“You don’t know how strong you are.”

Last Friday morning, Rachel, one of my distance clients, happened to be in town, so we met up for a session. After writing her programs for the past six months, I was anxious to see her deadlift in person. As of that morning's session, she was deadlifting 100 pounds. 

We talked technique, we talked goals, and decided that 145lbs was a good goal for her. After a few reps at 125 and 135, she wanted to do a lift at 145. She looked strong, she felt strong, and so she went for it. 

And nailed it.

And then she wanted to hit 155. 

And nailed it.

My distance client Rachel, killing it for a personal best at the conventional deadlift.

And then we stopped because she’d already lifted well over 1,000 pounds by then. But she will easily hit 165 and beyond over this next month of training. 

She was absolutely glowing by the time she left the gym. And I said to her, as I’ve said to so many women in this last year, you don’t know how strong you are.

Strength comes in all shapes in sizes. I work in the fitness industry, so we talk about strength as lifting weights. Picking up weight off the floor, lifting weight overhead, bench pressing and pulling sleds. And I love that kind of strength. Probably because for most of my life, I was not physically strong. I was not, as I talked about in a post last summer, stronger than my air conditioner

But it’s easy to forget sometimes, the strength it takes someone to deal with a miscarriage, divorce, loss of a job. The strength it takes to get out of bed in the morning and face the day when all you want to do is crawl under the covers and hide from the world. I see the single mother of three going to school full-time and driving a van with 200k miles on it and no heat in the dead of winter, and she's working full-time and somehow finding the strength to get it all done. And she does it with kindness and compassion.

She collapses, exhausted, at the end of the day, bone tired and weary. But somehow finds the courage and strength to do it all over another day. 

It is by far my greatest pleasure in coaching, to say the phrase every day and multiple times a day, "you don't know how strong you are."