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Strong is the new black (but only if it’s sexy)

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Most of the time I consider myself to be quite wise now that I’m no longer a spring chicken. I don’t do things anymore that don’t make me feel good – I don’t wear ridiculously high heels because they don’t make me feel good, I don’t eat certain foods because they don’t make me feel good, I don’t read women’s magazines (fashion or fitness/health) because they don’t make me feel good, I don’t watch horror movies because they don’t make me feel good… the list could go on and on.

I have written about women’s magazines before and why I don’t like to read them. These days there are so many online equivalents though and because I have a very active social media life (sounds a bit daft but hey ho ;) I stumble upon some of them from time to time and they don’t actually make me feel good – the glossy fitness blogs, Instagram accounts and YouTube channels that are full of shiny hair, perfect make-up, evenly bronzed six-packs and not a drop of sweat (or often even a genuine joyful smile) in sight.

Maybe it’s because of my age or maybe it’s because I’ve never been the ‘hot chick’ but I just do not get fitness JUST for the sake of looking good. I mean I enjoy that because I’m fit, I’m not overweight and that it feels pretty good living in my body right now, but the looking good part doesn’t give me as much joy and self-confidence as the fact that I can DO so many fun things.

I look at images tagged with #fitspo and #abspiration, etc. and realise that most of the time it’s just women standing around – they don’t show what these women can DO, only what they look like.  That I don’t find inspiring, that I find messes with my brain and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only woman on the planet who feels that way. All through my teens and 20s I looked at magazines and hated myself for a) not having the willpower to not eat much and be skinny b) not have the skills to get my hair shiny c) not have decent sized boobs d) not have an hourglass figure but a totally non-existent waist.  I’m sure most of us have been there…

Now when I stumble upon an online presence that’s similar to the photoshopped magazines, I feel how I automatically start to feel a bit loserish again – why do my photos not come out as well? why can I not keep my make-up on when I exercise? why are my upper arms still so large? why are my teeth not so white? why does my hair get so frizzy when I sweat? etc. etc. etc.

I truly wonder who actually finds inspiration in that… and who is constantly beating themselves up over not matching up to those images… even though they eat exactly what she does and do the workout routines exactly how she does!

I often think why the heck do I blog and here’s why – I do not blog because I want someone to look at my blog and think “Wow. I want to be like MrsB because she’s so HOT!”  :)

Instead, I want this blog to be the kind of blog that people read and think “Wow. This looks like fun! I want to try it!”

The ‘this’ can be running, Crossfit, weights, bouldering, swimming, yoga, whatever.

I want people to think what is the thing that is fun for them, I want people to not want to copy anyone else or to be anyone else or to look like anyone else or to eat like anyone else.

And I want women to realise that they can be a badass without being a hot piece of ass. (I stole this line from this great blog post)

I can’t stand it that when it comes to fitness, it’s sex that sells.

I can’t stand it that when it comes to “strong”, it only sells when it’s sexy.

There are strong as heck female weight lifters out there but they do not have shiny six-packs and do we see them on #fitspo images??

And yes, I do have photos of myself in a bikini on my Instagram. I wear a bikini when I’m on the beach and sometimes I exercise in just my sports bra & tiny shorts when I’m with family and it’s hot outside. It’s just more comfortable like that.  If I ever start posting photos of me just standing around doing absolutely nothing but sucking in my stomach, please point out the BS-ness to me asap!

Fitness to me, is about the JOY of DOING something FUN.  It’s about learning new things and surprising yourself with your physical abilities. It’s about sweating because it gives you a great endorphin rush and makes you feel like one tough mother.

Children run around and throw things and lift things and climb on things just because it’s fun – I want to be like a kid, I want to just have fun and never grow up. I want to lift heavy, HEAVY, weights and not fret about “bulking up”, I want to do what’s fun, I don’t want to sweat day in and day out because I need a bikini body. The one I’ve got is fine, thankyouverymuch.

boulderingnails

This is how glamorous it gets over here – bright nails but hands (and hair!) full of chalk :)

What do you think? Am I being unfair? Do some people really just love working out for the sake of looking a certain way?

PS. I got a new 10k PB this morning – 45:57!  #boom #takethatfitspo

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  • Krista Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 18:28

    ma just lugesin paar päeva tagasi, et küsimus on selles, milline su motivatsioon on, kas sisemine või välimine. Väline ongi just see, et sa teed seda millegi pärast või millegi vältimiseks. Sisemise puhul sa nauditki tegevust ennast :)

  • Angeline Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 17:10

    You have inspired me on amny ocassion! You’re true to yourself adn to the ethos of exercise adn healthy eating. I have stopped following those who look as though they just stand around. Fitness is for life, not just to fit into a size 0! A lifestyle change is much better than worrying about what you weigh.

  • PoweredbyPB Monday, 20 April 2015 at 20:17

    Awesome post. Love absolutely everything you’ve written here.

  • Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 18:48

    Agreed! Working out to be badass, to play, or just for the joy of movement is incredibly rewarding.

    Thanks for the share, too! :)

    • MrsB Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 09:30

      No problem :) You write some good stuff!

  • Emma Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 15:13

    I love this post, congratulations on the PB!

    I vowed to stop buying women’s fitness/lifestyle magazines at the start of the year. So far so good, I don’t miss all the bikini body, diet and other rubbish and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about eating unhealthy food. I’ve also stopped following bloggers who only post perfect imagines of themselves.

    As a grumpy, slightly round around the middle, greying almost 36 year old, I’ve recently been questioning why I continue to nearly kill myself running (only a slight exaggeration) on a regular basis.

    Then I have an amazing run and I’m reminded that running is fun.

    • MrsB Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 17:18

      Running is SO much fun and it pisses me off so much when people think you are only a runner if you look a certain way or run a certain distance or at a certain pace. I passed two girls walking one day (with their dad), the little one (about 6) asked “Why is she running?” and the older one (about 12-14) said “Because she doesn’t want to be fat.”

      GIVEMESTRENGTH!

  • Katie Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 15:08

    Ooooh I like this post. I like it a lot. I’m guilty of Instagram following way too much of that. I also always look back at my race photos and feel slightly disappointed that I always look like crap – but I’ve come to the conclusion that those with amazing race photos just weren’t trying hard enough. And no-one ever shows the ugly race photos.
    With you on the arms thing – I have come to learn that mine are always going to look a bit bulky..but they are pretty damn useful and can lift some heavy stuff. And I’d prefer them to be practical rather than aesthetic!

    A pretty good example of this is if you google image search assos or santini bib shorts (I’m rolling my eyes here because SERIOUSLY is that how they expect to get women to purchase things?! or maybe it’s some very optimistic men…)

    PS CONGRATS ON PB!! (I got one as well…I am taking this taper very seriously oops)

    • MrsB Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 17:15

      I have to confess I do not share the shocking race photos – and I have LOTs of seriously shocking ones! I usually pick the ones where I don’t totally look like I’m about to die :)

      I googled assos bib shorts – I have NEVER seen fitness gear advertised with photos of women holding their bare boobs in their hands! :D

      PS. Congrats on your PB!

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