What is fit?
Understanding Fitness and Athleticism
Through my experience, research and education, fit to me is the ability to do fit activities across many disciplines. These disciplines include running 10k's, indoor rock climbing, pull ups, lifting heavy weights, moving with flexibility, dancing without getting tired, and having a tight firm body. But the media loves to mess with our mind, and perpetuate incorrect stereotypes of fit. The media does a horrible job of actually educating young women on what fit actually looks like across differen't body types. And ladies and gentlemen, that is why I am going to mentor you in this article. We see anorexic looking models walk the runways, and people ingrain those images into their subconscious as the definition of "fit". But you will never see those same looking models for men on the runway. The male models are buff and in great shape, generally. Why the discrepancy between the sexes? Is it because women can't build muscle? Did god not grant us the right to be strong? False! Women have the ability to gain muscle, but not in the same way as men. So no matter how many weights a woman lifts, she will never "look like a man". This is the kind of brainwash some women have, and it truly saddens me. "I don't want to touch weights, I will look manly" or " I don't want to get bulky" just show the level of brainwash, internalized misogyny in some of these women.
The only things that will get you "bulky" or "manly" are steroids or a really bad diet. So the stereotype of women looking too manly is plain incorrect. Those that believe that myth need an education on the female anatomy, female body fat, and science. Why do female runway models not look like athletes, but the male runway models do? So let's step back and think about this? With the power of marketing, the power of information on the internet, education, and the power to start over, why hasn't the media decided to collectively redefine their definition of sexy---> into healthy? If the media truly cared about women, why haven't they guided women better? Oh because the media isn't interested in making women "better" but more insecure, more unhealthy, and more doubting. They want to sell products that women don't need! If women were healthy, they wouldn't need weight loss pills that don't work! Think about it, there's a reason for things. Why is healthy and strong only synonymous with one gender? Why isn't a woman with muscles on the cover of cosmopolitan, but only on the cover of a fitness magazine most women don't read. Why do men have to be strong and women weak?
This isn't about shaming a skinny body type, it's about spreading real information. This is truly about breaking down the incorrect ideologies and misconceptions of the media and society. The question is, are these vogue models actually fit? Read what I wrote above, and ask yourself, can those models 'run 10k's with ease, rock climb, lift heavy, move, do pull ups, dance with ease'? For 90% of female body types, the answer is no--You cannot be stick thin, with no muscle formation and able to do those strenuous activities with ease. The proof is in the pudding, a women needs muscles to do activities. Muscles look different on everybody, but if you're healthy, you need muscles to move! That's why runners have more defined calves, and sprinters have bigger thighs. That's why soccer players have bigger toned legs. Humans that are able to do physical activities generally have more muscles. Guess what? How do you build muscle, by eating a lot of food and weight lifting! If you ate under 1,200 calories, you wouldn't be able to build muscle. With building muscle comes fat, but after you've built the muscles, you can always diet to lose the fat. But muscles need food (nutrition) and lots of it!
At first, I had a false ideal image of what I wanted to be and look like but as time progressed, I began to tailor that image to my fitness goals. As I participated in the journey, I also learned a ton of things along the way, and it changed my perception of what fit actually looked like, what actual fit women in the community looked like. Previously, my image of fit was of those Pinterest fitspiration images that surface the web, or sports illustrated models: A picture of a tan skinny woman, with flat stomachs, bones popping out of their hips, super tiny legs and size zero pants. Guess what, that's not even CLOSE to fit! That isn't fit for a majority of women! Unless you are naturally super slim, which is a minority of women--who have a hard time building muscles--those images don't suit the reality and aren't correct. The health of those super skinny images of women may vary between the individual, but aren't likely to be accurate or a correct representation of a fit person.
So in my journey and seriousness for this lifestyle, I began to follow true athletes, true gymnasts, body builders, Olympians, and fit enthusiasts all over Instagram to educate myself on the muscle tonality and changes I would start seeing over time, if I performed certain exercises. For my fitness goals, this included a bigger back, broader shoulders, a smaller waist, bigger thighs, bigger quads, tighter glutes, and more definition in my arms. I also educated myself on nutrition, eating habits, obstacles I had to overcome, and the most nutrition dense foods. Then the fog of mystery around "fit" disappeared. I knew what fit looked like, and I became more excited than ever. Fit looked strong, lean, and healthy and there was no image in my brain that looked prettier than a confident, strong and self-assured woman.
As I began to take my weightlifting, cardio and nutrition seriously, I really tried to get my head into the game and make great use of my time at the gym. I soon realized that I wanted a stronger look to match my efforts. If you train hard, you will gain muscle, it is inevitable. That is the look I go for and want to achieve, now that I'm educated and enlightened to the fitness world. I want to be a walking representation of hard work and hours at the gym. Those previous fitspo images on Pinterest weren't cutting it for me anymore because most of those images didn't represent strong women at all! Those images were actually catered to men and the media. They are sexist representations of women. Those aren't catered to 'bettering women', or making women healthy. For example, the brands Nike, Adidas, Oxygen Magazine, and Shape Magazine represent the right demographic for what fit looks like to me, with my experience and research. The facade of "fitness" on part of the internet's terms began to fade and shift into what it truly was. I looked at REAL fit women across many platforms of social media. I followed my favorite athletes. I began to understand how the body changed due to strength training. My goals finally began to sharpen, as well as my focus
But why is being fit so important? Why not just be average? Or be skinny or fat? Or be normal? For a lot of us, it's a stepping stone for the rest of our lives. The gym helps establish confidence in yourself, increase self-value, increase mood, relieves stress, and is just plain badassery. Who doen't want to be strong? If everyone understood what it felt like to be healthy, strong and clear headed day in and day out, I'm convinced that most would dedicate time to it. Seeing yourself build toward your physical goals and reach them is so self-satisfying, that you crave more. Fitness is a value system that holds us accountable for our goals. A lot of us enjoy the struggle. For me, my college experience at College for Creative Studies was not easy, not even close. I went to that school because I had a passion and talent for art. I had to attend classes, participate, do the work everyday, meet incredibly unfair deadlines in order to graduate. Same with fitness! You have to put in the work consistently, hold yourself accountable, grade yourself on how well you achieved your goal, day in and day out. The unfair part: I don't like being sore and not being able to eat my favorite comfort foods 24/7, however the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I know for me, I loved the process and planning that it took to be in the shape that I am today. And if your head is in the right place, you set yourself up for success, and your passion for change burns brighter than your fears, you will change, and you will obtain your goals, whatever they may be.