Happy 100,000, Strong is the New Skinny!!!!
Strong is the New Skinny on Facebook just passed 100,000 followers!
Strong is STILL the New Skinny…
Just last week I was talking to a close female friend. She’s beautiful and strong and muscular and quite a badass CrossFitter. And she was lamenting that she wasn’t “mainstream pretty” enough. Apparently, she’d even had a good cry over it the night before.
My advice? I told her to “be a Purple Cow” and sent her my “Is Strong the New Skinny?” blog post from 2010.
Here’s what I wanted her to see:
“…I say, to use Seth Godin’s term, be The Purple Cow. Now, I know women and the term “cow” shouldn’t really be used together, so before I get pummeled I’ll explain. A “Purple Cow” is something remarkable. In a world with more and more advertising “noise” and where there’s someone already filling virtually every need and every niche, a Purple Cow is something that stands out. A brown cow is boring, but a Purple Cow is REMARKABLE.
“If you’re a muscular woman, go after mainstream exposure. Let’s take muscular women out of the bodybuilding subculture and put them in the mainstream…”
– From my post: “Is Strong the New Skinny?“
A few minutes later she texted back: “YES! A Purple Cow!”
The message in that post still rings true. Probably now more than ever…
Stumbling Into Meaning and My Life’s Path…
Summer of 2010 I had no idea. No idea about anything, really.
My life had been falling apart for the few years before – arguably for the 10 years before – and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next.
But, I was passionate about strength training, CrossFit and Paleo eating and living. And I was also passionate about writing.
Besides that, I’ve always felt that strong was the way to be – for women AND men…
I started blogging that summer with the crazy notion that I was going to make a living at it and write a Paleo Diet book besides. Everyone I knew thought I was out of my mind and needed to be “more realistic” and think about getting a “real job.”
Even crazier than thinking I would make a living at blogging was thinking that somehow my writing and work would “make a difference.”
I started this blog and spent that summer writing and Facebooking like crazy.
And, everyone thought I was nuts for spending so much time on Facebook. “Facebook is stupid!” “I don’t care what someone is having for lunch!” “It’s a waste of time!”
I had sold my CrossFit Affiliate earlier that year. But I was still training and most of my friends were CrossFitters. And, CrossFitters love Facebook…
So, many of my Facebook friends were CrossFitters. The CrossFit community was SMALL back then. A lot smaller than now. We’d basically friend request anyone with a profile picture that included anything CrossFit or Kettlebells.
Somewhere toward the end of the summer, I was inspired by a pic my friend Marsha posted of a shirt she made on Spreadshirt.
“Strong is the New Skinny, huh? That’s sort of cool. I bet there’s a blog post in that somewhere…”
There WAS one in there “somewhere…”
It took a few weeks before it came together in my head though. It came together after a run one morning and “Is Strong the New Skinny?” was written. I posted it and thought nothing more of it – I’d been “blogging for no one” most of that time. No reason to think that post would be different.
But it was…
Over the next few weeks I saw that post pass by in my Facebook feed here and there. I thought, “Cool – someone shared my post…” Then I started seeing it pass by more and more. And more. And more.
In its first two months on the web, “Is Strong the New Skinny?” was read and shared like crazy. Today, it has almost 25,000 views and over 7,900 shares. Wow.
It went “viral” as they say…
And, “Strong is the New Skinny” the Facebook group was born…
100,000 Middle Fingers at Stereotypes
I gave stereotypes the finger when I wrote “Is Strong the New Skinny?“ That summer I was into giving pretty much EVERYONE and EVERYTHING the finger. If it was status quo and mainstream, I was pissed off at it. That post was angry and ranty – and not even very well written now that I look back on it…
But there was raw passion and emotion in that post and I think that’s why it resonated with so many people.
Strong Keeps Getting Stronger…
I say “Strong Keeps Getting Stronger” because that’s exactly what’s happening here.
In 2009, “The Paleo Diet” had about 20,000 monthly Google searches. In 2010 when I started blogging seriously, it had about 80,000 monthly searches. Today it has over 600,000 monthly searches.
And, CrossFit is on ESPN. ESPN. And all the major fitness magazines – the ones that either dismissed CrossFit as a dangerous fad or just didn’t mention it at all – now have special CrossFit sections and features every issue. All of them.
I mention Paleo and CrossFit because both of those communities supported and were supported by Strong is the New Skinny (or SINS) on Facebook in the early days. I see this all as the rise of intelligence in training, eating and role models and stereotypes.
The world is changing rapidly and dramatically and thinking about eating, training, health and what a “fit” or “attractive” body is for a male or a female is changing right along with it.
Strong is Everywhere…
Here’s a video from CrossFit HQ called “Beauty in Strength.” It’s from September 2012. Not gonna say Strong is the New Skinny is what inspired it… But I won’t say we didn’t… 😉
This is a great video of Christmas Abbott that’s made it’s way around the web. Nothing skinny about her…
And this is a post on TheAthleticBuild.com featuring the 20 best bodies in CrossFit – 10 male and 10 female. Not a skinny body in sight…
And the guys aren’t left out either. Here are my thoughts from a while back on men and changing male stereotypes: “Body Image, Food Addiction and I’m Not Good Enough.”
The CrossFit and Paleo Connection…
Most of my best CrossFit and Paleo friends were made on SINS. And, my friends from the CrossFit Relentless family of gyms here in Connecticut were all around in the early days. They bought a lot of the first shirts and shared a lot of our early posts.
Through SINS I’ve heard from a lot of women who changed the direction of their lives with CrossFit, Paleo eating and the embracing of a strong and athletic ideal over a “skinny” one. Some of these women confided that they’d struggled with bulimia or another eating disorder.
Combine the “strong” ideal with CrossFit and Paleo and lives are shaped and changed.
A difference IS being made.
Strong is What You Build…
In the post “Strong is What You Build” I discussed at length the deeper meaning behind strong and building it. To me, strong is something you build over time. It’s about work and achievement and building character.
Strong is about self-definition. Deciding who you want to be and doing it and being it.
And strong women are becoming more and more mainstream…
I walked by Victoria’s Secret at the mall the other day. Here’s what was in the window. A workout top on a model with muscle. Mainstream. That’s an actual deltoid muscle!
Strong, muscular women are becoming more and more mainstream every day…
Now, I know she’s not going to deadlift 405lbs or rock a sub-4 minute Fran, but she’s got muscle and she’s showing it off. This wasn’t happening even a few years ago! It’s a Victoria’s Secret model!
YUP! That’s an actual shoulder muscle on a Victoria’s Secret Model…
And, on this same trip to the mall there was an Athleta store going in – right across from VS. That’s the first one in Connecticut. An entire store devoted to workout clothes for women. You can bet that a big company like Athleta has done their homework and knows it’s a growing niche. Corporations don’t gamble on stuff like that and they don’t build a new store in a new state if a market isn’t expected to grow dramatically. Especially in this economy.
In “Is Strong the New Skinny?” I actually said:
“I wanna see a girl with some muscles in the Victoria’s Secret catalog in the next few years. What do YOU think? If you agree, pass this blog post around and get busy!”
(BTW, I was actually attacked by a few feminist bloggers over that statement… Sigh…)
Lo and behold, a woman with muscles in the Victoria’s Secret catalog…
SINS Has Been About Learning and Growing…
We’ve all grown and changed in the past few years. I have. Marsha has. The Paleo Community has. CrossFit has. SINS has. You have too.
I’ve seen friendships and relationships come and go. I’ve had my successes – like a book publishing deal, two regular columns in Paleo Magazine and a lot of other great stuff. And I’ve had some pretty significant failures. I have plenty of regrets and things I wish I could do over. I’ve been hurt by people I thought were on my team and I’ve been supported by others who have always been on my team. And new and great people have joined my team and supported me. I’ve seen what’s real and who’s real and who isn’t.
But, “Strong is What You Build” and we’re all building and growing and changing. We’re all learning and we’re learning from each other. That’s the beauty of the community – or the communities that intersected on Facebook to create “Strong is the New Skinny.”
Less than 3 years into its existence, “Strong is the New Skinny” on Facebook has 100,000 followers. 100,000. I still remember when it was 10,000, then 25,000. 50,000 was a huge milestone.
Every single one of you voted with the “Like” button in favor of being strong, strong women, carving your own path and following your passion. It’s huge. HUGE.
Here’s to 150,000 and beyond.
And, A Personal Thank You…
Finally, this is a personal, heartfelt and very emotional thank you – to everyone.
The SINS community changed my life for the better. I’ve “met” and talked with hundreds of you. I’ve even met a few of you face to face. (Torrey!)
All the likes and shares and comments and words of encouragement changed me, my writing, my life and even my self-image. All for the better. I’m grateful for all of you and I wouldn’t have missed even ONE of the conversations, messages or comments. The line between an “online” friend and a “real” one has blurred into nonexistence for me.
You’re 100,000 of my closest friends.