4 out of 4 stars
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To anyone familiar with the bodybuilding industry, Lauren Powers is a household name. A tall, striking figure with her broad muscles, blond hair, and wide grin, the Southern California native totes an impressive list of credits behind her name—ten-time heavyweight bodybuilding champion, actress, model, entrepreneur, former firefighter, founder of the Powers Fitness Events, and now author—and she credits all of her success to an insatiable drive to be a winner in every area of her life. Her book, Beneath the Muscle: Unleash Your Inner Champion, is meant to, as she says, “Inspire and motivate others to be true to themselves and recognize their own power.” Part memoir and part self-help book, Beneath the Muscle is Powers’ gift to her fans and also a way of acknowledging and giving back to the people that helped her on her own journey of self-discovery.
The book starts out with a prologue by Lisa Lockwood, award-winning SWAT officer, decorated U.S. Air Force Desert Storm veteran, motivational speaker, and good friend of Powers'. With that impressive endorsement, Powers launches into her story. Powers intends for her book to be read actively. She encourages readers to download her specially-made workbook (from a link she includes in the preface) so that they can follow along as they read and answer the thought-provoking questions that she poses for them at the end of each section.
The book is composed of seventeen succinct chapters. Powers gives readers an overview of her childhood, her college years, and the various careers she has engaged in. She is very honest about her flaws and shares both her struggles and her successes with her readers, focusing particularly on the lessons that she learned at pivotal points in her life. Her goal is that readers learn how to apply these lessons to their own lives and as a result, “break out of the herd” and “become their authentic selves.”
Powers’ prose is conversational and down-to-earth. The book is exceptionally well-edited (I only noticed a few minor grammar errors) and tightly organized. I thought that Powers did an excellent job of conveying her message clearly and effectively throughout her writing. Although the core of her message is one that you hear frequently from the self-help industry ("You have a champion within you”), Powers personalizes and invigorates that often-used mantra with inspiring accounts of her own experiences and the unique challenges that she had to overcome.
I rate Beneath the Muscle: Unleash Your Inner Champion a well-deserved 4 out of 4 stars for the reasons I listed above. There was nothing about the book that I disliked. My biggest takeaway from Powers’ writing was its universality: You don’t have to be a fellow bodybuilder or even a fitness enthusiast to find this book helpful. Anyone interested in self-improvement or personal development will find Beneath the Muscle an inspiring and well-meaning kick in the pants to go out there and make something of yourself. I enjoyed this book immensely.
Beneath the Muscle
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