Strength with Grace

By Natalie Utley

There are many facets to me and they all lead from my heart. I am a wife, mother to 4, and an artist. Only recently have I found the importance of fitness and how fitness became another pathway to comprehending my heart. 

Growing up I didn’t have any real interests in sports even though I played some in high school. My interests solely sat in the fine arts. So being at home by myself and drawing was comfortable. In many ways I’m still that shy and quiet girl who appreciates her time alone.

I came to weight training exhausted with heartache, worn out, and stick thin. The gym was a place I could grow in strength, confidence, and self awareness. The physical strength and muscle gain was great, but it doesn’t match the greatness of the emotional strength I’ve gained. Lifting is an outlet that I can escape to. With every repetition I unravel a mess of knots in my head and begin to make things right. Lifting forces me from the shadows and helps me express a whole other side that I didn’t believe existed.         

I’ve been pretty active throughout my life. I used to run, golf, play soccer. I began weight training about 4 years ago. From there I dabbled in ballet, yoga, cycling, 5ks, gymnastics, aerial arts, tri-sprints, powerlifting, strongman, and highland games. With each and every event/activity I was scared. I had to face some serious fears. Such as walking up to a platform with my long, skinny legs and deadlifting in front of an audience. I did it and I didn’t die, I grew. 

I began to look back after that first powerlifting competition and thinking of all the times I let fear win without a fight. I missed out on the adrenaline rushes, the feeling of accomplishment, and the friendships that I could have made. I decided then that I was going to try out all sorts classes, events, and competitions. Hence the blitz of activities from above. I wasn’t going to let fear control me and I was going to do them with determination.

One of the many benefits of fitness is the role it plays in our hearts and minds. I challenged my fears and I’m better for it. I came from weight training with a better understanding of myself, I became strong, confidendent, and humbled. Being active is so much more than just a physical gratification. It works your whole being. Fitness encourages you to step outside your normal, shows you how capable you are and gives you assurance to face battles.  So, I encourage you to confront whatever is holding you back from getting active. Take it from me. You’ll grow deeper as an individual, with better understanding and grace towards yourself and others.

Come along dear reader – let us explore how fitness and your soul can interact to support your well being. In the coming months we will talk about finding and keeping the joy for fitness.

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” – Sigmund Freud