Taking our Power Back with the Get STRONG Challenge

Yesterday, I woke up feeling wiped out, worried and weak. The pandemic is spreading, the presidential election is unresolved, everyone is on edge—it’s too much to handle, and what can I do about it? But that helpless attitude is of no use to me or anyone else. “I need to toughen up,” I told myself, “I need power!” Then I read this perfectly timed story by Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times, Weight Training May Ease Anxiety. It discusses the results of a study that found lifting weights not only helped participants become physically stronger, it made them feel calmer and more capable as well. I play a lot of tennis but I never, ever lift weights. So you’ll get an idea of how wimpy I was feeling yesterday when I proposed this challenge to Laura, who was all in.

photo by Katrina Wittkamp

Our Get STRONG Challenge is simple: perform the NYTimes “How to Build Muscle in 9 Minutes” workout three times a week for the next two weeks. The workout is a series of three sets of three exercises with a one minute break in between (the workout takes 11 minutes to be precise). The only equipment you need is a set of dumbbells. The recommendation for beginners is five pounds, so we’re starting there. The exercises don’t look easy—the Rows from Plank and Dumbbell Offset Reverse Lunges are going to take some practice, I’m sure. But one minute per exercise isn’t too daunting, and we’re willing to suffer some discomfort to feel stronger and more empowered!

There are many proven benefits to weight training, but the point of this challenge isn’t to improve our appearance or lose weight. Okay, I wouldn’t mind if my triceps were a little less flappy, but our real goal is to feel stronger both physically and mentally so we are more confident and positive when dealing with the challenges of this crazy, conflicted time. As always, we invite you to join us. We start tomorrow (Friday) but feel free to jump in anytime. Let’s get stronger!

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