A lot of people are saying that "strong is the new skinny."
Look, I disagree. STRONG is NOT the new skinny. This statement is repulsive to me for many reasons. Trust me, I've been a personal trainer for 20 years. I've worked with thousands of people world-wide to help improve their health, fitness and lifestyle.
Here is my shortlist on why this phrase can be harmful to your health:
1. It assumes skinny is beautiful.
It's not. Beautiful is beautiful. Strong is just another kind of beautiful. So is skinny. Implying that beauty has anything to do with being skinny or strong shows a profound misunderstanding of what beautiful is. Beauty is a condition which transcends physical definition. It is truly in the eye of the beholder.
2. It assumes beauty has something to do with physical appearance.
What a broken notion. What a terrible message. I can't think of a better way to poison a mind. (Especially a young one.)
3. It undermines the content of it's own message.
I presume folks who say this new catch phrase are trying to point out that strong is beautiful too. They should have just left it at that. Saying, "STRONG is the NEW beautiful," is the same as saying skinny isn't anymore. What an ugly thing to say. This catch phrase has taken an unrealistic body image and has tried to replace it with another, equally unrealistic one.
4. It doesn't promote HEALTH at all.
Are the promoters of it unaware that folks will do equally unhealthy and terrible things to themselves (drugs, surgery, never ending preoccupation) in the pursuit of strength, as they do to become skinny?
5. The pursuit of strength is a black hole.
It has no end. How strong do I need to be before I am the "NEW SKINNY?" Is there a "too strong?" Is there a "not strong enough?"
I'm leery of who gets to decide what "strong" is. Seriously. Who classifies someone else as strong? Is there a committee? Is there a government agency voted upon by the people? Where is the vetting done? Who finances this? It presumes to rank people. Are stronger people more beautiful than those who are less strong?
6. Strength is an incomplete pursuit.
Strength alone doesn't address one's cardiovascular health, flexibility, or stamina. These are as different from one's strength as they are from each other. Each contributes to overall health. Focusing on any ONE of these to the exclusion of others undermines overall health.
7. Being strong speaks nothing of one's ability to move (walk, run, jump, throw, ride, swim).
You can't just assume that all good bench pressers are good swimmers. They aren't. So, how does being "strong" override the need to get outside and move around, learn new skills or develop abilities?
8. Strength when used in this phrase has NO actual purpose.
Think about it, skinny for skinny's sake never had any real purpose to begin with. It has always been a broken pursuit. It didn't make people more loved, more accomplished, or more worthy. It never made people better spouses, mothers, employers, employees, patriots, statesmen, caregivers, thinkers, humanitarians ... etc. Skinny was always just skinny. And so now we are to replace this condition with "STRONG?" For what purpose?
Strong is NOT the new skinny. Saying it IS just kicks around the glass of a message that was completely broken to begin with.