measure their strength as it relates to a barbell and the designated standards that deal with barbells. Some people even wrap their identity around how heavy a barbell they can move - that was me many moons ago. But the thing is, no amount of moving barbells and no amount of chasing other people's standard of strength ever enabled me to have real strength; real strength, the strength I really needed to enjoy the life I wanted to live. If anything, getting stronger at moving a bar, often made me weaker at living my life. I was too sore, too tired, or too injured to really do "real" things. And why? Because I was chasing after a false notion, or a shallow definition of strength.

PLEASE NOTE, I am not against moving barbells, or any kind of bells. I am only raising the question: Are you strong enough? Do you have the ability to enjoy your life? Barbells can certainly add to real-world, real-needed strength, but they should not be the measuring stick for strength. They are a tool and nothing more. You are the standard.

Don't chase after someone else's idea of strength, chase after the strength that will allow you to enjoy your life. Learn to move your body the way it was designed to move. You just might find your body is capable of expressing an amazing amount of strength.

The truth is, real strength has depth. It has multiple characteristics. It is not just an absolute value of how much weight one can move. Real strength also includes the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to keep performing work, the ability to move and enjoy ones own body. Real strength can even be seen in the ability to smile in the face of adversity, or in the ability to open your arms to someone who would just assume to curse you and spit in your face. Strength is more than the ability to move lifeless objects. It is also the ability to move the world even when the world would rather move you.

Again, are you strong enough? Only you can decide.

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