Dear Strength Training

I’m sorry I didn’t always like you very much.

No, scratch that.  I actually used to think I hated you.  Can you imagine?

But that was a long time ago, and I know exactly why.

I mean, when you think the words “strength training,” aren’t you picturing some lunkhead in a muscle shirt doing endless biceps curls in a smelly gym?  Omg, I just yawned and cringed while typing that!  So boring!  So repetitive!  So vain!  So slooooooooow.  So not for women.  And totally not for me.

But – this isn’t really a spoiler alert, what with this being a love letter and all – of course all that’s changed now.

I started to come around to the idea of getting stronger after I’d been running for a while.  I mean, there was no possibility of picking up a dumbbell, thank you very much, but I started to see that running was changing the shape of my legs.

After so many, many years (a/k/a, my whole life) of trying not to look my legs directly in the eyes because they were nothing so much as flabby, dimpled, squishy meat sticks carrying me around and best covered up as much as possible, I noticed one day that there was a line running down the side of my thigh.

Like.  A muscle line.

An actual, definable, hard line.

Of muscle.

Well, now.


And it was pretty weird because there was also a line in my arms.  That same firm-but-curvy-at-the-same-time muscle tone!  I had been working pretty hard to lose weight, but I honestly hadn’t expected to find this underneath the doughy layer.


I sat with those faint lines for quite some time before I started to actively seek out more of them.  I barely dared to hope, but I wondered if just maybe… if those muscle lines had popped up on their own in my legs and arms… maybe I could have them other places, too?  Like my abs?  Or my butt?

No.  Asking for muscles in my butt was too greedy.

But, maybe.

So I started doing some squats.  Just baby squats, and only once in a while.

Every now and again, I’d throw in a couple of push-ups, too.  Or a sit-up.  (Seriously.  ONE.)

And, you know what?  It wasn’t terrible.


I was at home, so the only person wearing a muscle shirt was nobody.  Because muscle shirts.  Nobody was checking themselves out in the mirror.  Except me, because dang if muscles aren’t really, really pretty!

I tiptoed around the idea of actual, real-live hand weights for a long time.  I mean, we owned them, after all.  They were right here.

Maybe I could pick one up and put it back down.  Maybe I could even lift it over my head.  Or hold onto it while I squatted (getting all the way to parallel these days, by the way).  Maybe.


And here’s where the story gets really crazy:

Lifting those little hand weights didn’t kill me!

I know!  I was as shocked as anybody.


But you knew, didn’t you, Strength Training?  You knew what was in store for me.

That I’d get stronger.

That I’d get stronger in more ways than just physically – that my mental strength and courage and self-esteem were growing, too.

That I’d learn more about good form and actually want to practice it.

That I’d start to feel my muscles working inside my skin and I’d learn to identify exactly which part of me was working.

That I’d be more in tune with my whole body.

That I’d want to help other people feel this way, too.

That I’d get better at everything – not just strength training, but balance and coordination (okay, only a little better, but still.) and RUNNING.


I confess.  It’s that last thing that has made me love you so much.

You know I adore you.  I do!  But running is still and will probably always be my first love.  And even though I totally just friend-zoned you with that last sentence, I want you to know that I care.

You might never be the first thing that springs to mind when somebody asks me what activities I enjoy, but you are on the list.  Maybe even near the top.

I promise, there will always be a place for you in my workout rotation.  And in my heart.

Yours truly,

Love Pahla





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