Increasing Strength and Building Beauty Through Movement

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“Strong is the new skinny.”

“Strong is beautiful.”

I didn’t always believe that, but I do now.

Ten years ago, I tried cardio kickboxing at a martial arts facility. I fell in love with its rapid results and cathartic release — plus the teaching style and insatiable curiosity of the instructor, Tristan Phillips.

He was an unconventional trainer. He emphasized real techniques honed from his competitive martial arts training. He didn’t just teach us how to sweat — he taught us how to punch, how to block, how to kick, and how to do it in ways that helped avoid injury. He was an early adopter of kettlebell training, and worked strength into cardio and emerging fitness trends into tried-and-true workouts.

But most of all, he listened. Really, truly listened, in a way that made me as his student listen in return.

And so when he finally opened his own facility, his heart in his throat and his already shallow pockets turned inside out, I followed him as he chased his dream: helping people move better.

I put aside my skepticism as he raved about primal movement, a return to how the human body is physiologically designed to move. I buried my doubts about the efficacy of strength training over the sweat and struggle of cardio conditioning. I swallowed my misgivings about getting bulky from building more muscle with intimidating barbells and dumbbells.

I went against all conventional thinking and went with him to Primal Revival — and it’s changed my life.

A functional movement box gym with guided, personalized programs taught in small classes, Tristan’s dream has become a refuge for those of us who have stumbled on his below-the-radar community. His “all abilities welcome; all things possible” approach to fitness and movement restoration has turned dozens of unlikely friends into a family. His emphasis on proper lifting has given me joint stability and a returned range of motion that I’d thought car accidents had robbed forever. And his continued coaching, support, and ever-expanding catalog of physical fixes and holistic exercises have made fitness a lifestyle shift — a source of calm, a refuge, and a haven from both physical, mental, and emotional injury.

I may not be a powerlifter, but I am empowered and uplifted. Because strength? It may come from within, but it’s only grown when it’s nurtured. And when it is, well ... it’s beautiful.

Tags: Empowerment, exercise, healthy, Self Care, Self Confidence

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Su-Jit Lin

Su-Jit Lin is a food, travel, wellness, shopping, and lifestyle writer who is passionate about writing stories that help. See Full Bio

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