The Sparkle Coach: Fitness fits all shapes and sizes so learn to let go of loathing your body
Gymwear is not normally seen on the catwalk nor is it modeled by a range of body types but our obsession with images depicting body sizes actually prevents more people than ever from beginning their fitness journey.
You may feel ‘too fat’ or ‘too skinny’ to leave the house following lockdown let alone be able to attend a local fitness class, gym, or sports club and not know where to even begin online.
But when the opening spoken word artist at the catwalk talks about how we are often shamed as being ‘too fat or skinny’ I find myself nodding profusely as so many of us are judged on our size or weight by others and eventually ourselves with conflicting messages throughout time from ‘strong is the new skinny’ to ‘lose weight in 10 days’ or ‘banish the bulge.’
Men and women alike are fed such images, but instead of avoiding exercise or neglecting your health because size, weight, and BMI are NOT clear indicators, here’s what I have learned to get ‘back on track’ or how to begin your mind and body fitness journey:
1. Take small steps in order to be able to stride with pride like the activewear models at the Met Gala fashion show who are real women who worked with West Yorkshire life coach and organiser Carron Cummings in the months prior. So quite literally start walking before you try to run (or you could try fartlek training) but it is mind over matter. This show also made me reflect on the power of joining online or offline community groups to get active and what to wear.
2. Find a walking group or sports club: There are lots of free groups across Yorkshire. In Wakefield where I live the council has walking groups across the district from Nordic Walking to child-friendly trails, check out Wakefield Wellbeing and Experience Wakefield because there are so many gems you may not have heard of. Sports clubs in your local area tend to have activities on too, we try to share lots on https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk
3. Activewear that fits your body and style: Having the correct gear can inspire you to move more throughout the day and give you some confidence to attend a new class or group. Workout with Wake and EL Obsession all have fab mantras and clothes. Wake Bespoke also makes tailor-made gear for those who don’t fit the off-the-shelf active gear range.
4. Find a friendly activity hub that suits you. From specialist workshops at The Sanctuary Health and Wellbeing to free table tennis and the ArtWalk at The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield.
5. If in person, doesn’t work for you then there are a number of online fitness communities from Women’s World of Wellbeing (formerly Squats and Sparkles) and for men https://getleanonline.co.uk
6. Listen to your body and discover what you need and enjoy from Yoga, Qi Gong, Burlesque, and bellydance (what I’ve trained in as well as fitness) to weight lifting at home or in the gym and Zumba Strong online or offline.
Sadly those less well versed in the pros and cons of our professional-personal blurred world of fitness stereotypes, has been a place of depletion along with the relative impact of the pandemic on individuals. It is important to not just genuinely join together to evolve but also to start viewing our own minds and bodies as one.
I have noticed an increasing appetite to fragment our minds and bodies into ‘parts’ where we have become increasingly fragmented about ‘hang-ups.’
From a need for more people embracing their bodies and going from the previous status quo of ‘size zero’ models vibe for women specifically. I myself at times have been swept up by this ‘anti-institutional vibe' which was needed for a shift in order to present a range of ‘body types’ in the media - but now we are in danger of demonising many of our bodies from whatever you class as a ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy figure.’
Whilst we cannot control infections or our bodies per se, what is in our power is to make the connection within ourselves and acquire the knowledge (I too have learned the hard way), that photos, body types, and our own perceptions need not focus on one data point showcasing an array of purely aesthetic stories.
Whereas our minds and bodies are internal memories and sketches of maps for aspects of our lives as we evolve like nature. Let’s move to a world of wellbeing, optimal health; mind, and body neutrality. It may not sound as ‘sexy’ as other fads or headlines but even if I have to change the name each time so it’s more appealing!
None of us get the balance right all of the time but ignore everyone else and begin within. Only then can we be the true masters of our own lives rather than letting society, culture, and our world of excess take control, making us feel in a deprived state of never ‘being enough.’
Our bodies are perfect in their own unique way, our weight, size, or appearance online or offline does not define us as humans. If others judge us, all they do is show they are judging themselves as I tell women I teach bellydance to and soon yoga, that everybody is a perfect body so dance, train and move in your own unique way.
Regardless of age, size, shape, gender, hang-ups - we should celebrate being alive and strut out of this pandemic as if we are all on a metaphorical catwalk (or physical!).