Why I Refuse to Wear “Strong Is the New Skinny” Shirts

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by TARYN HAGGERSTONE

Strong Isn't the New Skinny...

Strong Isn’t the New Skinny…

If you Google the word “strong” there are tons of definitions, but the first one that came up when I searched was this:

Strong (adj): having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks

…so let’s go with that. I also searched “skinny,” and this is what I got:

Skinny (adj): very lean, thin or emaciated

Both words are descriptive, but they certainly don’t refer to the same thing — one is about what we can do and the other is about what we look like. While appearances can be indicative of our physical abilities, things aren’t always what they seem from the outside.

“Strong Is the New Skinny”

"Strong Is the New Skinny"
I really don’t like this saying. I think it misses the point, especially because it’s always paired with “fitspiration” photos.

Looking strong doesn’t always mean someone is strong (or healthy) and someone can be both strong and healthy without “looking” it; it all depends on the person and their body type.

Personally, I love the whole “strong” thing; it’s working out way better for me than “skinny” ever did. However, I may be strong, but I’m not “ripped” or “shredded,” and I definitely don’t have a six-pack. In fact, I’ve been told — more than a few times — that my lack of six-pack is surprising considering how hard I train.

The thing is, even when I was really skinny in high-school, I still had a little bit of a tummy — that’s just how my body is built. If I wanted a six-pack, I would need to REALLY lean out; in doing so I would sacrifice a significant amount of my functional strength, all so I could “look” the part.

That isn’t to say girls can’t be ripped and strong — there are lots of girls who can and are killing it on both fronts. I just know that for me to be my strongest/fittest, I can’t be that lean.

And let’s keep in mind that there are also people who struggle to gain muscle/weight and for them to achieve that “strong physique” would be equally difficult; but just because they don’t look strong doesn’t mean they’re less capable.

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