Finding empowerment even if you are not in first place

Guys And Girls Can't Really Be Compared When It Comes To Physical Strength

We can grow a tiny human inside us, and that is a performance the male body could never compete with.

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"Do you ever catch a breath", my friend asked as I hustled from my workout to a meeting.

For most of my life, I have lived a healthy active lifestyle, always wanting to be in the best shape possible.

While I consider myself a fit and active person, there is one thing I have noticed. My guy friends seem to work half as hard as I do at fitness, yet they are in way better shape. From lifting, rock climbing, and running I am overwhelming at my inability to catch up to them.

One guy showed up to the rock wall last week. He had never climbed before, and he was able to get halfway up a route I have been working for weeks on. Rock climbing typically comes much easier to males, simply based on their biological anatomy. Men typically carry most of their strength in their upper body, and women their lower body. Simply by being male, you can probably complete more routes than I can at first. A lot of males who are somewhat in shape can do a pull-up.

For females, it is not so simple. It takes a lot more dedication and practice. This is apparent in every situation where physical activity is involved with both males and females.

When I lift, run, or climb I feel outperformed by men. Lifting weights is a big part of my college experience, but no matter how much I try my male friends are so much stronger than me. I would look over to a guy deadlifting 300lb and suddenly become insecure about me deadlifting 165lb.

Feeling like I always am in the last place around my guy friends I became frustrated. I am not built like a male athlete or even an athlete in general. It has taken years of dedication to a healthy lifestyle to get here. Seeing some people immediately get what I have worked hard for is disheartening.

The saddest thing about my experience is that it doesn't stop with just me. The highest paid WBA player, Maya Moore, gets paid $110,000. While she is very skilled at the game of basketball she will never be ranked the highest because of her gender. If it gives you any clue the highest paid NBA player, Stephen Curry, gets paid $34 million dollars. This is a far jump from the highest WBA salary. Women can perfect their bodies, become professional athletes, win an Olympic gold medal, and they still won't be regarded as good as the boys.

While I could write on and on about how unfair it is to be a woman, I realized a couple of weeks ago where the root of my discouragement is buried. We become unhappy with our abilities and who we are when we compare it to others. When I can't do the same physical activities as well as other people I get annoyed and upset with myself, but it shouldn't be this way.

Being the best may be why we start something, but it is not why we finish. I started running cross country in high school to compete in meets to represent my school. Now I run several times a week and continue to do races. Why? For myself. I don't run to be the best, I run to be my best.

Being in shape helps me do the things in life I want to do. I want to still be doing yoga, playing tennis, and skiing at the hearty age of sixty. Regardless, of how I perform as long as I am working towards a healthy and happy life there shouldn't be any comparison.

Next time you look over to a guy benching 200lb with ease, don't get down on yourself. The female body is pretty cool too. We can grow a tiny human inside us, and that is a performance the male body could never compete with.

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9 Reasons Why I Love Volleyball

Volleyball offers many positive benefits for our bodies, minds, and social lives.
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From sand volleyball with both friends and strangers to indoor volleyball or even volleyball class — volleyball has given me a lot to love and appreciate over the years since I started playing in high school and continued in college.

1. Volleyball is popular all over the WORLD

Total Sportek used 13 factors to rank the most popular sports in the world, and volleyball came in strong at #10 on their list.

Today there are more than 46 million Americans who play volleyball.

There are 800 million players worldwide who play Volleyball at least once a week.

One may find volleyball players all around the globe.

2. Volleyball is fun for people of ALL skill levels


I started playing volleyball in high school and I loved the game whether or not I did well. At first, knowing little of volleyball rules and technique led me to swing my arms wildly to hit the ball over the net like Tarzan when he swung through the jungle, and I only succeeded half of the time.

When I got the basics down and managed to consistently hit the ball over the net, I felt an awesome sense of accomplishment. I did improve as I got used to the sport, but It was then that I realized that volleyball is fun for ALL skill levels.

Since coming to university, I made an effort to play volleyball whenever there was fair weather. I often found people to join me. Often, people warn me they are bad before we start. As if that would make me not want to play with them.

"No, you're better than you think!" I'd reply, and every game I played ended with warm, sandy smiles on sweaty faces. Though they underestimated themselves they were quite able to learn to play.

3. Volleyball is a great way to meet NEW people


The fact that everyone can enjoy volleyball, regardless of skill, makes it a great way to meet new people. Just start hitting the ball around at a local court and watch people appear.

When people depend on each other they grow bonds. Whether people prefer to dive to hit the ball to the other team's side, or block, pass, set, and spike, volleyball bonds teams together, even teams of strangers.

I made so many friends from playing this fine sport, and you can too!

4. Volleyball makes us HAPPY (through the release of non-addictive endorphins)


Exercise makes us feel good because it causes our brains to release endorphins.

Volleyball is a form of exercise.

Therefore, if we play volleyball, we will feel good.

According to WebMD, humans manufacture endorphins in the brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of the body which release in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to morphine. Thiscan lead to an energizing outlook on life and does so in a natural way which does not cause addiction or dependence.

I can attest to the fact that I feel the powerful, positive and refreshing feeling of endorphins when I play volleyball.

5. Volleyball allows you to soak up the SUN


That being said, we all know Vitamin D is good for us, and just playing a couple hours of volleyball games can give us our daily dose.

6. Volleyball can be HILARIOUS


Whether someone makes a crazy play, destroys someone with a well-placed spike, or accidentally hits their own teammate on the butt with a ball, the game of volleyball often leaves us with many laughable moments.

7. Volleyball lets us get COMPETITIVE


Are you tired of boring or stressful class group work assignments? Take a group of friends to the volleyball court and battle it out. Striving with our friends in an exciting game of volleyball allows for a ton of fun. Plus, one can always call "best two out of three" upon a loss to keep the play going.

8. Volleyball strengthens our DETERMINATION


I used to give up on a lot of things until I started playing volleyball. I once gave up because my team seemed too far behind to catch up. Yet, we came back in points and were able to win the game! Therefore, I realized on the volleyball court that I should never give up. If the other team can do well, so can we!

I decided to always try my best in whatever I do, no matter what. even if I'm winning, I am giving my all. If I am losing, I am still giving my all. I applied this mantra to other parts of my life as well and reaped plenty of rewards. Sometimes, my best is not enough to succeed, but I never regret giving my best effort!

9. Volleyball is so much FUN

Basically, one cannot go wrong with playing volleyball. Win or lose, it is always fun. If you have played it before you will understand. If you have not played it before, what are you waiting for? Go out there and try this amazing game. Experience the endorphins from smacking a volleyball around with your friends.

Enjoy your daily dose of Vitamin D for the sun. Make new friends with the awesome humans in your life who you do not know yet. Laugh when you fail. Cry when your team achieves a spectacular victory. Hug the players to your right and left. Unite for the sake of happiness, and celebrate our leather spheres!

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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If You Take Fitness Advice From Instagram, You're Probably Doing It Wrong

Living a healthy lifestyle really isn't that complicated.

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I lost 90 pounds during my freshman year of high school. Over the years, I've gotten many questions about how I accomplished such a feat and what my secret is. The truth is, I did what any doctor would tell you to do when you ask for weight loss advice. I ate healthy foods, I counted my caloric intake and I worked out regularly doing exercise that I enjoyed.

This seems so simple, but in today's complex society of Instagram fitness gurus and "experts" telling you that the secret to weight loss is wrapping your stomach in a wrap, it's difficult to know who is genuinely trying to give you good advice and who just wants to sell you something. I've fallen prey to these people too, so I know how difficult it is to decipher between sound advice and a sales pitch.

So as you embark on your health and fitness journey, remember that the end goal of any workout regimen or diet plan is to be healthy and increase the longevity of your life. It's about seeing your grandchildren graduate high school and go on to succeed in life while swinging on a porch with your husband or wife of 50 years, all because you took care of yourself instead of eating fast food and drinking every weekend of your 20s. It isn't to have slimmer thighs or a bigger butt, though those are nice benefits. What these people won't tell you is that if you simply eat healthy, exercise regularly and take overall better care of your body, you will see results without having to buy some stupid weight loss tea or crazy diet plan.

Believe me, the journey to being a better and healthier you is worth the consistent effort and work it will take to get there.

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