Building Strength

Building Strength is a Step-by-Step Process

As I got older and found myself more deconditioned than ever, I didn't want to go to the gym until I was in better shape. Can you relate?

Now as a coach, when I encourage people to give CrossFit a try, they tell me the same thing!

The reality is, the gym is where I needed to go in order to get in shape--not the place I needed to go once I was already there (and you can't stay in shape without consistency, so you keep going even then). The longer I waited to get into shape (so I could potentially get to the gym), the more deconditioned I became. Admittedly, there are people that can get into shape on their own--in their garage or whatever--but I am not one of those people.

When I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired, I walked into the nearest gym and signed up. It happened to be a CrossFit gym and I have never looked back.

Now years later, I can tell you it's the same story for client after client. Getting started is by far the most difficult step. The second most difficult step is establishing consistency. After that, it becomes a habit and soon after that a way of life--but we only get there after taking that first step.

I had to take the first step into the gym even though I was uncomfortable and had no idea what to expect. I was the polar opposite of "in shape."

It was and continues to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

It doesn't matter if it's making a positive step forward when it comes to food, exercise, or developing real self-awareness. All these things that are available to help us make our lives better (healthier, stronger, and happier) only come to us to the degree we are willing to be uncomfortable and courageous. And the resistance to do that next thing that is best for ourselves is real.

When I started, I had no frame of reference for how deconditioned I actually was (I didn't know what I was getting myself into)--I only knew to take the first step. The next step was to go back, and then go back again and again--no matter what. If things were going to change, I was going to have to do things differently. It was a decision that had to be made.

I made the decision to put my health first, and my fears behind me. I would show up and do the work consistently no matter how I felt. Years later, very differently from when I started, I get to live inside a body that supports my life and it's even better than I knew was possible.

Discomfort looks different depending on where you're standing in your life journey. Growth is not linear, but it is progressive if you're committed to the process. And action--step one--is the only way to get that thing moving in the direction of your best possible life.

This is where physical training really shines. Because small step by small step we already have everything we need to get strong and healthy--and to begin to reverse the decline that has begun to set in our bodies. Decline you may not know is there yet because while it starts early, the symptoms surface later in life--and they build momentum with every passing year.

Getting in front of this process only requires making the decision to start from where you are today, take that first step--and to build from there. As you grow stronger, you begin to feel better and begin to see everything around you differently.

You understand that there will always be more steps to take, and growing in strength and fitness takes time. There is no jumping to the front of the line--it takes commitment and patience to see results--and consistency to maintain them.

Learning to climb a rope is a great illustration.

The first time my coach asked me to climb a rope, I didn't have the upper body strength to lift my body up the rope--and the height of the rope was terrifying.

Realistically when would I really need this skill? Maybe I could talk my coach out of this one---nope.

Sigh. Okay.

Step one was laying flat on the floor underneath the rope and pulling myself into a sitting position. For the record, when you're lying on the floor things look a certain way--everything seems huge. You feel vulnerable--like someone might not see you and step on you. Fear begins to creep in as you contemplate the height of the rope--"holy cow that's waaaay up there!"

After repeating the process enough to build some upper body strength, I was able to pull myself from sitting into a standing position. Okay then. Sitting on the floor under the rope is less overwhelming for sure. Confidence starts to build--but the rope still goes on for 15" so there's that...

As I saw everyone around me climb effortlessly up the rope, I became more determined to get there.

Step two was consistent work. Finally, over many months, I built enough strength to start from a standing position and support my body weight on the rope--and I started to get excited about the process. I could feel in my body and mind that I was getting stronger. I knew that I would be able to hang on to the rope. The process was working.

Because of the progression, the work wasn't getting easier. It was just that my body was getting strong and I was motivated to keep going higher. My perspective had shifted to a new level as my strength increased.

A few months later, I was able to climb all the way up the rope.

There were some things I had to figure out along the way--like how to position my feet, and how to get back down!--but NOW I could see the whole gym from the top of the rope. The fear was gone. This perspective changed everything.

Through each step of this strength-building progression, I was able to gain a better vantage point. I could see more of what was available to me from each new position.

One rope climb turned into two, two into three, and so it goes. I've done hundreds since--and they are now one of my favorite things to do.

The process works the same way for every new thing you want to do for your health and wellness. It takes courage to take that first step, and commitment to keep going consistently. As you build strength, your confidence increases and your motivation and excitement to take the next step grows. It doesn't matter where you are today, you can build from right there. All you have to do is take that first step.

Why is it worth the discomfort? Because simply being alive in the absence of discomfort means there is no growth. Being alive in the absence of health is the least of what is available to us. Choosing to remain in fear--feeling overwhelmed, incapable, unqualified--is not living. It's only existing. We're here for so much more than that.

Listen, if we settle into the lie that we have to already be strong in order to get strong--we miss the whole thing. It's not how it works. You have everything you need to build health and strength--but you have to start.

Building physical and mental strength means starting where you find yourself today. Decide to set your fear to the side, show up, and do the work consistently. You will most definitely get stronger, your perspective will continue to improve as you position yourself to see more and more of what is available to you. Your life becomes richer and you have more to give.


If you want to smash midlife, you're going to need to build core strength--physically and mentally. I couldn't have made it up that rope on my own--I needed my coach. Coaches help you reach heights you would never reach on your own.

Are you ready to reach for more and lean into the life of health, wellness, and strength you were born for? Schedule a Discovery Call with me to learn about our next Smashing Midlife group coaching session or one-on-one coaching sessions here! I can't wait to connect with you!

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