Body Confidence and the Playboy Model Gym Shaming Incident
Fair warning: this blog post below contains NSFW language.
I feel compelled to speak about this on behalf of every female client I’ve ever worked with, every female friend I have ever had, and every woman on this planet in general.
I will not give the woman who did this piece of shit action any more PR or airtime personally. Instead of commenting on how despicable, idiotic and shallow this playboy model is for going public with her body shaming comments, I want to instead reassure every woman that this one woman does not in any way represent any bit of the fitness community that I know.
I want to focus this post on the women who read about this incident and felt their fear of being in the gym or working out in a public place intensify. The women who see this incident as proof that their fear of being judged for being in a gym while not at their fittest is real.
I have been in this industry working for 8 years, and around it for about 10, and I can promise you this: 99 percent of the people you see in the gym who you consider to be in shape are not naturally fit. These people have to work at it just like you do and every single one had to start somewhere. They have all at some point been at that place where the road to your fitness goal (no matter what it is) seems so far away that you are overwhelmed and depressed with how hard the work and how long the process will be.
99 percent of the people who happen to look at you during your workout I PROMISE are doing nothing more than acknowledging in their head the hard work that you’re doing there. They may be checking out what exercise you’re doing because it looks new or interesting to them. They may just be giving you a silent kudos for getting in there and putting in the work because they too know how hard it is to motivate yourself to go workout. Shit, they may, in fact, be checking you out good looking!
I know that this can be hard to believe when you are feeling less than your best version of yourself. I assure you though, this is the absolute truth. PLEASE do not let the actions of one (seriously self conscious and unhappy) person make you believe otherwise.
I know first hand how deep body confidence can affect a person. I’ve seen how it affects the lives and moods of my clients, friends and of course myself too. This is not a silly joke as the ignorance of this woman portrays it. We all have things about ourselves we wish we could change. Every single one of us, myself definitely included.
What’s funny to me is that often what we dislike about ourselves are the very things that other people admire! I’ve heard my personal training clients complain about their hips and my reply was, gosh I’d love to have a little more curve in my hips! My torso is straight up and down and a little more curve would make me feel more feminine. I’m jealous of your gorgeous hips ladies! Or I wish that any weight loss or weight gain would pretty please for once leave a little extra in my right boob to even them out!!!
For all of my body hang ups though I try really hard to never dwell on them because its pointless. I want to focus on loving my body for what it CAN DO. Yeah, maybe my boobs will always be a little uneven, but hey, at least I love their shape. My legs may not be as strong as I’d like but Im grateful for the tone and the little tush that I do have because I know how hard I work for that.
Instead of being embarrassed by my ridiculous running tan lines I’m proud of what they stand for: hard, consistent work and determination.
I want to remind everyone reading this that we have a choice when it comes to how we view ourselves and our bodies. Only we are allowed to make that choice. Drown out anyone else’s negative opinions, they’re BS. We can either be miserable with every little thought of something we don’t like about our bodies, depressed at how much we have to struggle and sacrifice to reach our goals, and wish that our bodies were the perfect image of what we would like them to be. OR. We can CHOOSE to say, I am a magical fucking work in progress and the fact that I am putting in the work to treat my body well with exercise and good food is BEAUTIFUL in and of itself, regardless of how far along I am in my journey.
Just so you know, I will always be glancing in your direction when you’re working out near me. I can promise you it will never be for taking a picture or in judgment. It will always be in admiration for the hard work and the effort you are putting in. For the fact that you overcame a long stressful day, a growling stomach, the fact that you only packed one sock, lack of motivation, feeling self conscious in your workout clothes, and YOU STILL MADE IT THROUGH YOUR WORKOUT BABY!
Here is my request for every single one of you who are reading this post:
YOU DO YOU. GO KICK ASS. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK FOR GETTING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, PUTTING IN THE HARD WORK AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE FUCKING FABULOUS AND BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING.
And know in your head that this journey enables you to one day be the person that looks at someone else in the gym and gives them a kudos back because you know what having to start at the beginning of that journey looks like first hand.