Great athletes aren’t straining their bodies with their minds. They’re just moving. They do what they do with power, grace, fluidity. They do it without thinking. They don’t need to make the decisions for their bodies. Athletes move for what they want, and trust their bodies to find the way.
This isn’t some concept reserved for a chosen elite. Why would you train to be good in your body, when you can train to be great? Why would you train to be good in your life, when you can train to be great?
This also isn’t just about how to have a great run or an inspiring climb, although it will get you there. It’s about how to be great in your life. You can stress and strain and obsess about controlling every movement in your life. Or you can trust that there’s a better way, that you already have it, and start using it."
— Stop Immobilizing Your Body and Life- Strala Yoga
What could have been an empowering approach to body confidence has become another way to prioritize unrealistic body image; we’ve just replaced one cultural standard (thin) with another (ripped muscles).
Sure, strength is important. We need strength in order to live our lives, to care for our self and the people who mater most. Ultimately, when we get strong in our bodies, we can apply this strength to the actions we take, the degree to which we become masters of our minds, and our approach to living our lives fully.
When I think of “strong,” I think of my students who approach radiation treatments with optimism and courage. I think of my mom supporting two kids on her own. I think of my friend who felt unfulfilled in his secure career, so he left to pursue a job that ignited his passion. True strength can be measured by how many pounds you lift on a barbell, but it can be measured by how many spirits you lift.
Unfortunately, “strong is the new skinny” isn’t necessarily being adopted to encourage this type of strength.
Turning the slogan into a focus on an ideal outward appearance can trigger a negative internal battle that diminishes, rather than builds, strength…
…by making “strong is the new skinny” all about striving for a visible six-pack and shredded triceps, it’s not a step forward on the path to true strength. We’re not trying to actually get stronger, healthier, or raise our levels of self-esteem. We’ve just traded one potentially unrealistic and unhealthy external goal for another. Both paths lead to the same end point: self-criticism."
— Strong is the New Skinny, And That’s Not Necessarily a Good Thing- Mindbodygreen.com