Strong is the New SkinnyIs Strong is the New Skinny? Or Strong is Strong and Skinny is Skinny?

A lot of media attention is being paid to the latest catch phrase, “strong is the new skinny.” Many pictures have been posted on social media that display women and men flexing their enlarged muscles. Although the movement away from stick thin models defining beauty is a refreshing thought, this new form of body idealization comes with its own healthy concerns.

Just like trying to live up to the idealized term “skinny” can be an unattainable goal, so can the new idealized “strong”. Harmful and potentially fatal behavior is often done to achieve both of these unrealistic goals. Just like dangerous dieting and poor body image can lead to eating disorders, trying to sculpt the “perfect strong body” can lead to over-exercising.

How Much Exercise is Enough

Though is it difficult to determine how much exercise is enough for each individual, there are certain signs of over-exercising that may be helpful in determining if someone is exercising beyond his or her limits. According to Waehner (2012), “The typical signs of overtraining include: insomnia, achiness or pain in the muscles and/or joints, fatigue, headaches, elevated morning pulse, sudden inability to complete workouts, feeling unmotivated and lacking energy, increased susceptibility to colds, sore throats and other illnesses, loss of appetite and decrease in performance.” It is important for individuals to assess their exercise goals and workout programs in terms of their health. “Exercise should not be something that you are obligated to do. It should be a fun activity. When exercise becomes more important than your other duties, this should alert you to the fact that something is not right. Your life should be filled with balance, and exercise alone should not be the determining factor as to how happy you are (Over Exercise, Body Image, and Disordered Eating, 2012).”

Tips for Creating a Healthy Relationship

Some tips for creating a healthy relationship with exercise include: doing activities that are fun for you, not exercising out of guilt and taking rest days to let your body recover. (Over Exercise, Body Image, and Disordered Eating, 2012) Over-exercising can also be connected to eating disorders or disordered eating.

Eating disorders are complex disorders that often require specialized treatment. There are specialists and treatment centers that are focused on eating disorder recovery. These resources can benefit those dealing with unhealthy food relationships as well as with unhealthy exercise behaviors. As a society we are often consumed by how we can transform our bodies. This leads only one question to ponder: when will healthy be the new skinny?

Are You Struggling With Your Recovery? Center for Discovery Can Help

If you are struggling with your recovery, or need treatment, don’t hesitate to call Center for Discovery immediately with any questions at 800.760.3934. Call now and speak to one of our highly trained admission specialists today. Or fill out this form for a FREE assessment. All calls are completely FREE and strictly confidential. Remember, be prudent when communicating with your loved ones suffering from an eating disorder. Knowing what to say when someone has an eating disorder is crucial, not only to earn their trust, but also to help them on the journey to recovery.



1. Waehner, P. (2012). Are You Exercising Too Much? The Facts About Overtraining.

2. San Diego State University.(2012). Over Exercise, Body Image, and Disordered Eating.