In the Sister-in-Strength Snapshot series, I want to introduce you to some of the fantastic women I’ve had the pleasure to meet and befriend on my own journey. The pursuit of strength can sometimes seem like a lonely affair, in a world that works hard to convince us that we should shrink ourselves instead of taking more space. Each woman highlighted in this series is one that you should definitely get to know!
Name: Hilary Glaus
Location: Bronx, NY
WHAT DOES STRENGTH MEAN TO YOU?
Strength means being unapologetic about who you are, where you come from, and where you want to go. It means showing up unapologetically and authentically in your interactions with others, and letting your inner voice always be your guide.
It’s about standing firm despite all the breezes and winds that try to pull us this or that way, but being flexible enough to distinguish when firmness serves our best interests or detracts from them.
HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH STRENGTH EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS?
Yes, completely. I never used to think of myself as a strong woman.
For so many years, I aspired to be smaller, to blend in, to not rock the boat, to not ruffle feathers. I never took risks because I was afraid to struggle, afraid to let others see me sweat, and afraid to not be good at something. This all changed when I discovered strength training. Unlike other things I tried and wasn’t good at, I didn’t give up. Something kept luring me back.
I’ll never forget the first few times I ventured from the “safe zone” of the Y where I worked out (i.e. the cardio area) to the segregated weight room where I was the only woman. It was awkward at first, but the more I persisted, the stronger the desire to improve and keep going.
Fast forward many years, and I fully embrace being strong now: in mind, spirit, and body. Strength is a feed forward cycle; you don’t realize that the physical strength you gain transfer over into other aspects of your life until you wake up one day and realize you’re no longer the same person…and you love it!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION IN LIFE?
This is tough because I am inspired by so many different things. Firstly, I’d have to say my family. Our unconditional love for one another buoys me up and makes me feel free to take chances, risks, and able to stand on my own two feet.
Secondly, I’m inspired by how all the women in my life and those who I encounter in my work as a trainer and coach manifest strength, despite the fact that they may not be able to see it themselves. I’m inspired by a call to help them see it for real.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL MANTRA OR FAVOURITE SAYING?
It’s a Walt Whitman quote:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
I’d read this quote many times growing up, but it wasn’t until recently that I came across it in passing and I realized, “Wow, this is me; this sums me up entirely!”
I used to struggle to reconcile my woman who lifts heavy weights persona and my girly, feminine persona. I felt as though I couldn’t be both without being a contradiction. But then I realized that no one is just one thing; we’re multi-dimensional, layered, complex onions, each and every one of us, and it’s OK to embrace that!
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT TO SEND OUT TO THE WORLD ABOUT WOMEN AND STRENGTH?
I don’t believe that there’s any more direct path to self confidence than strength training. Let’s state the obvious: women are #strongAF.
But the problem I see is that so many women—while capable of recognizing strength in other women, have such trouble recognizing it within themselves. I’m not very religious, but when I think back on my own strength journey, I’m reminded of the words to the song, Amazing Grace: t’was blind, but now I see.
It’s as if getting physically stronger helped to lift whatever it was the kept me from seeing and believing in my own strength. This is what I want for Every. Single. Woman out there!
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