Quad Squad

Quad Squad | happyfitmama.com

It was an ordinary early morning at the gym.

I was doing a side lunge with a DB clean in front of the big mirrors at the gym.  As I watched my form, my eyes fixated on my legs and arms.

Visible muscles popped out with every move. Damn.  I looked jacked!

Was it the gym lighting or do I really have muscles like that?

There was a time, not so long ago, that I despised my thick quads. In high school, I could never find jeans that would fit past my knees. I rejoiced when boot cut jeans became a thing because the tapered leg was not my friend. There were times that I borrowed my older brother’s jeans just so I’d be able to fit the fabric over my legs.  I had to paper bag cinch the waist with a belt and tight roll the cuffs but at least my legs could breathe.

This was the ’90s when waif models, like Kate Moss, were the thing.  No one had muscles.  Everyone in magazines and TV looked like broom sticks.  I wanted to look like that to “fit” in.  But my body type is not broom stick.  My body type is one that puts on muscle fairly easily.  Skinny jeans of the ’90s did not accommodate anyone with visible quads and hamstring muscles.

It took me years to accept that.  Even though I’ve been a consistent gym person since high school, I think my mind finally grasped the concept once I became a runner. Before running, it was always about “I’ve got to go to the gym so my legs get leaner” or “I haven’t lifted in 3 days, my arms are getting flabby.”  Initially, even running was a means for weight control.

Quad Squad | happyfitmama.com

I’m not even sure when my mindset shifted. I know it was sometime after my kids were born eight years ago. Over time, it wasn’t about the weight.  It wasn’t even about burning calories. It wasn’t about exercise. It was about how it made me feel. I enjoyed running. The sweat from a run was more than sweat.  It cleansed me from doubts, worry, and preconceived notions of who I was. It made my mind stronger. Most importantly, it made me happy.

Now my thick quads carry me distances that most people will never cover. I climb mountains with these stems. My arms are strong and can lift things up, put them down and even throw them like it ain’t no thang. That’s something to be proud of.  That’s something that should be celebrated.

It would be a lie if I said I’m perfectly happy with everything about the appearance of my body. I don’t always like things about my body like stretch marks, cellulite or the way my butt looks in certain pants. BUT I will always love my body.  It’s carried and delivered healthy twins, it’s endured numerous running injuries (I could do with less of those, btw), and countless other things. It really hasn’t let me down!

Quad Squad | happyfitmama.com


My point in all of this is that there’s always going to be someone who is thinner, stronger, faster, younger, older, wiser, richer and any adjective that ends in -er, than you. What matters is how you process that. The grass is always greener on the other side.  You may want smaller legs but the girl with skinny legs probably wishes she had legs just like yours.

Every body is different.  We aren’t made in a factory with the same specifications.  We are all unique individuals with amazing qualities that make us special.

You do you.

Embrace your awesomeness, thick quads and all.

Linking up with Coaches Corner and Wild Workout Wednesday.

10 comments on “Quad Squad

  1. Love this! I remember being in high school and college and not wanting to lift weights because I was afraid of bulking up. Instead I only focused on cardio. It was like once I learned to love running then i wanted to do everything else just to make myself a better runner. Like you, a while ago I had a shift where I stopped working out to stay in shape or lose weight. Now its more about how it makes me feel.
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted..5 Tips for Adjusting to Running in the HeatMy Profile

  2. *raises hand high for the quad squad!
    OMG yes 100% to all of this and I felt the same about my quads for a very long time. In fact, this last training cycle for my half IM with ALL the miles on the bike turned my quads into giants but, I embraced it because they helped me glide up all.those.hills
    Of course I still struggle with body image some days but 90% of the time I’m so grateful my body allows me to do so much! #quadsquad
    Allie recently posted..I Am A Half Ironman! Rev3 Quassy Race RecapMy Profile

  3. YES! You are strong AF and there is every reason to celebrate all that your body does for you. I’ve had such a weird battle with my body of the last year. Due to sickness and surgery my weight has fluctuated – when I lose weight I love how my pants fit (easier) but then my booty starts to disappear. As I’ve started to get stronger again, my pants are tight but for all the good reasons. I’m just grateful that I can still run and do what makes me FEEL good.

  4. Right there with you, sistah! I have no problem building muscle on my quads. I used to hate them because they were so thick. Now I love my quads because they are my powerhouse! How sad is it that it took us so long to love what these legs can really do?

    Great post!

  5. Love this. Thank you for sharing. We all need a reminder to not get lost in a number but be happy with the progress and process.

  6. I am a card-carrying member of the quad squad. There are times that I am detracted from them because they do not fit into the things I want them to fit into…but they are able to keep me upright for many, many miles. I need to treat my gams with care and strength!

  7. Effing eh – yay! I have worked with a few clients who have needed this mindset and it took forever for it to come on. We all have different body types and can look AMAZING with them. There’s no one size fits all. It’s so freeing once you reach this mindset. Embrace what your body can do.

  8. 100% yes! I am a member of the quad squad. In college I used to hate how my quads were big in response to running, but I loved running so much for both exercise and the mental quiet space that I learned to like my bigger quads. I notice sometimes in race photos my quads look large, but then I’m always grateful for how they helped me reach my goals.

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