Being Capable

In a recent post over at Starting Strongman, I talked about some feedback given to me by participants of the strongman workshop series I helped coach (which, by the way, was beyond fantastic). I mentioned that one of the biggest themes that came through, particularly for women, was that lifting weights is about so much more than lifting weights.  To recap, here is what I wrote:

“This is something I’ve personally experienced and something that a lot of women (and I suspect men, too) have experienced. For some of the women in our workshop, running a yoke and loading stones was about so much more than moving implements. For some, it was the first time they have really ever moved heavy weights and those weights left their mark. One participant said that the workshop was about proving things to themselves. It was about proving that the thighs they’ve been told are “too big” can run a heavy yoke and the body they’ve been told to hate is no longer it’s jiggly bits and pieces, it is an impressive and capable thing that is strong and deserves to be celebrated. It was about proving that even though they were terrified, they could do things. They were afraid but they wanted something bad enough to  transcend that fear. “

When I was documenting feedback to write said article, I couldn’t help but tear up a few times when participants said some of those things and it wasn’t just because it felt great to be a part of those realizations. I remember feeling that way and I know that there are countless women who have felt the same way. They feel like their body is just a collection of parts that are to be criticized and cardio-ed, “toned”, and deprived into submission. They feel like they’re not doing anything “right” because their body isn’t meeting someone else’s standards. Think about that for a second – we have all been upset because our body does not meet someone else’s idea about what we should look like.  The body that keeps you alive through thousands upon thousands of actions that you’re not even aware of, that breathes, runs, jumps, plays, experiences joy, feels pain, and carries you through the world is somehow deemed to be less than because it doesn’t measure up to someone else’s yardstick. That is complete and utter bullshit.

One of the women in the workshop group mentioned that lifting weights reminded her that her body is actually HERS. Her body was more than a collection of parts to be criticized – she got to decide what it is capable of, how much space she took up, and what strong means to her. And more than that, she got to carry that feeling throughout her day. Other participants talked about the fact that the biggest thing they got out of trying something new (aka strongman) was a sense of accomplishment and realizing that they are capable. They are capable of doing things that they were scared of, they were capable of learning something new, and they were capable of being really damn strong. The physical tasks they were able to accomplish meant they were powerful. They could press a log, deadlift a heavy axle, and run a keg – it was an impressive thing to watch everyone’s displays of power.

But being reminded that at some point, it was all about taking ownership of your body and being capable – now, that is really the powerful stuff.

Eating Gluten-Free on the Road

As someone who is completely gluten-free and fairly sensitive to cross-contamination, traveling is stressful. In fact, it’s downright anxiety inducing. At this point, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at learning how to travel without having to go hungry or eat crap. I spent the past 10 days on vacation at a lake house which luckily had a kitchen, however, getting to said lake house required driving 12+ hours. That’s a whole lot of time in a car that requires a decent amount of food. Since I was the only person on said trip with dietary restrictions, I just decided to be prepared (really prepared) since it’s nearly impossible to find a gluten-free friendly food option in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t want to hold up the driving process. With some advanced planning, I was able to eat (and eat well) without having to stress out about where my next meal was coming from. I simply packed a small ice chest with cold items and another bag with “dry” items. With that said, here are my top tips for eating gluten-free on the road:

1. Make a list: I’m a list person (obviously). The day before we left, I made a list of items to buy at the store, items to cook, and other food items I was going to pack. Making a list just helps me visualize how much food I actually need and helps me identify what types of things I need to buy.

2. Cook ahead: I made a few items to bring with me such as hard boiled eggs (your driving buddies will loooove it), some steak, and some chicken since I needed to use up those items before leaving. I’ve also made some veggies, sweet potatoes, and other easy items on other road trips as well. I aim to make things that are easy to eat, don’t need to be reheated, and that travel well.

3. Buy strategically: I was so busy the few days leading up to the trip that I honestly didn’t have time to make much food. Instead, I bought a few strategic items that again traveled well, didn’t need to be reheated, and that were easy to eat in the car. My strategic items are usually protein sources like deli meats and chicken sausages, fat sources like cheeses and coconut flakes, and carb sources like plantain chips and sweet potato baby foods.

4. Fill in the gaps: I also purchased several bars like Yawp Bars, Epic Bars, and SR Bars to have as quick snacks (bonus: you can eat them the entire duration of your vacation and have snacks for the ride back). I usually bring along my protein powder to use in a pinch when I know I won’t be able to get any protein for awhile and for pre and post-training shakes. I fill out the rest of my food with veggies and fruits like carrots, broccoli, and apples.


What are you go-to road trip eating strategies?

Vacation Check In

It’s been super quiet around here lately because I’m on vacation eating too much, drinking wine, and staring at this gorgeous lake.