I’ll never forget a parenting moment I witnessed last year after finishing a morning of paddleboarding in the Marina.
As I was walking up to wash off my board, a woman walks up with her young daughter. She looked a bit younger than Isaac’s (8-ish) and was visibly full of enthusiasm and curiosity. For whatever reason, there happened to be a 40 pound dumbbell sitting on the lawn next to the SUP rental desk–I’m guessing it’s something the instructors play around with on their breaks.
In my experience, I’ve found that children are fascinated by exercise equipment, and this little girl was no exception. She ran excitedly over to the hunk of iron to see if she could pick it up. This is where it gets dicey.
“Honey, no–that’s not for you it’s for the boys. It’s too heavy,” the mother says.
It’s for the boys. It’s too heavy. It’s not for you.
Now, to everyone’s surprise but mine, the little girl proceeded to deadlift the dumbbell rather safely and easily. And because I wasn’t surprised, I found myself angry instead. Would I suggest a child who’s never lifted weights randomly pick up something heavy without instruction? Of course not. But would I discourage her by saying it’s for the boys?
Now listen, I don’t believe in judging other people’s parenting styles–we are all doing our best and fighting our own battles. But as a strong women fighting against these stere0types, I can’t help but wonder: was that warning counterproductive?
Could something more like,“be careful that could be dangerous” have been in order?. A child who’s never been taught how to lift something that’s probably pretty close to her bodyweight should be warned–it’s a safety concern and a reasonable one at that. I’m very cognizant of my son when he plays around with weights and I pay extra attention to his safety.
But it’s too heavy? It’s not for you? What are we teaching our little girls?
I bit my tongue, of course, as was the right thing to do in the situation. I make it a habit not to judge others, so it’s important to note that this insight isn’t a criticism of the mother–it’s an observation on how we can choose to empower girls.
So, instead of admonishing the mother I simply congratulated the child. It’s not my place to tell other people how to parent their children, just as it’s not their place to tell me how to raise my son. But I couldn’t help the flush of frustration that came over my face, and the burning sensation in my heart to tell this girl that nothing is just for the boys.
I settled for an enthusiastic “Good job! You’re so strong!” and took immense pleasure in the beaming pride this child exuded. She was inspired, of no ones urging, to see if she could hoist that weight–and that’s not a light I’m interested in snuffing out.
Instead, I want to tell her that the force is strong with her. I want to encourage her to harness the force, use the force, be the force, and eventually share the force. I want her to have permission to be the strongest expression of herself that she can possibly be.
I want her to break barriers. I want her to know that there is no such thing as “for the boys.”
Sometimes I think the reason I have such a passion for strength is because of how I was raised. My dad was a single father, and although he was born and raised in Iran-a country that often places woman second to men-he always raised me to be independent and empowered. He made me feel like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do as long as I applied myself.
I suppose that’s why he wasn’t surprised when I took a liking to sports, or when I became a personal trainer at the age of 18. He always supported me and encouraged me. I never felt like anything was just for the boys.
I may not have known it at the time, but the burning desire to be strong was embedded within me.
And because I have a relentless passion for empowering women through strength, I want so much to see this seed planted and cultivated in the heart of every girl. I want women everywhere to know how good it feels to lift weights, run fast, jump high, and do challenging yoga poses.
I want women everywhere to know, in their heart of hearts, that strength is not just for the boys–it’s for all of us.
My journey of strength
My journey of strength has taught me and brought me so many things–confidence, a sense of self-worth, physical and emotional strength, and the ability to adapt and endure just to name a few. But perhaps one of the most valuable gains from this journey is friendship.
I’ve met some incredibly strong and passionate women on this ride, some of whom have grown to be my sisters. One such woman is my business and training partner, Jill Coleman.
Jill is one of the most hardworking, compassionate, powerful people I know. She’s a phenomenal mindset and business coach, a killer athlete, and an even better friend. With our mutual love of wine, salsa dancing, Crossfit, and mindset talk–it’s no surprise that our friendship has grown to the point of sisterhood.
Over the years Jill has been my training partner, my business partner, my wine partner, my salsa partner, and my rock. She knows things about me that no one else does, and she’s the kind of person I can be both absurdly silly and serious with. Our bond is solidified through our mutual love of fitness but it’s evolved into far more.
She is my sister in strength, and she inspires me every single day to be the strongest version of myself.
In fact, we’ll often text each other about our performance at Crossfit should one of us be absent, and we discuss our strategies for completing WODs. She cares about my strength, and I care about hers.
It’s some sort of special juju that we spread as strong women, the kind that permeates race, age, privilege, and geographical location. It’s more than pull-ups and push-ups, more than kettlebells, and more than the weight on the bar.
So much more.
When Jill and I get together to train, it’s like a kind of magic. We sweat, smile, and laugh–and of course, I snort because that’s what happens when I laugh heartily.
We’ve lifted at Crossfit Boxes in Sydney and Queenstown, and hit up hotel gyms in Bali, Auckland, and Melbourne. She tricks me into doing absurdly hard workouts and I entice her with yoga poses.
We push each other to explore our strengths and exist on the fringe of our comfort zones. She’s always the fastest and strongest girl in our Crossfit class, and inspires me to keep up with her during workouts.
Here’s the thing: I care about your strength.
I want you to harness it, to embody it, to feel so connected to it that you want to shout it to the world. I want you to know that the force is strong with you, and I want to help you make it stronger. That’s why I’m here, afterall. That’s why this blog exists.
In the spirit of strengthening your force and helping you harness it, as well as in support of sisterhood, I’m incredibly excited today to announce the much anticipated launch of Jill’s new program, treadLIFT.
treadLIFT is a 36-workout program comprised of Build, Burn, and Boost workouts–all of which only a treadmill and pair of dumbbells are required. It’s designed to help you find enjoyment, efficiency, and effectiveness through movement. What does that mean?
It means that when you do treadLIFT workouts, you’ll get stronger, leaner, healthier, and happier–all while saving time and having fun doing it. You won’t spend hours in the gym wasting your time and never seeing results. You won’t get bored, and you’ll constantly be amazed by the incredible things your body can do.
I believe in Jill Coleman and every single thing she brings to fitness table; treadLIFT is no exception.
Is Lift treadLIFT for YOU?
- Do you love to move your body in different ways while challenging yourself and seeing amazing results? Do you love lifting, sweating, and discovering abilities you never knew you had?
- Do you like ease and adaptability when it comes to your workouts?
- Are you interested in seeing serious results without spending hours in the gym?
- Do you want the force to be strong(er) with you?
- Do you want to be consistent with your workouts, no matter where in the world you travel?
- Do you want your training to be easy to follow and see incredible results?
If so, then yes, treadLIFT is for you. If burning fat WHILE building muscle and having a helluva good time sounds like your kind of workout, then treadLIFT is for you. If you’re not thrilled with traditional cardio, are frustrated at a lack of results, or just want to ramp up your athleticism, treadLIFT is for you.
I hope that through your own journey of strength you come face to face with just how strong the force is with you. I hope that you never go a day without recognizing how powerful, radiant, and unique you are–and I hope that you then embrace those qualities wholeheartedly.
And most importantly, I hope that you then take that force and share it with the women in your life. Strength is contagious–pass it on.