Before we dive into the motivational positivity, let me be clear:
You CAN have abs, you CAN look like a fitness model, and we CAN help you achieve that if that is your goal...but we need to then talk about nutrition and workout modifications and you should know that it is HARD work.
*This article is about not allowing fake ideas of what fitness looks like distort how you feel about your own looks.*
Swimsuit season is upon us and with it, we will be flooded with ads like...
7 minutes a day to a beach body!
Drink this for those abs your swim suit needs!
Don't hit the pool before doing this core workout!
Get into shape before you bare your body!
...coupled with pictures of people who don't, in reality, look anything like what the airbrush and touch-up artists have created. (Please click here for examples of before/after touch-ups to prove we look just as lovely as movie stars in real life.)
What are your first thoughts when you see these ads?
If you're like most people, you say to yourself "I wish I looked like that. I'll never look like that." And then you subconsciously begin thinking, and then believing "I'm worth less because I don't look like that. I'm unhappy with myself because I don't look like that."
This is a very big, mostly unspoken, issue in my own home.
My husband, Robert, spent several years building to a very unhealthy weight. (Read more about Coach Robert here.) When Robert finally decided to lose weight, his motivation wasn't his health...he was aiming for a specific body image. He has since reprioritized his reasons for being so committed to proper nutrition and fitness, but he still fears that fat kid he once was and the lack of self-esteem that kid had.
I personally have an incredibly harsh self-image. I hear all the time when women join the gym: "I just want to look like her," meaning me. But whatever it is you guys see, I don't see it. A majority of decisions I make every day...what I'm going to wear, what I'll watch on TV, what I follow on social media...is largely based on my distaste for how I look, avoiding anything that's going to make me feel even worse about myself.
Being in the fitness industry, I think we all feel this pressure even more.
I mean...why don't we look like these guys, yet?!
...they don't actually look like this before the airbrushing & touching up...yes, they are fit but this is an exaggeration of how unflawed they look...
There are lots of reasons we could have these feelings of hate and resentment toward our own bodies, but the truth is that we need to stop. We need to stop comparing ourselves to television icons, fitness models, or even the guy working out right next to us. We need to stop putting SO MUCH onto what we look like. We, as human beings, are comprised of thoughts, feelings, interests, talents, hobbies... Our body is just a piece of us, not the whole us. As visual beings, that's really difficult to grasp, but it's true. (Read this article for a GREAT read on that last statement.)
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to let your diet and exercise fly out the window because you should love your body, extra fluff and all. But we all need to accept what we look like as a result of our effort to be healthy, not strive for a certain look even if how we're getting there isn't actually healthy or safe.
So...for the upcoming bathing suit season, let's forget about getting that beach body and try to appreciate the body we have, what it can do, learn to love it as it is, and show it off! Our gym is a safe, no-judgment space that uplifts achievements and effort, only celebrating looks when it applies to a skill or lift. If you get hot this summer, don't let body shame keep you from taking your shirt off or wearing shorts instead of your usual slimming pants.
*If you have a goal to have abs, slim down, or look a certain way, get with us about your nutrition. You WILL NOT look like any fitness model by workouts alone...YOU MUST apply proper nutrition.*