I have this vision.
I want to believe we can create a space that marries two worlds–on one side, the world of bodybuilding and strength training and on the other side, the compassionate, values-driven world of habit-based nutrition and wellness.
Bodybuilding and strength training have so many wonderful things to give–empowerment through literal increases in ability, the powerful experience of redefining our bodies by intentionally taking up more space especially for women and other folks painfully impacted by diet culture, developing the skills to adjust and progress for a lifetime around the endless challenges and barriers life throws at us.
However, they also can do so much harm, increasing people’s exposure to potentially harmful diet and exercise habits, pushing them to ignore their hunger, to chronically push past fatigue in their training, and to prioritize the outsides of ourselves over our insides.
And this is where the compassionate awareness of the best habit-based practices can fill in the gaps, creating tools and conversation to provide alternative mindsets. Instead of ignoring the wisdom of our bodies, we learn to be deeply attuned to them. Learning to eat when we’re hungry and stopping when we are satisfied most of the time teaches us to trust our bodies, to respect natural variation in our body types, and is so much more health-promoting than rigid nutritional external controls like counting calories. Moreover, we can extend this trust in our training, using RPE or other systems to define our success based on how it feels in our body that day, under those unique circumstances rather than preplanned, rigid systems designed to meet the presumed needs of the “average” lifter.
In my vision, all of this is being done from a place of deep self-compassion, and a truly felt knowledge that success is defined by the process not by some arbitrary outcome. Success is doing the work, day-to-day, based on the unique needs and abilities of the individual, and by that definition, anyone can be successful in this new, joyful version of the lifting world.
I believe this vision can come to pass. I see people doing this work, at least in parts, all over the fitness and health space. A few wonderful, evidence-based nutrition and fitness coaches are building systems to help people define their nutrition and movement habits from a place of self-compassion. Other folks are exploring systems to build training around the unique needs of an athlete on any particular day, such as RPE, RIR, or velocity-based training. We can marry these two worlds and create a powerful, effective, inclusive and joyful community that has space for everyone who wants to do work.
Are you with me?