Good morning! It was LEG DAY at the gym today, and the fact that I am consistently working hard to gain muscle and strength in my legs got me thinking, because I definitely didn’t always have this mindset. For example, today I did 4 x 8 squats at 85lbs. Not amazing, but a far cry from the 3 x 8 at 45lbs I could barely do a month ago. I am improving nonstop, and it feels STELLAR.
Growing up in sports meant that from the age of five onwards, I was working hard, developing strength and gaining muscle without even realizing it. My opinion on that right now is HOW AWESOME IS THAT? You go hang out with your friends several times per week doing something you love and build a foundation for yourself to have a lifetime of fitness.
My opinion on that about five years ago: My thighs look fat.
Let me tell you a fact or two. When you, for eleven years, are:
- In a tuck position strapped to wood flying 100km/h down a mountain
- Doing tuck jumps for hours AFTER above exercise
- Squatting/leg pressing more than the boys on your team
YOU ARE GOING TO GET LEG MUSCLES. This is wonderful. Having the ability to move yourself, whether it is walking, running, skiing, jumping, or anything, strong legs = freedom. Possibilities.
Not to mention the ability to move OTHER things. Do you want to rearrange your bedroom? Lie on the floor with your back against the wall and push that bed to the other side.
In this day and age, the focus is all about “long and lean”. Girls don’t want to get “bulky”. Well, I’m not here to tell you that lifting heavy won’t do that. I think the CrossFit/lifting movement has done that for me. What I am trying to say is that long + lean does is not the only way to look gorgeous.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a certain look – but google “leg workout for women” and “Slim lean legs!” will show up more times than you can count. That’s great for some women, and I’m not discrediting them at all. But what about those of us that just can’t achieve that look? Not without endless cardio and dieting to force our bodies to use up our hard-earned muscle? That doesn’t sound remotely appealing to me.
It’s taken me a long time to love my legs. I kid you not, I used to google “how to lose leg muscle”. No, that is not a joke. I was so embarrassed of my “thunder thighs” (–> I will never use that phrase again), that I was obsessed with getting rid of them. They were different from all the other non-athletic skinny girls and I wanted to fit in.
Do you hear that, though? They made me different! My strong, muscular legs made, and still make, me unique and set me apart from the stereotypical female. They allow me to run far,
to squat more than I used to weigh, and feel proud of the dedication it took/takes to achieve them. They make me unique, and for that, I love my muscular legs.
This is my best advice if you are in the same situation as I was! So often we are uncomfortable with things that set us apart. It does make sense, though. If there was nothing different about us, we wouldn’t have anything we thought was “weird”, because everyone else would have it too.
And who really wants that? Who wants to look exactly the same as every other girl on the planet? EMBRACE your muscles, girls, not only for what they can do in the world, but for what they can do for you. 🙂 Make you unique, proud, independent,
and stronger than yesterday.