One year ago today, I posted my first article here at Progressive Strength, and today we’re gonna celebrate it! My first post was this one, breaking down an episode of the Iron Culture Podcast. Looking back on it, it’s not surprising to see that my style as a blogger has shifted over time. I had a strong sense of what I wanted this blog to be–a place to share ideas, to build community, and to explore the nuances of the evidence-based nutrition and lifting content that I love. But I wasn’t sure how to bring people in and create that community. Were there other folks listening to and reading all the content I was who were looking for a safer place to have those conversations than the comments section?
Honestly, I didn’t start sharing content until I had a few weeks under my belt. I wanted folks who wandered over to my little corner of the internet to have more to explore, if they liked what they read and were curious to read more. I also wanted to post some clear statements about who I was, who I wasn’t and what the philosophy behind this blog was going to be–balancing that tenuous line between two communities–feminists, many of whom are highly suspicious of intentional weight loss strategies, and physique and strength sport participants, many of whom see body size regulation as a necessary part of those sports. To that end, I posted two posts that I consider essential reading to understanding my perspective on these issues. This one, clearly stating the ground rules for discussing physique goals without perpetuating diet culture, and this one on why I see the old “95% of diets fail” myth as harmful.
Slowly, as the blog started to get a little steam, I was fortunate enough to catch the attention of some of the folks whose content I was sharing, celebrating and discussing. This post led Jason Leenaarts to reach out to me, and he’s been an especially generous content creator, sharing out my blog with others when my content crosses paths with his.
And after this post on food tracking, Greg Nuckols reached out and shared some of his thoughts on tracking and how he hopes MacroFactor is a kinder, less harmful sort of food tracking app.
After a year of writing, I’m happy to say that the two most successful posts I’ve had on the blog, in terms of total readership, are posts I’m proud of. This recipe for Carrot Cake Steel Cut Oats is the most popular recipe, thanks in large part to it being shared in Patrick Umphrey’s Eat, Train, Progress Facebook group. And this post on privilege and the “hard work and consistency” narrative clearly struck a chord and was shared widely online as well.
Creating this space online has felt risky at times. I shared some of my concerns in this post after the demise of the YLLAM community. When I created this space, it was my hope that I could create a place for real conversation and community, like some of my favorite places to hangout online. The posts haven’t generated the daily conversation I had been imagining, but I have absolutely connected with some amazing people, nonetheless. I am so grateful for all of my regular readers, especially those of you who have taken the time to share with me your support, ideas, and commiseration.
There is still so much work to be done to create inclusive lifting cultures, accessible and welcoming to all people. Writing has become an outlet for me that I can’t really imagine going without. Whenever a challenging gym experience, a dumb, male-centric YouTube video, or a random, sciencey thought crosses my mind, I am so grateful to have a space to share it all. I want to believe that these conversations help shift the narrative over time, that this is an important part of the work in making evidence-based lifting and nutrition a place where we practice meaningful equity, too. Thank you so much for doing this work with me!