Last weekend, I attended a fitness camp. This was no ordinary fitness camp, this was STRONG CAMP hosted by the incredible and inspiring Strong Fitness magazine.
The basic rundown…. 40 women from all over the world (yes, my own roommate flew in from Scotland!) of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels coming together to be coached by Fitness Pro Stacie Venagro through a variety of grueling workouts like kickboxing, tabata, bootcamp, and crossfit; all while being photographed by the amazingly artistic chief photographer of Strong Fitness Magazine, Paul Buceta.
The workouts were insanely hard, floor was a puddle of sweat, friendships were blossoming, the bonds were immediate, energy was high, and motivation even higher. Right when you thought you couldn’t climb any higher or lift anymore, someone was there to cheer you on and prove that you could. So, yes we proved our strength and pushed past our limits, but that was not the point, that was not the best part, that was not my take-a-away.
In between the workouts and pain, we had brief seminars on topics ranging from training to nutrition, but the one discussion that resonated most for all of us was the strong talk. “What does strong mean to you?” That’s it, that’s how it started. We were told to take out our phones, open up the notes section, and take 5 minutes to write down what strong meant to us. After just a few minutes, we put our phones down, stared anxiously at Stacie for what was next, and then listened as our fearless leader told us what strong mean to her. Almost immediately she had us all shedding some tears. Tears because we could all relate in some way, tears because she was able to guide us to tap into our own lives and remind ourselves of times we have had to be strong, remind us of things we’ve overcome, and remind us of how far we’ve come.
We are all strong in some way and we all have a story. Let that sink in, WE ALL HAVE A STORY!
Now, close your eyes and think about yours…..
As Stacie wrapped up her piece, she had volunteers stand and read what they had written. Of the 10 or so girls who read their definition of strong, many sounded the same. They all had similar themes, but were personalized in some way. You could hear struggle, pain, triumph, accomplishment, fear, and raw emotion coming out; yet, they were just defining a word. After breaking us down physically, lifting us up emotionally, and completely exhausting us, we were forced to dig down inside and hold a mirror up to ourselves.
So, now let me ask you again…. What does strong mean to you? There is no right or wrong answer.
I can’t eloquently write my definition, but I can tell you some of the things that come to my mind every time I hear the word. Strong means being able to conquer, pushing past fear, stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping into your own power, trusting and believing in yourself, knowing it’s okay to ask for help, being fit and healthy, educated, willing to learn, being a role model and leader…. The list goes on!
As I reflect on the weekend, the stories that I heard, the life-long friends that I made, the physical pain I was able to push through; my definition of strong keeps expanding. As I continue to learn and grow, so does my strength!
Don’t let how much weight you can lift or what the scale says define you.
YOU are strong, trust me!