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Choosing to take action and build a stronger body

This is an excerpt from Big & Bold: Strength Training for the Plus-Size Woman by Morit Summers & Morit Summers.

What do you do once you have all the tools to start you on your path? You just start. It’s okay if you don’t get it right every time, it’s okay to make mistakes, skip a day, miss a rep. Strength training is a part of life, and life doesn’t always go according to plan. Be kind to yourself and remember that perfection isn’t the goal. Progress is. A training program and setting a goal are the key to consistency, but if we don’t allow for mistakes and changes, we set ourselves up for failure. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s so easy to forget that we all fall into the trap from time to time of expecting results right away. When you are feeling frustrated or discouraged, take a breath, and bring yourself back to your mantra. As a reminder, my mindset is that I can get through anything I put my mind to. It’s okay if it’s hard. Do one rep at a time.

We live in a world where everything is fast, and everything is easy to find. Strength, though, takes time to build both mentally and physically. That is why strength training is so amazing. There are so many layers to it. I truly believe that people who are involved in the world of strength training understand each other a bit differently than other people do. I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s about dedication. It’s about wanting to work through the tough stuff, wanting to push our bodies and minds into uncomfortable situations.

This obviously doesn’t pertain only to strength training. I bring this up because the difference is that people in the world of strength choose to do it. Choose is the key word: We choose to be uncomfortable, to sweat, to wake up at 5 a.m., and to grunt and groan. There is always a love–hate relationship within fitness, and it’s okay to grunt through every workout, but remember you choose to be there, and so something in you enjoys it and wants it. It will be hard; I don’t want to sugarcoat this and lead you to believe that it will be an easy journey, because it won’t. But if you can bring a positive mindset and come with a plan in place, you can and will get through it.

I want to talk to my fellow plus-size women, my fellow big girls. No matter what size you are, we all got to the bodies we are in now on different paths. Some of us were born big, some of us have yo-yoed in weight, and some of us gained weight as adults. But we are all currently women in bigger bodies. We need to stick together, to respect each other and ourselves. Sometimes we dwell on the past, comparing the bodies we have now to what we used to have. “Used to” can be one of the most harmful phrases we ever use. Talking about and harping on the past won’t help you make change in the now.

If you are reading this book, it doesn’t mean that you hate being plus-size. Being plus-size can mean different things to different women. The common goal, I hope, is that we each love ourselves and the skin that we are in and that we are healthy. We should never judge each other. If a plus-size woman wants to lose weight, she should; if she wants to lift weights and get strong, she should; if she wants to remain plus-size, she should. None of these goals negate each other. I personally believe we all should love the skin that we live in, no matter the size, but if you have a goal, you should go for it and not worry about what anyone else thinks. It is the only body you will ever have; love it and treat it with respect.

Being big doesn’t mean unhealthy and being small doesn’t mean healthy. Unhealthy is unhealthy, and we get to decide how we take care of our vessel; no one else gets to make that decision for us. Take the time to recognize this: It’s your body, your decision, and your life.

I can’t bring this up enough, that the hardest part is getting started. My hope is that this book has helped you in some way. You may have learned that you are not alone, that you now have a better understanding of strength training, and that you feel good about coming up with a plan of action to get started.