Thin or Strong? Choose wisely.

It seems nearly everyone is focused on becoming thinner when they should actually be focused on getting stronger.  Thin is a generic term that really has no meaning.

How do you know when you’ve actually become thin?

What have you gained by your new found thinness?

I’d argue that becoming thin offers no positive benefits and actually can be negative because now most of your clothing no longer fits.

This guy is very strong, and clearly not worried about being thin.

Whenever I’m trying to reboot my fitness, create goals, or plan for some optimal future self, I focus on becoming stronger.  Stronger can apply to pure strength as in your ability to lift or move heavy objects.  It can apply to my cycling as I’m able to pedal a larger gear while maintaining the same cadence allowing for my speed to increase.  And while many people don’t think of runners and strong in the same thought, I definitely believe that strength can apply to my running.  As a strong runner I’m able to maintain a fast tempo over various terrain, I charge up hills, my stride is strong allowing for each step to cover ground and propel me forward.

Strong is positive.  Strong is moving forward enhancing myself.

Keep progressing forward, one step at a time.

As I look to develop my strength, things like diet and body weight, things we normally would associate with thinness tend to simply fall into place.  Its so much easier to maintain a healthy diet, avoiding cookies and other junk, when a specific training program is the focus.  No, I don’t want to have a 7th beer tonight (actually two is my limit, but 7 sounds better), I’ve got a long run tomorrow.  After putting in a week or month of quality runs the internal pressure to maintain the training consistency is much stronger then any craving for a sweet.  All that hard work and dedication simply continues to build upon itself encouraging an even greater commitment to the task.  I can’t mess up now, look at all I’ve done already.

The past work simply contains to much value.

Once the training commitemnt has been established, one’s bodyweight simply becomes a number on the scale.  Its fine to note, but it has little meaning compared to what I can accomplish on the roads with my legs.  The training is strong, the diet is pressured to follow suit, and thus the body weight falls in line matching the other two variables.

I certainly have a number in mind as for my ideal weight when I approach an important race, however extra effort is never applied to achieve this number.  It just happens.  Just like after weeks of farlek, easy, tempo, interval, and long runs my speed just happens.  Based on past races and training experience I certainly have a goal pace that I hope to be able to race at, but I don’t stress about that number as my training progresses.  I just dutifully put in the work, day after day, only really concerning myself with pace during two workouts each week.  I begin to see my interval splits decrease along with the recovery time needed before repeating the effort, and my long runs begin to increase in speed as well.

However, just like body-weight, I only check my speed after the fact.  I think about my effort, how I felt and attempt to formulate an educated guess, oftentimes my guess is within a few seconds of my actual pace.  Breakthroughs occur when I guess the pace, only to find that I was running 10, 15, or 20 seconds faster then I thought.  If you discard worrying about your thinness, this will happen here as well.  focus on your training, allow that commitment to influence and encourage your diet and soon your weight will arrive, usually along with your strong.

Choose strength.

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