By: Rebecca Soleyn

Earlier in the week, someone online asked the question, “What has strength training taught you?” This caused me to really consider the ways that strength training has benefitted my life. So many people who are close to me train and value strength, but the lessons I value most are those I would pass on to my two daughters, Selah and Hero. I wrote this for them.

Dear Daughters,

These are the lessons I’ve learned, and what barbell training has given me.

You will have struggles, but I hope that you will struggle less because of the lessons I’ve learned. I want you to know that you, too, are made up of tough stuff. You will be asked to carry more on your back than you think you can handle. You may falter and feel like you cannot stand up, but then you will rise with grace and beauty that will astound those around you.

It took me until I was thirty years old to learn that I was not, that we are not, meant to play it small. Physical strength did not used to be valued even to the degree that it is today, and until I first held a barbell in my hands, I did not understand it’s value either. I had always struggled to understand my place among the petite, feminine women who are so revered on fashion and fitness magazines. However, the very second I squatted down and stood back up with a long bar of steel on my back, the struggle vanished. I knew then that what I possessed inside of me—the strength of will and the strength of body—was to be desired more than the body type of someone on a magazine.

You will see that it is within you to lift others up and help them to a higher place. You have the ability to see the strength deep within others—a strength that they may not even know is dormant within—and that, with your relentless belief in them, can urge that ember to ignite. You can enable others to know a strength that they didn’t think possible.

Don’t apologize for who you are, and never settle for being anything less. When you bend down to pick up a barbell loaded with more weight than most men can lift, and you stand tall with it, know that you are meant for greatness, don’t downplay it. Stand tall and know that what you have within you has far more value than what society holds as a standard. Stand tall, and raise the standard to something far greater.

The world has come a long way, and instead of just valuing what is on the surface, society is beginning to see why it is important to develop your strength. But it still has a long way to go. And you, my dear daughters, are just the ones to inspire and lead your generation to see the value in being more, not less.

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