You will see I am no natural where social media selfies are concerned and to be honest nor would I want to be. Stick a barbell in my hand and you would likely get a much more relaxed shot…..
Other wise known as ‘click bate’. The appearance of a semi dressed female on social media, abs on show. Gym headband fixed. (Sorry I couldn't bear to bring myself to pout).
Images of this nature will ALWAYS receive more attention that that of any fitness and health advice I give out.
So WHY is it, that females are so drawn to look at images of other females when they appear semi dressed? I mean its surely not to know where I buy my sports bar from?
The answer lies in ‘COMPARISON’.
Lets be honest. As a female. We are supposed to look a certain way. Add in the fact I am a female Personal Trainer and there is an expectation there is no doubt, that I should fulfil a certain criteria. For some I should look ripped with a low body fat percentage. For others I should look ‘toned’ but not manly, thin (but not too thin) , and capable. Ironically however whilst people want me to be balanced in my eating habits (this allows them to feel better about their own eating habits by default)….BUT dare I eat a piece of cake in public wearing my PT clothing and you’ll soon see the outcry of ‘she’s not following her own advice’ ….from those open mouthed watching. The amount of times I have heard “I bet you don't ever eat chocolate do you”….(for the record I do eat chocolate yes and when I do I feel no guilt). I also eat a lot of veggies.
Women are meant to be thin (but not skinny).
‘Toned’ but not too muscular or bulky (that makes us look manly)
With a good rounded ass (that’s firm and shows no fat’).
The list goes on………
Drink a protein shake and sit amongst a group of skinny mini’s and you soon feel like an outcast, especially when your hamstrings will no longer fit into skinny jeans.
Take the same skinny mini squad, and place them in the ‘fitspo-squat hard- or go home’ section of any gym and its soon the skinny mini’s who are put to shame and feel out of place.
Don’t you dare change your methods of training and eating either - as if you do, you have a problem. You are ‘faddy’.
Clean eating is seen as virtuous (when actually in my experience most strict clean eaters have very little awareness of how to function socially outside of their rigid routine). Likewise if you eat cake-women are more likely to be seen as ‘falling off some sort of wagon’- ? (I don't like wagons they make me car sick). If you boast about an exercise plan putting you through 'pain' (otherwise known as beast mode)-you are deemed to be 'hardcore' (as opposed to just a higher risk of gaining injury)
So why do we as women love to compare and judge others?
Why do we like to look and nosy- at what ‘she’s doing’ and how she looks?
And why are we driven by an ‘image’ that seems so contradictory that realistically for most people it will never be able to be achieved, unless you change your appearance every week!
So this is a shout out to all women. All females who are stuck in a comparison zone. I want you to begin to grow alone and independently and focus on YOU. Focus on what you want to achieve and how YOU want to feel. The rest as they say will become history.
Now for my own individual mindset, mental strength, confidence and happiness. MY PREFERENCE for MY OWN BODY is to focus on strength. I focus on lifting heavier weights with a range of methods, with ‘movement which is as good as I can make it to reduce injury and build a strong body’. This is what drives my physique. Has it made me gain muscle and lower my body fat. Yes. Is this a main goal or target for me. No. I work with a trainer to help judge my movement and strength progress. His focus is to make me MORE not LESS capable (shout out to Coach Rimmer btw who is fabulously good at his role within this). The benefit of having a male rugby playing trainer is I have no risk of wanting to compare myself to him ;)
This doesn't mean that there are days I don't wake up and feel ‘bigger’ or saggier. I also have days I feel tighter or more toned than others. But the major issue is, that I have found confidence and a lessened wanting of comparison with others, has correlated with my physical growth in strength. I no longer compare my body to others. I compare my strength, with how happy and healthful I feel. My path to achieve more not less, be more, not less allows a much more balanced approach to life in general.
But this doesn't mean you should follow me or my physical goals. You may feel you prefer a more muscular - or less muscular-physique. You may want to be thinner-or bigger. You may want to focus on a whole range of other training or movement methods. Thats ok! But choose whatever method you feel serves YOU and your BODY to achieve the greatest amount of HEALTH both physically and mentally. I guarantee that a change in the way you think about this, will allow a greater confidence in accepting yourself for the way you look.
Eating ‘well’ and moving/exercising well’ is SO subjective. It is not a path to righteousness, judgement of others or COMPARISON. It is a choice to hopefully allow emotional, physical health, and ultimately happiness.
Try and remember this when the detox diet plans start rolling out in the next few months. They will feature images to try and make you compare yourself to others. As soon as you feel this urge to do so-self check-and just remember the only person you should really compare yourself to, is YOU.