Why Are You Afraid to be Strong?

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 11.39.59 PMDebbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

This post is about  a little tough love.  I want you to think about something and I want you to be 100% honest with yourself.

Are YOU holding yourself back?  I think the answer is, “yes” and if it is – here are a couple more questions.  Why?   Why are you limiting yourself?  What can we do to fix that mentality?


Before you even read one more sentence, please let me assure you:

You are not alone.  

I am not judging you.  

In fact, I do it too!!  It’s part of the human condition.  The last couple of paragraphs will tell you what happened to me tonight in the gym.  


Here are some examples of what I’m talking about in holding ourselves back.

(a) I can go into almost any gym on almost any day of the week and see people there, sitting around on the equipment. Peddling the bi11149528_765401690245974_5867065370172598381_nke so slowly that they might go 1/10 mile in an hour. Walking so slowly on the treadmill that they never break a sweat. The worst? A couple of weeks ago, in my home gym, there was a young man sitting at one of the machines playing solitaire on his phone!! No lie.

These people are physically capable of exercising; they’re merely choosing to limit themselves. I only want you to do what you can, but I really want you to do WHAT YOU CAN, not what you think you can.

If you have medical concerns of any sort, and even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program!!  But, assuming you are healthy and able to exercise, your skin will flush, your heart rate will increase, you may be somewhat short of breathe, and you will (you should) get sweaty!!!


Exclamation Point

(b) Saturday, I climbed the 900+ stairs to Exclamation Point – above Chimney Rock in North Carolina. It was challenging and I can definitely feel my calves today. Several of the ladies I saw there, didn’t hike. They rode the elevator to the restaurant mid-way and just sat waiting for friends and family. I overheard a small group talking. “Do you want to go to the top?” “No, I would die.” “No. I can look at pop’s pictures when he comes down.” “There’s no way I would make it.” Several others were meandering while texting or chatting on their phones; lagging far behind their family and friends.

To be clear, I’m not talking about people who CAN’T do it or who want to sit at the restaurant and relax.  I’m talking about people limiting themselves; settling to look at photos because they assumed they couldn’t make it to the top without even trying.

In contrast, I saw an elderly couple hiking.  He was using a cane and they were holding hands.  They took turns helping each other.  They were slow but he made it all the way to to top.  She didn’t – she stopped to rest on a bench just below the summit.  She did what she could!!  It was incredibly inspiring to see them there!  Enjoying the weather.  Enjoying each other’s company.  Enjoying the hike.



Chimney Rock

(c) You may have seen my post last week. My brother in law was visiting. Every time we went in or out, I always headed for the stairs. After a couple of times of this, he asked, “is there something wrong with the elevator?” No there isn’t. There is also nothing wrong with our legs and there’s no reason we shouldn’t walk up and down the stairs merely for the movement!

(d) I’ve seen many people press the handicap button to open doors and then stand there waiting, many times impatiently, for the door to open instead of using their muscles to pull the door open. If you CAN’T open the door, use the button. That’s why it’s there. But…

(e) I’ve had clients that are perfectly capable of lifting 5, 10 or even 15 pound dumbbells, yet they lacked the confidence to do anything but 2 pounders (even though their purse weighed more than that!). If you’re a true beginner and you can only lift 2 pounds, please, please, please lift 2 pounds.

I’m not talking about a lack of physical ability, strength, stamina, or anything else. I’m talking about a self-limiting mindset. Why are you afraid to be strong? Why are you limiting yourself?


So here’s my story.


I am in Salisbury, NC this week. I know a total of 6 people in this town but no one at the local gym. I was in the gym working out last night. There weren’t many people around so I was doing supersets (exercise A for 6-12 repetitions and then exercise B for 6-12; back to A; back to B, and so on).

I did one set of two different exercises and was going back to do my second set on the first exercise. My plates had been changed from 25 pounds to 35 pounds. I thought it was weird but I just assumed that I was tired, hadn’t been paying attention, and I must have put on more than I initially planned to. Assuming I had already done one set at this weight, I did the second set of the exercise. Headed back to my second exercise. My weight had been increased by 10 pounds. I did the second set at that weight and headed back to my first exercise for the final set. My plates had been changed from 35 pounds to 45 pounds.

Okay…..something was up!!!! I wasn’t THAT tired. As I did the final set of this exercise, I kept my eyes on my other exercise area, and then it happened!

I saw one of the guys who works at the gym, changing my weights. He added another 10 pounds!!! I walked over to him and said, “Excuse me. I’m using that.” Maybe with some attitude.  He said, “I know, but I also figured you are stronger than you’re giving yourself credit for. I knew you could lift more than you had on there and sure enough…….you did!” Yup. He was right. I did.IMG_5775

I will not push myself to the point of getting injured nor should you!!!! I would not lift an amount I’m not comfortable with. I was in no danger. It was my head that was limiting me, not my body.

You can bet that I increased my weight on every single remaining exercise!!!!!

I had an excellent workout AND he gave me a free shirt. “For Strength. For Health. For Life.” for being such a good sport.

Do what you can – whatever that is. If you can only walk for 2 minutes; do it. Next week, walk for 3 and the week after that 5. If you can only (truly) lift 2 pounds; do it. Next week, lift 3 and the week after that 5. But do what you CAN.

I’ll bet money on the fact that you are much stronger than you give yourself credit for! So am I……..

1 comment

1 ping

    • Sylvia on April 21, 2015 at 02:34
    • Reply

    Good for you! There should be more people like him working at gyms. He’s like you; you encourage people and make them feel good about themselves. A lot of gym employees act like beginners are a nuisance . Maybe if they encouraged beginners more of them would stick around forever. If it wasn’t for your encouragement I would not be where I am today. I’m glad he encouraged you and showed you that you can do better, too! Damn, now your arms are really going to be bigger than Brent’s!!

  1. […] is something I believe in with my whole heart. I’ve written several blogs about it.  Like this one.  I’ve talked about it, even more. It’s what I’ve been trying to communicate with my “Why […]

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