The Quest for Strength: Dealing with Limitations


This summer, I joined a wellness clinic at my workplace. Since the clinic is conducting longitudinal research, they provide the opportunity for an in-depth fitness assessment. This allows them to collect valuable data, and as a result, I ended up with a very personalized fitness plan for the next several weeks. Based on my goals, it became obvious that I would need to break up with the elliptical and spend my lunch hour doing strength training.

The Quest for Strength: Dealing with Limitations

I actually fell in love with strength training pretty quickly, but I noticed this strange thing happening when it was time to face a new challenge (e.g. more weights, a move I hadn’t done before).

I would say (in my head), I probably can’t do that. I’ll just do [insert lower weight, skip to an easier exercise].

It was like I would rather complete three sets at an easier weight than to take on the challenge and find out I could only do two sets of twelve and one set of ten at the harder weight.

As if the first option would somehow preserve the illusion of my strength to others.

Because if I choose to try that harder set of weights, people might see, they might know, that I have limits.

Have you ever felt like that, fellow mama?

I know you. I know that you are really, truly capable of so much. You juggle life and work and home and kiddos. You’re amazing.

But maybe like me, you have this nagging sense of insufficiency. Of being found out for who you are. Human. Not super woman.

Maybe you’re also like me. On a quest to be stronger. To be healthier spiritually, relationally, mentally, and yeah, physically.

The counter-intuitive craziness is that in order to actually become stronger, we have to be willing to meet our limits. To assess our weaknesses. To share them with others.

So for me, it’s taking communicating with my trainer, doing silly things like saying out loud, “I can do as much as I can do” when I’m trying a new weight or move, and striving to be more transparent with the world at large.

How do you feel about limits — real or self-imposed?

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Does it involve good conversation? Will it leave people thinking and feeling connected? Is there a chance of diet Coke? Then count me in! I’m a relationship-building, student-advising, psychology-teaching, craft-making, food-experimenting wife to Jensen (July 2007) and mama to Leo and Louie, the two most handsome, dark haired, long-lashed little men I’ve ever met. My current hobbies include finding awesome take-out restaurants, convincing everyone I know that the best party is a THEME party, and adding books to my “to read” shelf on Goodreads.


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