Can we talk about body image for a bit?

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If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I go to a fair few fitness events, it’s because my IRL job is in the fitness industry. What this gives me is a pretty good perspective on what a healthy hot body actually looks like. And guess what, there is no standard of beauty.

I’m not talking about those freakishly starved catwalk models, or the artificially ‘plumped in the right places’ young Hollywood stars; I’m talking about the type of bodies you can achieve if you actually lived those fitness motivation Pinterest boards.

The body idols I’m talking about live and breathe the gym, they get joy out of pure movement, they eat right (allowing for the all important chocolate breaks) and they are the team up on stage in front of thousands. They are what I like to think of as real bodies, the kind that you would get if you actually went to the gym instead of pinning about it while eating doughnuts.

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These bodies of awesomeness? They come in all shapes and sizes. And they look fucking hot.

There are short ones and tall ones. There are girls with small boobs (a realistic side effect of working out). The boys don’t all have big muscles, but some of them do – genetics is funny right? Not everyone has flat stomachs, hot-dog legs and a thigh gap; turns out people prefer bodies that lift, carry, jump and run over ones too weak to do more than walk.

Oh and curves? Curves are sexy. No matter how hard I work out I am always going to have hips, but that’s a seriously good thing. Why hate your body for something that can’t be changed? All you need to do is change the mental constructs you have of what constitutes a ‘good body’ and hey presto, your body is beautiful too.

Jiggly bits? I have it on good authority that jiggly bits are the best. End of debate.

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It unfortunately seems to be the human condition that we want what we don’t have, bodies are no exception. There is nothing wrong with going to the gym or watching what you eat to try and change it; I guess what I am trying to say is don’t hate yourself by aiming for something unachievable without plastic surgery or Photoshop.

So here are my rules for body image, crafted through working with the best bodies in the industry.

1. Never let your thoughts about your body stop you from joining in – not going to a dance class because your bits jiggle is just counterproductive.

2. Don’t compare your results. Look at sumo wrestlers; they may be big guys but I’m pretty sure they are healthier than little me any day.

3. Listen to your body. Going to a group ex class for the first time? Leave after track 5, and then add one more track every time you go. You want to build a love of exercise not go so hard that you stop going.

4. If you feel down about how you look (we all do at some point) get up and walk across the room, by being able to do that simple thing you already are the luckiest person in the world. You are in control of your body and it is functioning in the way it is suppose to.

5. Do what you can and do what you enjoy. My preferred form of exercise is getting lost in London and having to find my way home again. But if you like HIIT? You rock that workout. Prefer yoga? Brilliant. Want to dance like a dance thing? Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Bottom line is that we all need to move to make our bodies happy, find something that motivates you (even if that something is joining friends for coffee after class) and get involved. As for what that will do to your body, well that will depend on generations of genetics, your meals each day and how flattering your clothes are.

Want people to look up to in terms of body shape? Look all around you, no two are the same. But one thing is for sure, they are all real and they are hot hot hot.

Reebok One Amsterdam BODYSTEP

9 Comments

  1. September 10, 2014 / 7:47 am

    Amazing post!! I try and love exercising but somedays it’s a chore. But I always tell myself just how lucky I am to be moving my body and I snap right out of my whining! See movement as a blessing, not a chore!!

    • runawaykiwi@gmail.com
      September 10, 2014 / 9:24 pm

      Exactly, if we just focused on being able to move & enjoying that movement we would be a lot better off!

  2. September 10, 2014 / 11:28 am

    Oh I love love love this Rebecca! You’re totally right about all these things. I think it’s also especially important to do the exercise that you love – something that really makes you feel good. I used to run every night but, since I developed awful plantar fasciitis it’s become more difficult, so I started going to spin classes and..something about the music and the motivation of everyone in the room really pushing themselves was something I really enjoyed.

    • runawaykiwi@gmail.com
      September 10, 2014 / 9:27 pm

      That is totally the magic about group exercise, the music and the people are such a motivation. Sorry to hear about the lack of running!

  3. September 15, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    I need to print this out.

  4. September 16, 2014 / 12:56 pm

    This is a great post – so true. Comparison can so often lead to feeling negative, whether it’s regarding fitness or body shape or just life in general!

  5. September 18, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    I think I’ve lurked on here long enough to finally leave a comment (I’m like over a year deep into those archives!) and I just wanted to say my goddddd I wish all of this wasn’t so easily said than done. There’s that cognizant dissonance when you look at what yourself in the mirror and you start to nitpick, but you rationally know that there’s nothing “wrong” with you, etc. The grass definitely always seem to be greener, but you’ve listed some really important points. As someone who only hits the gym during hockey off-season because I HAVE TO (old injuries flare up, err like my knee cap will move, if I don’t keep my muscle mass up, work on certain things, etc.), I’m glad I’m not there for the oh-so-coveted-but-ridiculous thigh gap. I’d choose sprinting after a hard and fast hockey ball down the line, over a treadmill, any day.

    • September 18, 2014 / 4:29 pm

      **wasn’t so much more easily said than done

    • runawaykiwi@gmail.com
      October 1, 2014 / 10:15 pm

      Awww hi! I wish that it was easy, I swear the ambitions that I have just before falling asleep always seem to be gone by morning! It has to be something that you find fun or entertaining otherwise it simply wont happen.