Stronger Than We Think

April 1, 2020


By Tammy Davis


Part Two of the Corona Chronicles
Part One here

Sometimes hard things are good for us.  Struggle and suffering can make us stronger.  It’s true in the gym and in times of crisis.

Some people might call personal trainer Lori Lapin the cause of much pain and suffering.  She’s a drill sergeant, but she’s a delightful drill sergeant so she gets away with it.  Her positive outlook is contagious, and you always leave feeling better than when you arrived.  Her heart is big, but she’s no softy.  We don’t necessarily enjoy her challenging workouts, but she gets results. The benefits outweigh any of the negative feelings at the time.

Lori Lapin

Like any good teacher or coach, Lori pushes and encourages in equal measure.  She makes us believe we are stronger than we think we are. If a client grabs a set of ten-pound weights, she replaces them with twenties.  For thirty minutes we might struggle, but the struggle makes us better.

When I first started going to the Strong Foundations gym, Lori would tell me to engage my core during the hardest upper body exercises.  Initially, I didn’t make the connection between my core muscles and hammer curls or overhead presses, but I followed instruction.

Anytime I wanted to quit, Lori would give that same good advice, “Engage your core.  It makes your whole body stronger.”

I finally figured out that “engage your core” doesn’t just mean to tighten your stomach or tuck in your tushy.  That’s only part of the formula.  “Engage your core” also means dig deep, don’t give up.  Her underlying message: “This isn’t easy, but you can do it.  Don’t quit.  You’ll be stronger for it.”

In the midst of all this sheltering at home, I miss my exercise routines.  I never thought I’d miss hearing Lori tell me to engage my core, but I do.

I wonder if I am engaging my core in a different way during this Corona time.

Crisis forces us to dig deep both spiritually and emotionally.  If we’ll let it, struggle can make us stronger and better.  We might not like the Corona changes, but we are stronger than we think, and we’ll be better for having gone through this craziness.

We’re in the early days of this Covid-19 crisis, but people have already started new routines and traditions.

Families who used to live in the drive-thru line are starting to cook together and sit at the table for meals.

Couples are getting creative with their date night routines.  Turns out we don’t need to be at the latest hot spot to have fun and connect.  A good game of “Go, Fish” and a few home-made quarantine cocktails might be just as good.

Closets and garages have never been more organized.

Just a few weeks in, and we’re already making the best of things.  Of course, we’re all a little rattled and on edge.  It’s natural to be scared.  We want this to end sooner, rather than later.  But, we’re also stronger than we think.  When it’s over, we’ll be better off.

If we engage the core of what’s really important to us, our relationships will be more solid.  If we dig deep, we’ll come out of all this with a new healthy habit or a renewed hobby or interest.  I bet we’ll all have a greater appreciation of our emergency funds.

Yes, we’re stronger than we think – in the gym and in times of crisis. We never like the hard parts of a workout or the hard parts of life.  It’s not easy to engage our core and dig deep.  But if we can, according to my friend Lori, we’ll be stronger and better for it.


Tammy Davis is a writer and teacher who finds lessons in everyday life.  Follow Davis on Instagram @tammydavisstories or visit her website at for audio experiences and bonus videos of each of her weekly columns.