When I first made the decision to train as a PT, I remember one female friend’s response: “Why? So you can make women feel even worse about their bodies?!"
Clearly the answer is no, absolutely not! But her comment has stuck with me ever since. Is this a common perception of fitness by women? It really saddens me to think there are women out there who’s view of fitness is how it enslaves them to the idea of ‘body perfection’ and all the rubbish women endure from the media about the perfect female figure, the rush to lose baby weight, the constant pressure to be forever youthful and pretend like your body has not lived, aged and often produced little people!
So, in starting up my own business in women’s fitness I wanted to make sure a “safe space” was offered. I want no part in body shaming. I don’t want women to be intimidated by fitness and use it as a tool to try to conform with how the media says our bodies should look. Of course we all want to look great, but we all have different ideas of what this means.
Fitness is about so much more than a six pack and being a size 8. For me it’s about health, wellness and fun! I want women to be confident in their bodies, I want their bodies to work for them and all the demands that modern life places on them as they juggle motherhood, careers and relationships. I want women to understand the value of nutrition in helping them lead happy, healthy lives – not just from a weight loss perspective, but also from a health and healing perspective – especially those women who are recently post natal.
I want women to respect their bodies as they exercise and have a greater education about how it works. In particular I want women to be open and honest about pelvic floor and core dysfunction and take charge of doing something about it, instead of buying into the normalisation the media attributes to it. It might be common, but it is never normal!
I realise there are a lot of “I wants” in there and I’m always telling my kids “I want, never gets” - but hey, I really do want this for my clients and for my two girls as they grow up in a world where female body image is troubling.
In short, exercise should be about anything but making you feel worse about your body by using it to conform to unrealistic expectations of what a woman should look like. Exercise should be liberating. It leaves you free as you take time for yourself, learn more about your body, challenge yourself, maybe meet new people... and most certainly you should be having fun doing it!