You’ve heard of Yin and Yang. Well I’m wondering something about women’s AND men’s bodies. And it just might be the key to your ability to take back a more youthful body.
When did it become “true” that we are supposed to be so yin to the point that lifting weights and being strong are a bad thing? How is it still normal that most women are flat out scared of any weight over 10 lbs when they come train with me?
How is it possible that most men are stiff, inflexible and not able to do basic movements like squat or do a pull-up after the age of 25?
Let’s talk Yin and Yang first so you have context. We all know that little white and black circle drawing, and my guess is that you loosely get the concept. In terms of health, we must seek to reach a balance between Yin and Yang to be healthy.
Yin is more gentle, receptive, introspective, self-aware. Qualities of Yang are action, movement, expansion, etc.
My contention is that our lifestyle has become exceedingly Yin to the point of real danger. It’s become commonplace to doubt and fear exercise. Doubt and fear foods that help us grow strong- namely meat and animal protein.
And worse, to embrace sitting at a desk for 9 hours a day, go months or years without using our body the way it was designed, and think that we aren’t atrophying every year we skip out on maintaining our strength?
It’s also the norm to believe that calm exercise and stress relieving activities like yoga, swimming and walking are a good/complete way to take care of the body…to the exclusion of more explosive, strength building activities.
Sure, it’s starting to change with the generation of 20 somethings, and I’m psyched to see it. But what I really want to see, and help lead, is that same transformation happen for women and men in their 40’s and up.
You should have been there when my client in her 50’s picked up and flipped a tire in my yard that was almost as tall as her!!! I have video to prove it. I’ll never forget the grin on her face and look of satisfaction when that thing tumbled over.
THAT is what women are capable of. In fact, that is what women’s bodies were born to be capable of. And years of being told weights are dangerous, muscle is bad and walking in the neighborhood is the answer for changing your body-composition have piled on all sense of logic.
The reality is this. Part of being a woman is getting in touch with your power. That power to live the life you want, take on the career you want and build the body you want is ASKING you to get strong. Not just emotionally, but physically.
While it is true that women engender more yin qualities- nurturing, listening, healing- that does not mean that becoming so extremely Yin and deficient in Yang is healthy.
For men, it’s even more obvious that this type of muscular accomplishment is natural for our body. When we were teens, we were full of testosterone. We wanted to play sports, lift weights, push our bodies and compete.
So why have we allowed years of sitting at a desk to take that away? Why have we given into the Yin activities of sitting at a desk, using our mind and not our bodies, and letting our natural, muscular form become a shell of itself?
This point was proven to me again this month. A client of mine in her 60’s was facing something that too many women realize after menopause…poor bone density. If she had continued to embrace a Yin approach to health she would likely still be struggling.
When she got a bone scan again this year, her doctor said that if she just stayed the same and didn’t lose any more that would be a positive. But she blew that away. One year of working out with real weights, embracing her yang, building an athletic body…and BAM!!! 14.2% bone density gained in one year without any medications.
Yang! Right there. She embraced her potential for yang, put in the work, did what most of her 60 year old community wouldn’t think of doing, and her body responded with this.
If she had embraced more Yin and gotten even more out of balance, she might have chosen something “safe” for her age (an insult you should never buy into). But instead, she challenged her body with a Yang activity that built lean muscle (the word we use to make it clear she doesn’t now have the body of Arnold…but really all muscle is lean muscle and that word means nothing and STOP worrying that you are going to look like a guy by lifting….)
Here’s a good way to determine if you lack healthy Yang in your life:
1. Do you regularly get exercise that challenges your ENTIRE muscular system (3x/week)?
2. Can you do basic movements (ie. Squat with over 20lbs, pick up something heavy off the ground without injury)?
3. Do you have appropriate muscle for your body to have healthy bones, do you like what you see in the mirror, and can you do anything you expect of your body?
If you answer no, then it’s time to add some more Yang in your life. It’s time to end the conversation that you’re too old, that you are too weak, that you’ve been out of the gym too long, or that you have too many injuries to workout.
Fix it! That’s what I see women and men at ALL stages of life do on a weekly basis. You too are capable of rebuilding your body with more balance. Go for it!!!
I’ll leave you with this. Is it more appropriate for you to keep building more Yin into your life when you already most likely have too much? To keep in your comfort zone and never rebuild the body you deserve to have?
Or should every woman/man embrace your Yang; challenge yourself with weights; sweat and struggle; and realize that true empowerment is when you can move and reshape your body into whatever you damn well choose no matter what your age.
You probably guessed it. Embrace your Yang and thrive!
If you’re ready to embrace your yang and get a more youthful body, my 19 Day Sprint it now LIVE. I put out word a few weeks back that this awesome, fully supportive 19 day challenge (a fitness and nutrition program with tons of support) was almost ready. You can be one of the first people to take the challenge! A program modeled off of our most successful challenge in my home business here in Maryland. Click here now for more information.
Dedicated to your health,