Unbecoming: Pursuing Goals Instead of Identities

I see her for about 20 minutes every Monday. During this time, after she’s fully exhausted her kettlebell class, we muse about fitness, food and second generation Caribbean culture. She’s hilarious. The subject this week — her strength. More specifically, her insane She-ra like lower body strength. “You press more with one leg than most clients do with two”, is what her trainer-friend told her. She repeated this to me while beaming with pride and flipping her hair like no other black woman can.

Not surprisingly, the subject of powerlifting came next. I agreed with the suggestion of her trainer-friend. She would rock it.

“But I don’t think I want to be a powerlifter.”

“Whoa. Who said anything about being anything?”

I get it. We’re on trend to be following our purpose and dreaming big. I’m with you. But there are so many experiences to be had, in life and in fitness. Not all of them are part of a long term plan. It’s entirely acceptable to try a new activity or sport without becoming a t-shirt wearing, card-carrying, sponsor seeking member. How about just allowing yourself to train, test your performance and chalk it up to a great event?

Not everything we do requires an expert level trajectory. Curious about bodybuilding? You can do a show without being a competitor forever toting cold broccoli in tupperware. Want to support a great cause? You can complete a 5- or 10K without being a runner consumed by mileage and chip times. Got legs as strong and solid as a sequoia? You can simply lift with power at a local event and leave the venue satisfied with your performance.