Trainer Talk: “Skinny” Isn’t A Fitness Goal

As a personal trainer, women stand before me on a daily basis. Each one has their own issues of self esteem, body image, relationships, stressors, and fitness goals.

Though each woman’s personal goals and challenges may differ, their initial assessments, including weigh-ins and body measurements tend to be rough experiences. 

It’s like lying on the examining table in the doctors office for the annual visit. The only thing on our minds is the report, the measurable statistics and tests that define what type of women we are.

This is what it’s like at the beginning a weight loss or fitness program: we look to the number on the scale, the sum of the girth measurements and the percentage of body fat. We allow these numbers to define us. The reality is that the lower the number, the happier we are. If our reflection is small enough, the happier we are. The less space we take up, smaller size we wear: the happier we are. 

It always amazes me how apologetic women can be about not their health, but their size. Health be damned, starvation diets, eating disorders, exercise addiction, we will take all those on not to change our health, but our size. We want to approve of what we see in the mirror. We want to reflect well.

I have clients that are strong, healthy and active. They complete adventure races, 5K’s, half marathons and marathons. It is rare that these amazing achievements are enough. Strong and capable are not enough. They want skinny. 

Despite comprehensive measures in training coaching, educating, the result is the same: I want to weigh less. It makes me doubt my decades of experience in fitness. Any educated trainer knows, body weight is not the sole indicator of health. I look around blinded by the social mirrors. Skinny is inescapable. The images all around us in magazines, on television, on the newsstands all have one thing in common; they all celebrate and applaud smallness.

But here’s the secret. Focusing on “skinny” won’t ever lead to fitness goals. It may lead to a few months at a lowered weight, but your body will be deprived of vital nutrients. Strength from the inside out is what will help you acheive your goals. Here are 5 tips to staying focused on your fitness:

  1. Complete total body workouts. Don’t just focus on problem areas, workout all areas of your body to increase your overall fitness.
  2. Focus on your health. Give your body the nutrients it needs. Eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids.
  3. Acknowledge your strengths. Know what you’re good at and what’s working. Continue to work on the areas that aren’t.
  4. Respect your obstacles. Don’t get discouraged too easily, learn from your mistakes and move forward.
  5. Face your challenges. Don’t be afraid of failure. Give each workout everything you have, and know that challenges won’t be accomplished overnight.

Embrace who you are. Are you the best you can be inside and out? If not, then make create a  plan to be who and how you want to be.

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