the measure of a (fit) woman

I have this Nike Dri-Fit tank that I love wearing.  I bought it two years ago as a treat to wear during my first triathlon (new clothes=faster time…it’s science.)  It’s green, my favorite color, and it has a built-in sports bra, a perfect feature for someone in the IBT Club. <-think about it – you’ll figure it out.


I took 2nd in that race and loved every minute of it.  Pushing myself, “picking” people off, kayaking in circles.  I felt fit.  I was fit.

Flash forward to today.  Two years later and I still love that shirt.  It’s starting to fall apart in places but I still wear it a lot.


The thing is:  It fits much differently now.  As I’ve gotten stronger, my body has added muscle.  My growing lats strain against the fabric.  My pecs (not my breasts – see IBT Club reference above) fill out the top a lot more.  If I were using this shirt to measure my progress outside of the gym, I might feel discouraged.  It’s becoming too tight, which usually means that you’re becoming too fat.  Too big.  Too muscular.  Too much of …something.

I know better.

I measure my body progress inside the gym.


Deadlifts – 5×10 at 185 pounds

Where I can lift heavier than I ever have before.

Where I can jump about 5 inches higher.  Then 5 inches more.

Where I don’t become as fatigued during my runs.

Where my muscles grow.

Where PR’s are made.

Where I’m literally “hulking” the crap out of this shirt. 

And it feels so damn good.

To measure progress by MY standards and mine alone.  What a rebel thought.

That’s what strong women are – rebels.

QUESTION:  How do you measure your fitness progress?  How are you improving??  Is bigger better? 


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  1. LOVE! I am getting bigger and stronger and I LOVE the way my body is changing and I can see more definition. You look freaking fabulous and love that you are busting out of that shirt now. Get it girl…you ROCK! XOXO

  2. Great post!!! I measure my fitness progress by two things
    1) how much of my love handle isn’t there anymore
    And for the more serious answer
    2) when I finish the WOD in any place other than dead last +5 minutes—- how it used to be when I started. I’d be Finishing the workout in the corner while the next class started ;)

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  4. Hot damn. I need to start lifting heavier! Keep it up, mama. Such a great example for the little ones and such a happy mama :) xoxo

  5. i definitely struggle with this. i’m obsessed with the scale, but i also love the fact when a weight becomes ‘too easy’ in the gym. i also find more reward in fitting into a pair of ‘skinny’ pants more than anything else.

  6. I definitely see a strength difference in you from the first pic to the second in the tank; keep being a rebel and making YOUR own progress! Unfortunately, I feel like I haven’t seen much progress… That I may have gone backwards, actually. I’m not as tight, not as toned and although I’m lifting heavier, it’s not substantially different than before. But I’m in a happy and healthy place and feel good! Hoping to get on a schedule to start measuring progress, though, because I’ve never tracked any sort of PRs besides running times. Maybe it’s time to start that up with weights too!

  7. Hahaha first I just have to say that I LOVE “IBT Club”…I’m right there with ya girl. (Although breastfeeding is pretty awesome for that reason – I’m kind of loving it!)

    On a more serious note, I love what you’re saying here! Some of my clothes fit me differently than they used to, but I don’t care…in fact, I am proud that my body has carried and delivered a baby, and is stronger and more muscular than before.

    My favorite color is GREEN too! :)

  8. I measure progress by noticing gains in strength or endurance, just like you mentioned. If I do it by how something fits or by the scale, I go crazy.

  9. I love this!
    I’ve been “a runner” for a few years now and because of my workouts outside of running (strength training and different forms of cross training), I’ve gained speed. And I know it’s those other-than-running workouts that have really made the difference, and it’s fun to see that in my times!