How I overcame weakness & self-destruction by “deciding” to become Strong

Editor's note: Today we've got a guest post from Sandee Apilan. She's getting ready to take on the SFG level 2 cert… enjoy her take on “strong”. – David


Sandee Apilan KB[Enter Sandee]

Ever wonder how you can work-out, get lean, and actually enjoy doing it?

I did – for many years. Until I “found” strength.

Strength is the “master quality” and is the foundation for the development of other physical qualities. While there's scientific studies that support this statement – rest assured I will not wax poetic on this topic.

Strength and being strong isn’t just about the science.

I started training three and a half years ago, and like most, I got into exercise to lose weight so I would feel better about the way I looked. This was my primary motivation for the first two and half years of my journey.

I pushed through pain to get through whatever crazy circuit was concocted at bootcamp –

my head always filled with images of six pack abs and toned arms. I tried cleanses, detoxes, weight watchers, high carb, low carb, and everything in-between to speed up results.

Yes a lot of the weight came off – I lost 85 pounds, going from 205 to 120. I was the lightest I’ve ever weighed since elementary school. But I was weak and injury prone, repeatedly hurting my shoulders and knees.

Even worse, I developed a habit of chasing quantity in the pursuit of vanity. Add a dash of obsessive compulsive behaviour with calorie counting and I had myself a recipe for disaster.

My performance deteriorated and I burned out. Rather than stop and slow down, I simply went through the motions, going to bootcamp day after day out of fear of regaining weight. It was a vicious cycle.

Then Strength happened – and everything good came from that

Everything changed the day I attended a full day StrongFirst Kettlebell Course. Besides learning the basics of hardstyle kettlebell training, I was exposed to the idea of approaching training as practice and strength as a skill. Wanting to learn more, I set a goal of getting the level 1 instructor certification.

I prepared for 6 months, following the advice given by Master SFG Engum, “Get as strong as possible.” In preparing for the gruelling three-day instructor course, my determination was tested and my grit called upon more than once.

During this process, I finally understood the difference between “working out” and training. The weekend of the certification showed me what it means to be strong first. It proved how looks have very little consequence in the realm of practicality.

Nothing good comes from being weak. So if you’re not already doing so, I encourage you to pursue strength. Strong is the new skinny. And as Master SFG Reifkind stated, “Strong fixes almost everything.”

“Strong fixes almost everything.” – Mark Reifkind, Master SFG, Click to Tweet!

Having people “mirin” your “shredded” figure will be the least of your concerns in situations where you’re forced to summon your strength and test your will.

I may not look “fit” in the traditional sense. That used to bother me and, in fact, drove me to my earlier destructive and unhealthy approach to exercise and nutrition. But it is no longer a concern because I know that I am strong.

Before after sandee

In my strength I have the confidence, discipline, and resilience to handle whatever life throws my way. And I will take this any day. Working out to look like a fitness model in a glossy air brushed magazine can lead to a slippery slope. In my humble opinion it is wasted endeavour.

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Sandee Apilan KBSandee Apilan is a Chartered Professional Accountant with the CICA. She loves lifting heavy stuff overhead, setting them back down, and picking them up again! Sandee is based in Mississauga, Ontario and is currently training for her SFG level 2 instructor certification. Follow her on her journey and check out, Hardstyle Life, stories from a kettlebell junkie's pursuit of strength.

1 Comment

  • Reply February 12, 2014

    Andrea Long

    100% agree.

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