Resistance + Time Under Tension = Strength: Lessons I learned from Lori Harder
The TEDxUCIrvine event I attended last night blew my mind. I am an avid listener to the talks but had yet to attend one myself. I was truly impressed by all the speakers and felt like I got something personally from each one. However, one really resided with me and has left me reevaluating and reassessing my current perspective on resistance/struggle.
To caveat, patience is a serious struggle for me. I prefer my game and life to move quickly. I am constantly trying to remind myself that good things come with time. I try and recall every instance I lost something great because I pushed too much to move it along (and by gawd there are many instances like this in my life). One of these things, a big thing, is my weight. I have always been larger, in elementary school I was basically full-grown in all ways by fourth grade. Which, of course, meant I was teased and so my self-esteem suffered. In junior high I went to Academy by the Sea, a summer camp/school on the beach in Carlsbad. I spent so much time swimming, walking, in the ocean, the pool and other activities. And the food was not great. So I lost a bunch of weight. Honestly, I didn’t really notice. The next summer I went to Europe with People to People and I realized I was cute. But, my self-esteem issues were still prevalent. So, I threw myself into sports. I played soccer and softball in junior high and then softball, golf, waterpolo and swim in high school.
In high school I was about a size 8. I had a butt and thighs and was broad across my back and I had larger arms. I was convinced I was huge. I had terrible self-esteem and I ate terribly in response. I ate fast food most days or cup of noodles with chips and sugary teas. My weight would fluctuate based on my workouts but I didn’t worry about it because I felt like I just always failed at being thin no matter how hard I worked. And, again, I was not patient at all. I thought if I didn’t look how I wanted to look in a month or two, it was a wasted effort. Now, looking at this picture I realize how much weight I have gained. Which is difficult because I am a master at not realizing what I look like. I feel a certain way inside and then when I look in a mirror I realize what other people see. Luckily my self-esteem has risen exponentially since high school. I understand I am overweight, but I now know that I am attractive and smart and unique. Things I didn’t see in high school.
To bring this back to the TED talk yesterday, Lori Harder was one of the speakers. If you don’t know of her, she is a fitness/healthy living guru. I was not aware of her until yesterday and today, I want to make sure that anyone I can tell about her, knows about her. I follow many fitness people on Instagram and I read Shape magazine and I do my research, but I really just loved what she had to say. I titled this blog with one of her main messages: “Resistance + Time Under Pressure = Strength.” She related this to life by sharing her life story and explaining how the tribulations you face in life are resistance. Failures and unhappiness is all a part of what will make you stronger if you just learn to harness the energy supplied by these resistances. As in physical strength training, the more resistance/weight you add, the more benefit your body gets out of it. Heavy weights tear the muscles when you work them and then they repair themselves and come back stronger. She says you need to see trials and tribulations in life like this, spend that time under tension, through the hard times, harnessing that pain and using it to fuel you. Build yourself back up and you will be stronger than you were prior.
Lovely right? Beautiful woman, beautiful message. Sounds so simple! HA! If you are like me you are getting all pumped up right now ready to remedy your life right this instance. And so you do, for a week, maybe a month, and your dreams don’t come true, you don’t look like Britney Spears and you still can’t afford that purse you want. So you quit, you fall back into your old ways, and you undo all the good you accomplished in that month (but don’t realize) in like 5 days and 2 Del Taco binges.
But, I feel differently about Lori’s message. I am extremely competitive, I hate to lose, and I hate to look weak. And you know what? I am losing the health battle right now. Yes, I am still a perfectly healthy 24 year old. I don’t have any issues, but! I may not be the same in the next 5–10 years if I keep going the way I currently am. Lori says that the resistance and tribulation is “not happening to you, it is happening FOR YOU.” Yes, that is purposefully in all caps. And underlined. And bolded. It is important. Self-respect means you care about yourself enough to want to make sure you remain the best you. You exercise good decision making and you honor your body. And, for me, it is easy to see all the resistance I face as attacks on the fortress that is my mind and body, but Lori encourages us to see it differently. Some super heroes absorb bullets and they are stronger because of it. They are more assured and determined to conquer their foes, to succeed. Now, if we did this in our everyday lives, could you image how strong we would be? I would be Iron Woman, no doubt!
The most important part of this though, if you think one hurdle is going to do the trick, you’re misguided. A track hurdle runner doesn’t leap over one hurdle and win the race. There are several hurdles. They have to continue to leap one after another and sometimes they stumble. But, they get up and they power through. They get stronger after each leap. Year after year they train, they leap and they run. And someday they might win the Olympics, some don’t. But they all become strong, determined and successful individuals. I don’t know about you, but I see strength as power. And I want all the power I can get. I want to be in control of my life and my destiny and I want to have the tools to conquer.
So, I highly recommend you look into Lori and her website. I linked it under her picture. You will not be disappointed with her and if you follow her advice, you won’t be disappointed in yourself either.
Originally published on anelephantinthesky.com