(Originally Written: 1/9/2011)
by, Vanessa Gale
There is more to being Pretty STRONG then the obvious dictionary definitions of the words. Though that was the initial intent of the concept. It came about during a group training session when our dear friend Jorge, called us “The Pretties.” After an eye roll and a giggle I followed with, “Yeah, we’re pretty, alright… pretty strong!” And there it was out of the testosterone and pheromone infused air, our name that would stick.
1. adjective: Attractive in a delicate way
2. adverb: to a moderately high degree; fairly
3. noun: an attractive thing
adjective: having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks; possessing skills and qualities that create a likelihood of success; powerfully affecting the mind, senses, or emotions; able to withstand great force or pressure; very intense
When Sara wears a bow in her hair, or when I wear dangly earrings and get a manicure before a workout, we become more attractive in a delicate way. When Sara qualified for the Arnold Classic and I set three American records at our last competition, all of a sudden our hard work was elevated to a moderately high degree. The more squats and deadlifts we do, the higher and tighter our backsides become, and that is an attractive thing.
Having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks are just a few of our talents. Before we were ever powerlifters, we were dancers, classically trained by some of the best in New York City. Our art form was something that inspired us, but both our lives took different paths during college. Both Sara and I, possessing skills and qualities that create a likelihood of success, founded Pretty STRONG to inspire and empower those looking to lead a healthier life. Training at this intensity takes an exorbitant amount of dedication and commitment thatpowerfully affects the mind, senses, and/or emotions because it becomes a part of you, and you simply cannot do it if your mind, senses, and emotions aren’t involved in each repetition. I may be making powerlifting sound like a new religion, but when you discover something that makes you healthier, happier, and stronger, you are able to withstand great force or pressurewhatever form it takes, physical, mental, or emotional. There is something very intense about what we do, and I have never in all my years of being an artist/dancer felt like I embodied anything as much as powerlifting.
Powerlifting is a tool I use to find out more about myself everyday. How far can I push myself today? How can I lose myself in the moment? How can I keep from abandoning the weight on my shoulders? How can I find the time to do what I know I have to do, even though I know it will be difficult and maybe painful? How can I help or inspire someone else to do whatever it is they want to do? Lifting a barbell physically does none of these things, but figuratively spending a little time underneath a ton of pressure can teach you a thing or two about being Pretty STRONG.