4 out of 4 stars
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With pride, Lauren Powers in her memoir Beneath the Muscle: Unleash Your Inner Champion credits her father, David MacDonald, for her Type A personality that has made her naturally prone to positivity. Just the same, isn’t it incredible that as a child she was focused, stayed confident, and therefore, never allowed bullies to bring her down? Yet, after everything, it’s this learned behavior that has allowed her to pursue careers in male-dominated fields later in her life.
Any or all of several women close to Powers could have been responsible for her inspired attitude, namely, her mother, Mary Curtis; her grandma, Leone; and her aunt, Colette. Ever the Pollyanna, she scored a solid 4.0 grade-point average at the University of Hawaii on Maui, even as she excelled in some high-octane adventures both in and out of school: as an example, she was the number-one-woman paddler out of fifty-two women who were selected to paddle on the Molokai Channel, the roughest channel of the Hawaiian Islands.
With an effusive attitude of paying no attention to negative thoughts, Powers’ book certainly provides some food for thought. Through what she calls being “Behind the Mask,” she identifies an aspect of hiding dark thoughts that disguises our true selves so that we can fit into society. While describing this debilitating trait in more detail, she gave the example of a certain celebrity who appeared happy and comical when in public; however, behind this persona, there was a fatally disconsolate individual. Moreover, any of the chapter titles in Part 3 (Keys to Success) of her book read like personal mantras one can adopt to promote positivity in life.
As a former drug addict who found fame in bodybuilding, Powers reminds her readers to never be afraid of making mistakes. Indeed, this is the frame of mind that has contributed to the appreciative tone that characterizes her writing. Accordingly, and in no uncertain terms, she cherishes her mom’s friend and drug rehabilitation staff who came to her aid when she hit rock-bottom because of drug and alcohol-related abuse. After this most trying episode in her life, she developed her “why” in life, which is to use her success as a platform to reach a wider audience, and in the process, help others.
That being so, to help me personalize the advice and experiences in her book in the hope it can help reveal my inner champion, Powers has included a free accompanying workbook. Success is about making the necessary changes in one’s life, and I thought this step was another key selling point of her book. Meanwhile, I got to admire all the numerous cool pictures Powers has taken posing with other equally successful celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and singer Katy Perry.
After all was said and done, I felt Powers achieved effectively her sole objective of penning this book. Additionally, I was only able to identify minimal editing errors, that is, a few missing commas in two phrases. As I conclude, what I liked most about the book was the fact that the author made the story more about her prospective reader than about herself. For the above compelling reasons, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend the book to anyone who feels unfulfilled in life and needs an inspiration to try something new. As Powers will tell you, she ventured into bodybuilding at the mature age of 40, so it’s never too late to start something new.
Beneath the Muscle
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