An Ode to the Legend

When I look through my Instagram feed, I see a lot of posts of women flexing, working out, doing handstands, push-ups and pull-ups. I truly love it. To see women becoming strong, eating clean with defined biceps is a refreshing change from the waif movement years ago. There is a strong revolution happening in our midst and being unrealistically skinny is no longer the new sexy. (Thank goodness.) However, where did it all begin?

Before these squatting, pressing and lifting ladies on social media feeds, there once was a powerhouse named Rachel McLish. She was one of many female bodybuilders who dominated the body-building world of the 80’s. Rachel McLish was the first ever woman to win the coveted title of Ms.Olympia. She did so twice in her bodybuilding career.  Cory Everson won the title an outstanding SIX times in her career. I tried to find Rachel McLish (one of my fitness idols) on various social media outlets for my own motivational purposes, but couldn’t find her anywhere. It appears she is as elusive as she is strong and beautiful. She must be in her late 50’s today, but I read in a bodybuilding forum somewhere that she still works hard and eats well. In her hay-day, there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Lady lifters put in the work at the gym and went home to practice posing instead of posting posing.

This phenomenal lady paved the way for the Monica Brants, Jamie Easons and Trish Stratus’. So when I see people showing off their strong backs, biceps or quads on Instagram, respect and acknowledgement must be made to the first lady of flexing, the original beauty with barbells, the original lady who lifts, and mademoiselle with muscle (ok, I’m having too much fun with this.)  Her accomplishments empowered women across the globe to see and believe that strong is certainly beautiful. Weight lifting women do not equate looking masculine, but do equate looking beautiful.  She started this movement for you. She started this for me. When I do that next flex, or shameful gym selfie, I will always remember who to thank before posting, sharing, tagging and liking became the norm.

Strong and sexy, Rachel McLish poses in her glory days.

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