Strong hands, stronger woman

I’m a girl at heart. I like to wear jewelry. I love shoes. The very last store I visited before I left the U.S. to live overseas was the Sephora store in Times Square, where I stocked up on good quality makeup brushes (I have no idea why I thought there wouldn’t be access to such products in Germany, but I wasn’t taking any chances).

And yet this is my hand, post-workout on Sunday morning. It’s not pretty. Not at all. I own several pairs of lifting gloves – one pair is peacock-colored and trimmed with black lace. I thought having pretty gloves would entice me to wear them. But they remain in my desk drawer, unless I’m doing inverted rows on the Smith machine, because the bar on the Smith chews the skin off my palm and I can never get as many reps as I’d hoped unless I have a barrier between me and its god-forsaken sharp ridges.

It’s funny: when I was little, I used to admire my dad’s strong, calloused hands — I thought they could fix anything and that they would always keep me safe. And mostly, they did, and then I grew up, and now it’s up to me to fix things.

And so I’ve come to be OK with the thick callouses that go to the middle of my palms. I like the feel of the metal bars in my hand. It lets me know that I have a firm hold on something, especially on days when I don’t feel like I have a firm hold on much. On those days, it’s just me and the weights, accomplishing a little more than I thought I could, and walking away with a bruise or two, but knowing I got it done.

Some days, that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Hanging on tight, pushing through, getting stuff done. A few battle scars are inevitable — and that’s one of the reasons I wear nail polish on my less-than-soft hands, so that they are not all rough edges. This week I’m wearing Opi’s Queen of Everything — a sparkling silver color, funny enough, a lot like the weights that bruised my palm.

Wendy Watkins

About Wendy Watkins

Wendy Watkins is a Bangor-based personal trainer, fitness coach, studio owner, and writer/editor. She is the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months. Visit her website at