The Narrative Of Fitness For Women Needs To Go Beyond Weight Loss
"Eat clean to stay fit; have a burger to stay sane." - Gigi Hadid
Growing up, I saw my male friends hitting the gym as a part of their teenage routine, something that’s a given in the boy-to-man secret handbook, just like playing video games or watching football. But what I didn’t see was girls rushing to join the CrossFit party. It’s only when an occasion is approaching, or one too many relatives are making ‘chubby’ jokes at gatherings do women decide to take the fitness route. Of course, there are exceptions – girls who are athletic as kids and take up sports as a passion, but that ratio is far minimal compared to the former observation.
The question here is, why is there a giant contradiction between the two genders when it comes to approaching fitness? For the ladies, it’s often etched with a vanity purpose and not so much about getting stronger or fitter. Fitness Consultant and Personal Trainer (formerly at Cure Fitness) Zaid Palla shares his two cents on the subject. ” It starts from the time girls and boys hit puberty. While the boys continue to go out and about and participate in sports and athletics, girls are suddenly asked to not play too much in the sun or take up too many activities. While times are changing now and so are perceptions, but back then, when girls were supposed to develop this relationship with the great outdoors, they were burdened with insecurities about body image and hormonal changes. Once they grow up, between education and career, fitness takes a backseat.”
It’s about time this narrative is changed for good. For starters, here’s what you can do.
Shift Your Mindset
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It doesn’t matter what the numbers on the scale show; fitness needs to be a part of your routine. Appearances can be deceptive; focus on building strength, energy and stamina. Healthy or not isn’t defined by the sizing of your clothes; it’s a reflection of your lifestyle. Start slow, but start somewhere. Take up easy activities that you enjoy doing, which also involves movement. Keep 30 minutes of your day dedicated to your physical health by looking at the larger picture. Whether you’re on the leaner side or the larger side, the rules don’t change. Especially in times like today, it’s your fitness and immunity that is your prized possession.
Personally, it took me a while to look at fitness from a holistic approach instead of thinking of it as a concentration camp. I went from torturing my body with 40 minutes of cardio and two workout classes in a day to listening to my body and finding a balance between eating clean and sweating it out in moderation. Weight loss for me is a by-product now, not the ultimate journey.
Become Your Own Version Of Healthy
The social media and photoshop culture has convinced young girls that stretch marks, cellulite and that little pouch on your stomach that helps hold your organs is uncool. Contrary to this popular opinion, not only are these things natural and healthy, they have very little to do with your outer beauty. Embrace every curve, edge and bump without polishing it all. You can love your body even while continuously working on it. Celebrate the little milestones in your fitness journey, as there is no destination when it comes to this. Has the change in your habit fixed your relationship with food? Has it improved your sleep cycle and skin? These are the indications that you are doing it correctly. No shortcuts, immediate fads and miracle diets are going to be sustainable in the long run.
Train To Learn A Skill
“I always tell all my clients, especially women, to find your inner child and let go of all the inhibitions. Kids don’t have a care in the world – they will climb a tree, hang on a bar and use their energy to the maximum. This is exactly how the ladies need to approach the subject of fitness. Whether you go to a gym or play a sport, focus on honing a skill and training for it, you will find your body changing naturally. Take the concept of weight loss out of the equation, and you will free yourself from the societal pressure and then see the results; it will make all the difference,” the fitness coach shared.
If running on a treadmill fills you with existential dread, you need to stop! This isn’t working out for you. Find something that you actually love to do or want to learn; it is never too late. Ride that bicycle again. Pick up that racket you were almost a pro with. A sport that intrigued you go ahead and learn it. Weight training is what interests you, find a coach and get to it. Does Pilates feel like your jam? You can now learn it at home. A dance form you secretly wished you knew? Congratulations, the internet now teaches them all.
The idea is for you to find your calling. Don’t just follow the herd and get on board with the next fancy trend. Go back to the basics. Think of it as playtime instead of punishment. Find your crew, or go solo, but make this a priority and not a burden. Eventually, the way you look will become an additional bonus for the way you made yourself feel.