¡Fitness! Strong is the New Skinny

What’s hot today are strong women, emotionally and physically, not stick-thin supermodel.

Qué cool Natalie. I’ve never been the stick-thin supermodel type. But how can regular ol’ me achieve Arnold Schwarzenegger status?

Set a goal to work out.

But focus on building strength by lifting weights.

You will almost immediately see and feel the benefits of strength training:

  • a faster metabolism (so you burn more calories throughout the day even when you’re sitting)
  • increased bone density and strength
  • more endurance, strength, and balance

I’ve heard that before, Natalie, but lifting weights isn’t fun like dance-based fitness classes. I can’t stay focused and motivated!

Try CrossFit.

It uses elements of weightlifting and gymnastics. What sets Crossfit apart from other popular strength-based workouts such as the P90X home DVD series (which I can’t wait to try) is the emphasis on goal setting and community.

Checa this YouTube video and try these crazy moves.

Where do I sign up?

Any gym can become an “affiliate” and offer the program which features a Workout Of the Day (WOD). This is posted both at the gym and on the CrossFit website, allowing everyone to do the same workout–beginners and veterans. The only thing that changes are the weights and intensity.

I recently checked out this workout at a Washington, DC gym.


Crossfit Deadlift Courtesy: crossfitcenturion.wordpress.com

¡Instantly, I became a fan!

I loved the sense of community literally all around me: the walls were decorated with encouraging words, photos, and personal bests of participants.

Five of us showed up for the class: two men and three women, from their 20s to their 50s, demonstrating that this workout really is for everyone. The gym owner and trainer led us through a warm-up, reviewed weight lifting technique, then instructed us to work up to our max dead lift (lifting as much weight as you possibly can).

Although each person trains alone, there is a dynamic from a support group. When someone tried lifting a new max weight, everyone else stopped, egged them on, and congratulated the accomplishment.

¿Nothing like applause to keep you going and sticking to your strength-training routine, no?

After dead-lifts, we moved on to the workout.

(I wondered: Isn’t this what we had been doing?!)

This WOD was a series of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 push ups and squats as fast as you can.

To clarify: as in 10 push ups, 10 squats, then 9 push ups, 9 squats–you get the picture.

¡Burn, baby burn!

50 minutes later, I left the gym feeling fierce and accomplished.

CrossFit recap:

  • Was I engaged? ¡Sí! The encouragement made it easy to work hard and be 100% in the moment.
  • Was I challenged? ¡Sííí! I had never even tried a deadlift before.

If you’re looking for a fun, supportive community to push you to meet and exceed your fitness goals, try CrossFit.

I did.

And I’m going back for more.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner Fierro

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

What inspires you to be strong?


  1. Laurie Wagner says

    Wow Natalie!
    I haven’t lifted weights in years but I’m going
    to the gym and get started on the 3 lb weights
    tomorrow! I love ur website, it’s so encouraging
    and inspiring. Keep up the great work!
    Love you!

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