Why it bugs me when people say “Looks like your workout program is working”
There have been a few times lately that I have heard men comment on women, perhaps as a pick up line (who knows) about how it looks like their efforts in the gym are paying off.
I am assuming they are essentially saying “you have a nice body”.
Personally, I get worked up over this for two reasons.
#1: There are so many freaking amazing reasons to exercise, yet I am pretty sure 95 % of people exercise to ‘slim down’, ‘tone up’ and get ‘bikini body ready’. This is great! I think everyone should be happy with how they look, and decreasing body fat to a certain degree is important for so many reasons (emotionally and physically). But I find it depressing that so many people drag their butts to the gym regularly for the sole person of staying slim and trim. What about that endorphin boost you get when you are done, where you feel energized and ready to take over the world? What about the feeling of being stronger, more fit, an able to do day to day activities with ease? What about knowing that you can go climb any mountain, hike any path, try any sport because you have taken care of your body? What about the fact that you are essentially putting yourself at MUCH less risk of so many diseases, including heart disease, Diabetes, cancers, and Osteoporosis. I mean preventing Osteoporosis alone is enough reason for women to be going to the gym. You don’t hear people saying “Looks like your workouts are paying off BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT SUPER STRONG BONES THAT WON’T BREAK WHEN YOUR 60!”. What about “Good for you for exercising and ensuring your independent living for longer. It all sounds funny right, because people don’t acknowledge out loud how important activity is for so many reasons besides having a skinny body!
#2: The two particular instances in which this happened I actually let out a little laugh. The reason being, these two individuals, who are both lovely people, perform the most ridiculous workout routine I have ever seen before. Exercises that physiologically and biomechanically make no sense to benefit the human body. They have no functional carry over to every day life, they aren’t building any muscle, they are working movement patterns and muscles that are in fact probably more harmful than beneficial. (Yes, I should probably jump in there and give them a hand). I guess this just means a little more education to people about how and why to exercise properly. One of my favourite lines I challenge myself with, and encourage my clients to ask me is “why are we doing this exercise”.
I think the reason why I decided to post about this today is because I love celebrating all the amazing things exercise can do for our body outside of controlling our weight. When I hear things like “I have been so much happier since I started training with you”, or “ My neck and shoulders haven’t felt so loose and pain free in years” etc. I get so freaking happy that exercise is helping people live healthier, happier, lives. I would love to hear people talking about that more, and less about how they have to “hit the gym” because they had a “big weekend”.
It is also a lot easier to stay motivated on your gym routine if you have over a handful of reasons to stay committed.
I guess another part of me wants people to take some focus away from body image, and on to something else! I feel like with so much in the media about distorted body images being sent to young adults, classes of grade 4 girls who are all on a diet, and a trillion dollar diet industry, there is so much pressure and emphasis on looking a certain way. Do we have the power to change some of this by focusing our comments on something less body image focused? When you see a friend who has lost a few pounds, commenting on how “radiant and happy she looks”. Or someone you’ve seen at the gym starting a weight training program, “good for you for committing and staying dedicated to your new program”. There are so many ways we can value each other as people outside of how slim and trim we are!
And I believe this is another reason why my business is named Optimal Health Coaching, because of my passion for HEALTH! Going to the gym and doing crazy ineffective routines, yet staying slim, is not contusive to health!
What do you think about it? Would you get as worked up as me?