A few months ago I was at running based workout that I signed up for to challenge me to improve my running. I was super excited for it because I like to challenge myself do things I don’t normally do (both physically and otherwise). Running has completely changed my life and my views on my body and relationship with health (a blog for another time) so of course I was excited to try something different.
Before we got started, the leader who happened to be a former male olympic athlete was sharing his experience with running/sprinting and then went on to say “There is a reason you see so many fat joggers” No, this is not taken out of context. That is what he said. He was explaining the benefit of sprinting on the body (fair enough) and the session was informative and challenging, BUT the issue I have with it is that it’s insensitive and stupid and not in any way helpful to the group of women that were there (some regular runners, some beginner runners, and some people that had never run, but were nervous about it and dealing with their own views about their bodies and fitness so this isn’t exactly a helpful or necessary thing to say). If someone asked a specific question about body weight and sprinting vs. jogging then sure go ahead share away, but that’s not what happened.
It implies that if you are “fat” you are somehow flawed. That fitness can only look one way. (Interesting because I have seen “fit” look a hell of a lot of different ways and come in so many shapes and sizes) It also implies there is something wrong in some way with jogging. You are only doing it right if YOU ARE SLIM, a weight that falls into this male’s preferred body weight and run at a certain speed. AWESOME!!! Guess that crosses off most people from the list that enjoy physical activity just to enjoy it because it makes them feel good about themselves. Fitness for the sake of feeling good/strong is overrated. Fitness so you can fit into society’s ideal of what it should be is the goal isn’t it!? (I missed that memo, my bad)
There are tons of athletes/people that would identify as being fat and prove that it does not equate with athletitic ability or worth. Here is a quick example:
Say hello to Michelle Carter who took up a gold medal for team USA at the Olympics in shot put
and another hello to Sarah Robles, a powerhouse weight lifter who recently said: “I have a bronze medal and I was able to be myself, embrace my body, do the things I’m naturally fitted to do to help make my dreams come true…. To challenge ‘normal’ ideals is an important thing….It’s cool to be me. I’m big and strong and putting it all for good use.”
These are my people. These women are my inspiration. Big, small, any size. I love the olympics because it truly shows that health and fitness comes in SO many different shapes and sizes.
Can you only be one size to be athletic? HELL NO
Do people think this? HELL YES. (though they probably won’t admit it and will hide it)
It is wrong. I know plenty of people that are bigger or smaller than me and that are incredible. I know petite girls that can lift a ridiculous account of weight/crush any arm wresting challenge with most men/women but are often thought to be weak. I know larger girls that are thought to be slow or lazy, but can run 10 times faster then me and can get into yoga poses that I can only dream of (I’ve got shavasana on lockdown in case you were wondering).
There is no one right way to look or be fit. Some people want bigger musles and some people want to be slimmer. At the moment I am into arms. I want to walk around looking like a bad ass B with strong muscular ams. That’s a specific goal I am into at the moment. I’m also working on a bit of internval training with my JOGGING so I can go faster at certain parts (see: very end of a race when you see finish line and want your chocolate milk/free bananna) Does this make me better? No! Do you have to do it? NO! Might I change my mind tomorrow and make up new goals? Quite possibly!
We should support/respect and cheer people on no matter how they look or what they want to do. I personally think walking is amazing exercise and always get mad at clients that say they “JUST WALK.” You guys!! Walking for long periods (or short) is so good for you. You are moving your body. It’s amazing. Get that walk on, you powerhouse.