Preferred pronoun: I am okay with they/them and she/her. I identify as non-binary.
Location: I live in the Whittier/Wedge neighborhood, a block away from the Movement!
Movement Minneapolis member since: September 2016
What’s your athletic/fitness background?
One could say my athletic background is the absence of one, really. I had wanted to be athletic my whole life, but was too insecure about my body type to ever feel confident enough to start. I’ve been telling myself, “You can’t do that,” for a long time.
What brought you to the Movement? Do you remember your first workout and what you thought of it?
I initially joined the Movement as a supplement to my chiropractic regimen. I have chronic back issues stemming from early childhood health issues and having a large chest, and it was suggested I take proactive steps to increase my strength and build muscle. I remember my first workout because I was so scared! I was diagnosed with PTSD about three years ago, and it’s shaken my ability to feel a sense of belonging. I have permanent imposter syndrome, and that was definitely something I so vividly remember from my first workout. I remember working with Kate by the back of the gym, doing dead bugs and inverted rows. I had trouble making eye contact with her, I was so nervous. I told her to forgive me for my shortness and/or perceived lack of interest, explaining my social anxiety. She didn’t even bat an eyelash. I also told her I hated doing dead bugs, which is definitely an opinion that’s changed since then!
What’s been the biggest change for you since joining the Movement?
It’s so incredible how much more confident I am in my everyday life. I’m a survivor of sexual assault, which is something the coaches know but hasn’t been something I’ve shared with any of the folks at the gym. It’s a constant struggle to see myself outside of my faults and my traumas. Since joining the Movement, I feel so much more powerful. Reconnecting with my body through lifting has made me much more grounded and aware of my Self.
What’s been your favorite Movement moment so far?
I have to say, my favorite Movement moment was actually attending my first Women’s Lobby Hour. There was a moment I had, just an average moment, where I could feel myself become a part of the community. I felt like I belonged, the imposter was gone. I felt like I had a life again, honestly.
I don’t usually measure my progress with PRs or record my workouts–mostly due to my history with food. I can say for sure though, my top memorable PRs were when I discovered I could touch the floor without bending my knees and my 190 lb trap lift.
Do you have a favorite training style? If so, what is it?
Slow and heavy. Gotta love that good muscle burn you get from challenging yourself with squats or deadlifts.
How about your least favorite?
I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never be a runner, haha. Running/jumping/cardio is something I’m generally uncomfortable with.
Do you prefer training solo or with a partner/team/class?
Solo, for sure. Working out is very much a meditative experience for me. It’s a thankful release from what the week/day/hours have put on me. I don’t think I’m the chattiest person at the gym, and maybe that’s why. It’s my time to reconnect with myself.
When did you know you were hooked?
When I would spend all day thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to get to the gym.”
What does being “strong” mean to you?
I have a troublesome relationship with that word. I have spent a lot of my life being told I’m a strong person and while I understand the sentiment, that word can act as an eclipse. It has the power to blot out a lot of the pain one experiences in survival; I almost feel like that word has been used against me. I do think that my joining the Movement has been a reclamation of the word “strong.” It is a formidable weapon for me now, to recognize that I am strong. Strong is not just a physical measurement. It’s an impression you leave on yourself and others, and it endures.
How do you spend your days when you’re not at the gym?
I am a big TV buff, from an academic and entertainment perspective. I spend most of my non-obligation time cleaning, watching tv, reading, or hanging out with my cat. My partner and I are also big board and video game nerds.
What do you think people would be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in an artist’s commune in Wisconsin.
Any secret/hidden talents?
I can do the wave with my eyebrows.
A quinoa bowl with two over medium eggs, spinach, and K-Mama korean hot sauce.
What are you training for/what’s your next training goal?
Well, I would love to do some competitions and I guess I’ll be aiming for participation in an upcoming September meet.
How can people find/connect with you?
ig: @rudegif , or on facebook as Myriah Florence
Do you have any advice for people starting out?
Everyone’s got a different starting point.