Design By Strength: Appreciating A Body Built For Strength

By: Lisa Guggisberg

I am currently pretty deep into meet prep right now, my diet is dialed in, I am getting stronger, more confident, I am seeing daily changes in my body composition; all good stuff right? I look good and feel great, awesome right? Here’s the problem, physical changes can be addictive, and this can be destructive to a strength athlete.



Here’s the scenario; you eat right, train heavy and start seeing changes to your body. Obliques from heavy deadlifts start to come in, your back starts to fill out from heavy rows and pull ups and you like it. It’s intoxicating to see your body change. It is perfectly fine to be selfishly vain and appreciate the fruits of your hard work, however, don’t go down the rabbit hole of starting to train purely for aesthetic purposes. I have admittedly fallen victim of this same scenario, because let’s face it, we all want to look good naked right? However, don’t lose sight of your goal by training for aesthetics only if you are a strength athlete. I don’t waste time focusing on training a specific body part unless it will help my squat, bench or deadlift. Mindless, narcissistic training will not help you obtain your goals faster and frankly could distract you from the end goal. Are you doing those bicep curls because it will help your bench or because you just want bigger arms? Be honest with yourself and stay focused on movements that will improve your big three lifts.


As a female powerlifter, something I have struggled with is body image. I don’t care how confident you are in your skin; every female at some point has struggled with their body image. Social media tells us there are a lot of strength athletes who love their body. Muscles are hot right now. What I am talking about is accepting your body as an athlete and not getting caught up in aesthetics. I, like a lot of female athletes, struggle or have struggled with the concept that your body needs to be designed for what you do, not want you want it to look like.

I will not look like a fitness model nor should I try to look like one because I am a powerlifter. A powerlifter will be thicker with denser muscle mass, body fat percentage will not be 3%, and heaven forbid you might be disproportionate! But you know what? All of this is ok because you are being judged on your total, not on how you look obtaining that total.

Kimmie back


Basically, what I am saying is don’t try to look like something you are not and accept what you are. A female strength athlete should realize what they do have are functional muscles that serve a purpose and what you can do with those functional muscles is pretty amazing. I have come to love and appreciate the body I have built as an athlete. My body is not perfect, I still have fat on my ass, I don’t have perfect abdominal muscles, and I am not lean enough to have veins popping out everywhere. But I don’t really care because my body, as it is, gave me a triple bodyweight squat and deadlift, and that’s why I love it. Strength takes discipline, patience, work and dedication. My body is a product of the work and dedication I put in and that work determines my body composition. How my body responds to the work something I cannot completely control. When I finally realized how my body responds was beyond my control I finally learned to let go and just focus on developing strength. Life got immensely easier after this revelation.

Tuesday neon green


The point is, if you’re an athlete, learn to accept and admire the body you built by being true and dedicated to your sport. View your body as a product of strength; learn to appreciate what your body can do, not just for what it looks like.

Get The 10/20/Life Ebook HERE!

The following two tabs change content below.
Avatar photo
A self-proclaimed former high school band nerd turned meathead nerd, Lisa has been coached and mentored by Brian Carroll using 10/20/Life principals for 3 years. She started CrossFiting in 2006 but gave that up after realizing all she wanted to do was squat, bench and deadlift heavy. She now competes as a raw and multi-ply powerlifter in the 114 and 123 weight classes. Lisa has All-Time top 10 totals in both raw and multi-ply in her respective weight classes with a raw pro total of 936 lbs at 114 and a pro 1118 lb multi-ply pro total at 123 and 1090 lb multi-ply total at 114. She is currently ranked the #1 female multi-ply lifter at 123, #2 at 114 multi-ply female and #3 raw with wraps. Lisa has a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration, but hates politics and political debates. She is a mom of two, a firefighter wife and has worked as a full time litigation paralegal for almost 20 years.
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Contact Brian Carroll

Schedule A Consult Below

Take 25% OFF
Your first purchase
Subscribe Now!