While at the gym, I started to think about how everyone around me was doing something different. Not only that, but they’re all in different places in their lives, their exercise journey, and their physical capabilities. While we have a “type” that we’ve grown to think are “healthy and fit”, we were all at the gym doing what we needed to do for our bodies at that moment. Weight does not equal health. It doesn’t equal your mile time or how much you bench. In fact, the way you look doesn’t determine your health to anyone, despite what we’ve all been taught in this world.
Let’s Talk Elliptical
Jenna Marbles has a Youtube video from forever ago where she talks about getting judged at the gym (which I just found out is deleted :/). While she was going slow on her elliptical, a girl going much faster was giving all sorts of condescending looks. She didn’t know, however, that Jenna had her resistance on the highest setting which gave her a different exercise altogether. A workout that works for one body doesn’t work for another. Some people have injuries or medical conditions that make even moving certain muscles difficult in the first place! The way you’re working out has nothing to do with your health level.
Let’s Talk Fitness Clothing Culture
Athleisure is not only the trend, but also the bulk of my personal closet. Even though I have a million pairs of leggings, I truly do not feel like I can have enough. For so long, the fitness industry has made athleisure for a certain group of people. Those who might have a couple extra inches in any part of their body don’t have athletic clothes that fit them properly or provide support when doing anything strenuous. Brands that I love for pre-workout, protein, or workout gear often only go up to a size XL. It’s confusing, considering the average clothing size of a woman in the US is 14, but trends to size 16-18. Even if you are within the XS-XL size range, you might have broad shoulders, a large chest, strong thighs, or short legs that make shopping for fitness clothing difficult.
Let’s Talk Looks
By looking at me, you wouldn’t guess that I swam competitively for 8 years. Even now, I can swim laps around people that are considered much fitter and healthier than I. It’s the way that I’ve moved my muscles and how I’ve conditioned my body. Morgan Stickney is a double amputee and professional swimmer. Her fastest 400m Freestyle time as a Paraolympic swimmer is only one minute of the world record time. Without legs, she’s swimming faster than a large majority of the world.
This is an example of an amazing athlete overcoming a physical obstacle. Though not as extreme, the same could be said for the people around you at the gym. You’d be surprised what people can accomplish when you stop placing societal exceptions on them.
Let’s Wrap It Up
The way someone looks does not equate to their health. The way that my stomach looks in a sports bra does not mean that I don’t work out, or that I don’t workout correctly, or even that I’m unhealthy. Unless you’re my doctor with my medical chart in front of you, don’t assume things you don’t know!
Obesity has so many causes. Though being overweight has health risks, it’s important to understand health is not a one size fits all. Encouraging people to love their body isn’t condoning unhealthy lifestyle habits. In fact, loving your body allows you to move, stretch, exercise, and pamper yourself like you need!
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