Posted on June 10 2016
Blog written by Francis Elaine
We are often told to take pride in our body and appreciate our sense of self. In a time of social media overload, the growing need for excess validation has overshadowed the most important reason for fitness—self improvement. At least for me it has. When we start to see a baby ab push its way forward, for example, we often take to Instagram and flex for our fans, even if these fans are strangers. I know I’m guilty of wanting to be a part of this overwhelming and, at times, all-consuming fitness frenzy. I’ve always been quick to post a story on Snapchat that, for 10 seconds, shows the world my running shoes, open pavement and sunny skies. Because yeah, I wanted people to know I was working out. Perception is everything. Though I admit this reluctantly, I signed the Fit and Thick 3-month contract for superficial reasons. I wanted the world to see my thinning waist and growing quads. I wanted a whole new body—one that could compete with those flaunted on social media. I learned quickly, however, that Fit and Thick would be far more than a fitness class. It would be my moment of empowerment.
Despite all of the body-posi movements over the years, I’ve always felt ashamed of my legs. My thighs stop most pants from wrapping around my waist, and my calves have never felt sculpted enough for shorts. Consequently, I became a pro at hiding my biggest insecurity behind maxi skirts and aladdin pants.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that one month into my F+T experience I’m 100% comfortable with my body. That would be a lie. But, I have realized that this is the very reason for this movement—to recognize your body type, learn its most realistic target areas, and work the hell out of them. It’s about setting goals that are not so far-fetched that trying to reach them feels as frustrating as it does impossible. Now, I study my body in the mirror, learn its bottom heavy curves and recognize what I can and can’t do for them. Now, I work just as hard to train my mind as I do my body. And it’s an incredibly uplifting feeling.
Having religiously attended as many classes as I could for the past four weeks, I’ve noticed, day by day, a minimal change in my physique and a momentous change in my state of mind. I’ve always been a sucker for quick results, but circuit training especially has given me a whole new perspective on the importance of consistency and patience in what is sure to be a long and rewarding journey. It’s proved to be a form of conditioning that has developed not only my strength, but also my endurance. My instructors push me to have more faith in my ability and add that extra plate onto my barbell even if it means I breathe a little harder and sweat a little more. With their help, I attack workouts I previously avoided in fear. With their encouragement, I can feel the muscles tightening beneath my skin as I walk tall with greater confidence.
One month in, I’m starting to work out for me instead of others. It’s become less about the validation and more about the personal reward. I’m improving my lifestyle holistically instead of focusing on my followers, and it’s only just the beginning.