I’m beyond ecstatic that so many women are starting to get onto the ‘strong is the new skinny’ vibe and hitting up the weight room to show the men how it’s done. I used to always think that the thigh gap and having a slim body was healthy and achievable, and in some ways I thought it would be the answer to life’s problems; ‘maybe if I had that “perfect figure” I would somehow get further in life…’ maybe in the same way we think changing our hair to look like our fave celebrities hair will change our whole image!!
I’m not sure what it was that changed within me, but I remember getting back into the gym after a year’s hiatus and hitting a body pump class. It gave me a buzz that had me hooked straight away and the instructor was so motivational she made me believe in myself. ‘Champions weren’t born, they were made’ she used to say and it’s so true. Whilst some manage to maintain a naturally thin figure, most of us actually have to work hard for it.
Over the months as I saw my weights increase & my body size decrease, I started to gain more and more confidence. It felt amazing looking around the room and finding I was squatting more than the guys and nearly as much as my ripped instructor. This buzz motivated me to research weight lifting and I finally decided to give it a try on the gym floor. This was absolutely terrifying to me at first, but I’d made a commitment in my head and with my fiancé for support made the long walk to the free weights area and there was no looking back. I had finally found the drive I needed at the gym. No more slogging it away on treadmills or lifting tiny weights, and the best thing about it is I’ve stopped longing for the skinny lollipop look and instead just want to be STRONG (and then some more)! It’s no longer about just looking great in clothes but more about feeling healthy!
Along with this new style of training came a new style of eating (after all food is fuel). I now eat in order to realise my goals; to give me the energy I need to lift bigger in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from perfect and I’m prone to falling off the wagon but I can safely say I now enjoy the gym and most importantly, I enjoy life. My training gives me the freedom to eat more and I hardly ever feel hunger. I try to stick to a high protein diet with lots of complex carbs such as sweet potato and brown rice. It’s also important not to fear the fat! Healthy fats are important to the body; they help control hunger, promote a healthy metabolism and also carry a lot of good nutrients required by the body.
It’s great to hear of women like Daisy Lowe talking about their desire to be fit not thin. In her interview with the Sunday times magazine Style Daisy talks about having stopped the diets that led to her being miserable and weak and how she now focuses on being fit. She says,
‘I can dance for longer. I feel stronger, healthier, brighter and less stressed. I’m the most balanced I’ve ever been’.
I think that most of us can relate to her when she says diets made her miserable and feeling starved, I know I can hold my hand up to this. Style magazine are going to be introducing a team of top experts to advise and inspire their readers to get active this summer, and I for one believe this to be a worthwhile cause.
I can’t stand when I hear friends or even the women next to me on the train, talking about how they have started on their quest to get in shape for their next holiday two weeks before they jet off… this is NOT HEALTHY people, we only feel miserable for those two weeks and most of us even more miserable when we lose only a few pounds, to then put several more on whilst we are away. If we start to think of being strong and healthy as a lifestyle, eating a well-balanced diet and keeping fit with a mixture of weights & HIIT, we will be able to maintain our figures all year round, which means no fad starvation diets for that week’s special event or holiday.
I still have a long way to go myself and I am constantly finding out new things not only about the world of health & fitness but about my own body. I say find a way that works for you and one that also fits in with your lifestyle. If you focus on feeling & looking good on the inside, you’ll be surprised with how soon it’ll be reflected on the outside.
Hope you all have a healthy & happy week and if you are bored or stuck in a rut at the gym then go ahead and try something new (maybe even take that leap and venture to the weight room, I don’t think you’ll regret it!) x x