Quotables Week: Rachel McLish on how fitness builds self-confidence

Hitting the bookshelf once again for Quotables Week, here’s an excerpt from one of my first—and to this day, one of my favorite—fitness books: Flex Appeal by Rachel McLish.

From the first champion in women's bodybuilding, some thoughts on fitness and how it builds self-confidence in other areas of your life. Yes, yes, yes.
From the first champion in women’s bodybuilding, some thoughts on fitness and how it builds self-confidence in other areas of your life. Yes, yes, yes.

McLish was the first-ever women’s national bodybuilding champion back in 1979. This book, written in 1984, is probably the single best book for women in fitness that I’ve ever seen: it’s thorough, thoughtful, beautifully photographed, and highly instructive. (It makes me shake my head at some of the get-thin-quick titles out there today that try to make fitness a quickie throwaway, as though it’s a chore that just has to get done fast. McLish makes this material fascinating. It’s a great read, even 30 years after its publication.)

From p. 229 of the paperback edition:

As you continue to make good gains from regular training, you will find that your self-confidence increases almost as quickly as your body improves. This is largely because you notice how much control you now have over the appearance of your body. With proper bodybuilding training and diet you can literally form your body to whatever specifications you desire, and that is a very heady experience.

Self-confidence is a valuable asset to anyone’s life because it opens many doors. When you have self-confidence you are able to take chances that other people can’t accept. If you have built up a pattern of success, it’s difficult to believe that you will daily at any new undertaking. Of course, you will fail from time to time, but such infrequent failure is a small price to pay for the good things that will come your way as a result of your growing self-confidence.

The book is still available via used booksellers on Amazon—if weight training is your cup of tea (and McLish would argue that it should be everyone’s cup of tea), then this is your title.

P.S. A nice video interview with McLish can be found on the Makers.com website.

Yesterday’s Every48 workout: A long WALK in the misty rain in Seattle. I’m still working out some physical kinks that are making my usual workouts harder than “usual,” but I hope to be back at full strength soon.

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