Thinking Out Loud: “Strong Is The New Skinny”

You’ve all seen this quote. It’s been everywhere lately. I loved it when I first saw it, and thought “Yeah, go strong girls!” But is it really the best message to send?

I started thinking about it more when I read this article on HuffPost Healthy Living. The author states:

In the phrase, “skinny” is something to be sought after. Something that’s good. And now, in order to be accepted and seen as beautiful by society, you need to be strong — with visible muscles and the ability to do lots of push-ups and dead lifts and pull-ups. But is this really the message we all want to be sending?

There has been more controversy lately regarding “fitspo” or “fitspiration” where people post quotes such as this one, or pictures of girls they aspire to be. But is that really inspiring? Sometimes I do look at stuff like that on Tumblr or Instagram for motivation…but at the same time, is it causing us to be unhappy with ourselves and what we look like?

Everyone is different, and some of us put on muscle more easily than others, just like some of us are naturally more slender. Does this mean then that non-muscular people are now not as attractive? That they need to change, even if they are living a healthy lifestyle?…Now they get to the feel the pressure that “non-skinny” folks have felt for years, chasing after what could possibly be an unrealistic appearance?

While I think it is great that more and more women are lifting, and not afraid to lift heavy, we should remember why we are doing it to begin with. To feel stronger…to feel healthier…to push your body to it’s own limits (and not compare your numbers to others).

You might look at someone and think, “I wish I looked like them.” I do it all the time! I wish I had more abs…I wish I had stronger arms…but at the same time I remember what my body has done for me. It’s training for a marathon. It has run countless miles. It IS strong even if it doesn’t look strong.

I’ll leave you with the final quote from this article which I love:

The new skinny is no longer putting a label on beauty. The new skinny is being your best self. The new skinny is already you.

What do you think about “Strong is the new skinny?” Do you find motivation from others, or do you sometimes get sucked into the comparison game?

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  1. I have always (and by always I mean for the last 3 months when I have started seeing it) viewed that phrase with suspicion…It always seemed to me that it sisn’t actually mean “strong” but actually “really really well toned / strong / no extra fat at all / impossible bodies” are the new skinny. No room in that “fitspo” for averagely built people who are really strong and fit but who just look ordinary… and no mention of being healthy about it either!
    I don’t trust other people’s veiws on how I should look / be / act in order to be beautiful / accepted…
    they would probably have something to say about my seemingly excessive use of /s too but that is beside the point

    • I don’t mind your /s lol. But everything you said is very true! You’re so right…strong does mean more tone and lean..and for some people, like myself, it’s really, really hard to get there. We need to accept our bodies for what they are, even if that is hard sometimes…all that matters is that we are healthy!

  2. I love what you said at the end. Your body IS strong. That’s actually the exact reason I love the saying “strong is the new skinny.” Unlike skinny, strong isn’t just about appearance and it isn’t only skin deep. I am actually pretty skinny, and not so string looking but I am a strong runner. I aspire to be a strong person in every way. As long as we remember that strong comes in all different shapes and sizes, I think it’s great!

  3. Very true! glad I came across your blog :)

  4. I don’t like this phrase because I feel like it’s hidden body-shaming. Women can be fat, thin ,skinny, strong, short, tall, etc and still be awesome. I hate that idea that strong and skinny are seen as opposites here. I’m glad whoever coined this phrase is learning to be strong, but we can improve ourselves without shaming others!

  5. I know what exactly what you mean… My body type is skinny. I’ve been slim my whole life, but when, a few months ago, I started following a tumblr blog with pictures of fit and strong women, I started to be worried about being fat (or not skinny enough), about eating too much, not doing enough exercise… and I was having serious issues about it (eating disorders crossed my mind!!!). A few days later, I decided to unfollow such tumblr blog… It was making me nuts!! Now, I exercise… and it’s great to have some visual inspiration once in a while… but being bombarded with all these great abs, buts, arms, etc. drove me totally insane!


  1. […] has been more body shaming going both ways. This was the reason behind one of my posts about “Strong is the new skinny.” Typically, when we think of body shaming, we think of people insulting or judging those who […]

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