Inspired by Kathy Burke’s recent series on body confidence ‘All Woman’, I started to have a number of conversations with women – some clients, some family, friends and other Fitness Professionals. Conversations about body image, body confidence and why we feel the need to conform to look a certain way.
I mean, who doesn’t love to feel great in a new outfit or admire their newly manicured fingers but are we too judgemental about appearance? Behind every ‘body’ there is a person, and sometimes I think in our fast paced, social media driven culture we forget this.
I love Serena Williams’ quote “I used to say I wanted to be a size 4. Why would I want to do that, and be that? This is me, and this is my weapon and machine.’’ I have been in the privileged position in recent months guiding 3 athletes from their pregnancy and postnatal recovery back to a full training programme, ready to compete in their respected fields. Each woman has been outstanding in their commitment to listening and trying out a different approach to their normal training programme. They have completed all of their homework and progressed on through a wide variety of techniques to ease their way back to something resembling their normal training pattern. Each and every one of them has a completely different body shape, body fat percentage, muscle mass and dress size – all determined by their sport and the way they need their body to perform.
I have loved working with these inspiring ladies, who completely knock down the stereotypical body image that women feel they ‘should’ have. However, each of them would openly admit that they don’t feel ‘perfect’ – and that’s the bit I don’t like!
Look at what your body can do: grow life, give birth, recover and respond to training. You’re active because you can be, it is fun, you enjoy it, you feel great, confident and empowered. Your body responds and makes changes to improve it’s function and ability to move. To be pain free, loose tension, stand tall, create strength and improve your cardiovascular health. But we don’t all need to be the same dress size to achieve this.
We are all ‘perfectly imperfect’ as we don’t live in a film set! The photos on your phone shouldn’t resemble a magazine shoot – and shopping would just be boring if we were all the same shape! We all admire what we don’t have, curly hair vs. straight hair or ‘boy frame’ vs. ‘curvy’ …. Maybe we should learn to love what we have and enjoy health and fitness as it makes us FEEL great rather than lead us to a ‘LOOK’.
Our classes encourage everyone to ‘give it a go’, there are no judgements here. We welcome ALL women, ALL shapes, ALL sizes and ALL ages to ENJOY movement and learn how to make lifestyle changes that are actually useful!