When it comes to trends in the “fitness” industry, I typically just take note and move on. 9 times out of 10, they don’t affect me or my life, but I do realize that they affect millions of women across the world, so it is something I pay attention to.
You’ve probably seen the latest story regarding Maria Kang (which actually has been floating around for sometime now). Maria put an image up on facebook after having three kids in less than three years.
In short, the argument is that she’s making everyone who is NOT in shape or who DIDN’T bounce back from kids feeling bad about themselves. Some are calling it fat shaming. Some are saying she’s a terrible mother. While I may be a little biased, I say good for her. I have a lot of thoughts on this…
But that’s not what this is about.
The other trends floating around are:
Strong is the new skinny
Strong is the new sexy
Fit is the new beautiful
Look, I get it. I really do. For those that have experienced what “strong” and “fit” has done for them, they are proud of their accomplishments and successes. I’m one of those people. Since the day I devoted myself to getting strong, I have been empowered and motivated to do things I never dreamed of doing. Do I believe that getting strong can be empowering for nearly every woman?? Yes. It’s something I’m very passionate about. I’ve worked with women that thought they just wanted to lose weight and “get in shape” and then little do they realize that it ends up being more than that. It ends up being about giving them confidence and passion for other areas of their lives.
But not every woman is going to fall in love with strength like I did. Not everyone is going to make getting stronger their daily passion. And I’ve been there before. I’ve compared myself to other women.
Look at her body/abs/butt/legs/hair/face.
She’s so successful. How does she do it?
Everyone seems to be drawn to her personality. What does she have that I don’t?
Yes, I’ve done that before. And sometimes it’s a struggle to NOT do it. But the last year has been a real eye opener for me. I’ve had mentors nudge me and guide me in directions that I never would’ve gone myself. I’ve learned that I’m not meant to be what someone else is. I’m not even meant to “follow the fitness trends” in hopes that business and fame and fortune and success would come my way. I am my own unique individual being. For me, it’s being a mother, wife, friend. It’s being strong and healthy and helping those that want that journey to do the same. It’s about wherever I am at in life, being proud of what I’ve done and accomplished. And when things don’t seem to be going so well, I step back and look at what I can learn from every situation. Because I am awesome.
Does that sound arrogant?
If it does, then you haven’t said it to yourself enough. I used to think I’d sound egotistical or selfish or like a jerk if I had a twinge of confidence. And I don’t mean confidence in your job or career, but in WHO YOU ARE. Someone once told me to listen to a podcast of myself… and then listen to it again. “Do you hear that?” they said. “That’s the sound of a confident woman. That woman is in there.”
From that day forward, I looked at things a little differently. When I hear myself on podcasts and interviews, I do sound confident. Because I’m talking about strength and fitness and things that I’m passionate about. But when it comes to ME and WHO I am, I fold. I crumble. I shrink in a corner. Why? Because if people saw that deep down I was really unsure and self-conscious of me as a person, they might think I was a fake, a fraud, a WEAK woman just putting on a front.
Since then, every day, I’ve surrounded myself with people who have played an integral part in helping ME find the confident woman within. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a struggle some days. But just like Stuart Smalley, the more I tell myself that I AM that person, I become that person. And not a specific job or title or something that you want to do, but certain qualities and characteristics that you want to own.
Because being who YOU are will allow you to reach whatever it is you want to do.
You want to be strong? Be persistent and dedicated.
You want to be fit? Be motivated beyond excuses.
You want to play the piano like Beethoven? Be consistent.
You want to start a business? Be driven.
The underlying theme behind all of these though…. CONFIDENCE. The confidence that you CAN do and be whatever you want. For me, it’s overcoming the fear of failure. THAT’S the reason I did the physique shows. THAT’S the reason I’m going through some career changes. Because I’ve finally developed the confidence to do it. It’s a daily thing. Every. Damn. Day.
Maria Kang is not saying that every mom needs to look like that. She’s not saying that you have to be a size 2 or do 50 pushups. What she’s saying is IF you want that, you can do it. What we see too often is women making the excuse that they can’t because:
They aren’t a personal trainer and don’t spend their lives in a gym
They don’t have a nanny to take care of the house work so they can go out and do whatever they want
They are a single parent with two jobs and buying fresh food is more expensive than eating out
I love the taglines in the industry… I really do. But they only embody a little of what needs to be portrayed. Being strong and healthy is on the top of my list and I know what it’s done for me in my life and I will do anything I can to help others feel what I’ve felt. But no matter what you do, what you look like, what your hobby is, what your passion is…. be YOU. Be CONFIDENT. Be freaking AWESOME.
Easier said than done… I know. I’m still working at it. But the more you tell yourself and the more your surround yourself with like-minded people… you’ll feel such a sense of overwhelming peace and joy knowing that you are YOU and you don’t have to be like anyone else.