Thu. Jan 2nd, 2020

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Strength and Dignity Are Her Clothing

Anna 1

We live in a world full of opinion. Every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sherry, Linda and even Susan has an opinion on body type and how a physically fit person should look. Honestly, people should just mind their own business and do what makes them happy, but in this world, that seems unlikely.

Photo Credit – Anna Zittel

Realistically, we all kind of care about what other people think. So here’s the question… Does there come a time in training when you stop caring about how you look? When do you stop caring about how other people think you look?  Where the only judgment you give yourself is on what your body is capable of doing. I mean when you’re moving your body for a purpose, a goal that is all your own. When you are so focused on that goal, what you or anyone else thinks about your body is just less than white noise.

Photo Credit – Anna Zittel. Bronze medal in the clean jerk (107kg/236lb) at American Open Series 1 2018.

Personally, I just want to slang weight. I want to put hundreds of pounds over my head and I want to make it look so easy everyone is shocked about how I do it. I want to win medals, Sinclair prizes. I want to go to National Championships. Heck, I want to WIN national championships. I want this body to take me as far as my competitive drive will allow.

But honestly, for me, doing what it takes to possibly achieve these goals brought me to a body type I wasn’t sure I was going to allow. But a year a half later I can say I’m strong, yes check. Lean? Meh maybe for a day after cutting for a meet. Comfortable in a bikini? Heck yes, why?  Because I stopped caring about what others think. If you don’t have a problem with it no one else will.

I stopped seeing myself as a woman who once trained CrossFit because it made me look and feel good. Soon, I started to see myself as a competitive Olympic weightlifter. A woman who trains to lift heavy weight every day.

At first, I was not okay with the changes competitive lifting was bringing to my body. I wasn’t okay with how my torso turned into a thick base to support a front squat of 119kilos/260lbs. Or how my shoulders and lats grew to support an overhead squat of 97kilos/215lbs.

Photo Credit – Anna Zittel. All smiles and all good lifts at the Arnold Sports Classic in Columbus, Ohio 2018.

But after stepping onto a national platform for the second time in my year-old weightlifting career, and taking first place in my session while receiving a bronze medal in the clean and jerk for the entire 90kg competitive class, I got a taste of the sauce. The sauce that only winning brings. Confidence and verification that you are doing things right. The sauce that showed me the changes in my body were for a purpose. My purpose. To use my body to represent strength and inspire others to push past boundaries and comfort zones to do things that make you the very best version of you.

Our bodies are amazing. They can be pushed, molded, moved, and tested in so many different ways. The outcome of what our bodies look like will likely be determined by the way we choose to move them (and obviously how we choose to fuel them but that’s another topic to be discussed). So honestly whether you train for athletics or aesthetics, just go for it. Go for the sauce and don’t let body image or what other people think of you get in the way.

Feature image photo credit – Anna Zittel: Snatching 68kg/150lb winter CANUSA hosted by 4Star Strength 2017.

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