Type “motivating workout quotes” into Google and you’ll find list after list of inspirational quotes by famous bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and strength coaches like Dave Tate. What you won’t find much of, though, are lists of motivational quotes from strong women.
So, we made our own!
Over the last few years, there has been a surge in female participation in strength sports. Whether it’s CrossFit, weightlifting, strongwoman, powerlifting, you name it—women are doing big things with big weights, and it’s time they’re heard from more often.
Each of the women on this list has made an enormous impact on the world of fitness, especially for aspiring female athletes. It includes athletes over a span of 100 years and a myriad of sports, each with a different story and background, yet so much wisdom to share.
Females often fall victim to the idea that weights will automatically make them bulky, or they’re told that they are incapable of an impressive performance in the realm of strength sports. But these strong women have proven that wrong—and that there is beauty in physical power.
The sweeping message in all of these quotes: Don’t be afraid of the barbell, of competition, or of the opinion of others. Nothing will limit your potential faster.
So, whether you’re in need of some workout motivation or just love a good hit of girl power, here are 10 quotes that will leave you hyped for your next squat session.
1. Judy Glenney: 4-Time Women’s National Weightlifting Champion (1981-84)
“I wanted to show I could do it on their terms. If I could show them I could lift with correct technique, that’s how I would win respect. I let my lifting do the talking.”
2. Meg Squats: Powerlifter, Coach, Team Bodybuilding.com Athlete
“I’ve been called every name. I’ve been called too skinny. I’ve been called too fat. I’ve been called too muscular. I think once you get to a place where there are so many more important things, like how you’re training and what your training goals are, you stop caring. I’m at a point where I don’t even care how I look. I think I look fine and I look happy, but that’s not my main focus anymore, which is so freeing. I can go to the gym and only focus on this one thing—getting better and getting stronger.”
3. Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton: Women’s Strength Pioneer
“People used to say that if women worked out, they would become masculine-looking or wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. We just laughed because we knew they were wrong.”
4. Jan Todd: First Woman to Deadlift 400 Pounds
“Strength should be an attribute of all humanity. It’s not a gift that belongs solely to the male of the species.”
5. Katie Sandwina: Historical Strongwoman
(From an interview in 1910)
“A very discreet question, my dear madam! Are you married?”
“No, I’m not married. I’m still single but nobody dares to end this situation.”
“Are you interested in men, anyway?”
“What shall I say? Men are like air to me, you can’t live without them. Every now and then I breathe good, fresh air, you know? I’m just a ‘weak woman,’ after all.”
6. Stefi Cohen, DPT: Powerlifting World-Record Holder
“I’ve heard it all. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt when what you do has nothing to do with your looks, yet as women we’re constantly subjected to comments about our appearance. I’m not a runway model, I’m an athlete. I’m a Doctor of physical therapy. I’m a student. I’m a strength coach. I’m a business owner. I won’t lie and say I’m 100 percent comfortable with it, because I’m not. But thinking about it objectively, none of what anyone says matters. What matters is how you see yourself. Own your shit.”
7. Mattie Rogers: USA Weightlifter, U.S. Record Holder
“There is no perfect time. No perfect opportunity. No perfect situation. No perfect moment. You either make it happen, or you don’t. You don’t wait for it to fall in your lap. You take it.”
8. Ronda Rousey: Judo Olympic Gold Medalist, Mixed Martial Artist
“I want her to look at me. I want her to stare me in the eye. I want her to see that I have no fear. I want her to know she stands no chance. I want her to be scared. I want her to know she is going to lose.”
9. Quiana “Chuckie” Welch: Snatch American Record Holder
“Me doing what I’m doing is letting other people of color and other black women know: ‘Hey you can lift weights, too.’ Not only can you lift weights. You can try CrossFit, go backpacking, hike mountains, the list goes on. You don’t have to be a certain color to do any of these things. You can do whatever you want.”
10. Tia-Clair Toomey: 2-Time CrossFit Games Champion and 2016 Olympian
“I always think about my ‘why.’ Setting an intention can keep you fired up even when the going gets tough—it’ll remind you why you started in the first place, and what you’re hoping to achieve by pushing yourself.”
Looking to boost your own strength? Check out Uplifted with Meg Squats, only on Bodybuilding.com All Access!