OK, so being a part of a major ad campaign for a major fitness apparel company is pretty darn cool in and of itself.
The fact that this brand represents my sport makes it doubly cool. But the message behind the campaign itself is truly the coolest part.
The Express your Strong campaign is based on the idea that people are born with innate strength that is fed in the wake of the challenges and rigours of training. The message obviously resonated profoundly with me since I overcame a serious accident with the same attributes I had forged in training after many years of being sedentary.
Strength is expressed in many areas of our lives: illness, injury, career, family. Hence, training your body really does change you, inside and out.
The kicker for me is that the campaign focuses on women… which I feel is especially important. Those who know me, know I have an inner feminist drilling away at my core values.
Years ago, I fought my way into a dead-end, only to be publicly ridiculed for suggesting that women race the same distances as men in collegiate cross country. How absurd that women be made to run as far as men… even though they are clearly biologically better-suited to longer distance events.
I cringe at the campaigns that suggest fit women are just as sexy at any weight. It’s not that I disagree with the message. And a part of me loves the premise. Every one of those women are sexy. I just feel like we missed the point. Every one of those women are capable and strong. Their bodies and minds are able to express that in different and yet equally amazing ways. I want “sexy” to loose it’s place as the central issue for us ladies so that we can truly transcend the barriers of valuing a body for it’s ascetics alone.
Fitness is just so much more than that.
Part way into my fitness journey, I realized that I was really discovering that I was strong. I wasn’t fast, I couldn’t lift heavy things, I couldn’t throw or catch. I couldn’t express my strong on Track and Field day. But it was there… as soon as I had an outlet, I found it and it made me who I am today.
Many of us women put ourselves last. We let others lead us, make our choices. We lead others down their own paths. We do it all for the ones we love. But in so, we lose ourselves.
I’ve seen it happen. The eyes that flash, “Oh my god. I can do this.” There is no feeling like it. That strength that surges through your body at the top of a rope climb or at the peak of a mountain. That strength that surges through you just the same when you follow your own heart, overcome your demons or come sliding through the other side of a tragedy.
Sure, there’s room for every fit body to feel sexy. But there’s room for every fit body to feel accomplished, powerful… strong. Isn’t that so much more amazing?
In case you missed the ad…