Vanity

The gym has had and always will have the vanity aspect. I am not saying that it’s wrong for wanting to look a certain way, I am only bringing light to how it can cause harm if you don’t have the right “why” behind it.

I used to workout only because I wanted to look a certain way- think of all the Instagram models and celebrity trainers six packs, zero fat, and somehow always smiling while they eat salads. I used to be a slave to the mirror and was never nice to myself. I always wanted to “become fit” instead of accepting that I already was my own version, I just needed some strength and muscle to be healthy. I would work out for two to three hours a day, plus an hour of cardio, obsessively meal prep, and guess what? I still wasn’t happy with how I looked, and I was not healthy at all! I would get sick often, I ended up having multiple severe injuries from activities outside of the gym, and my digestion was unable to function properly. My hormones got out of whack, my brain was in a constant state of fog (except for the belittling thoughts I used to tell myself all hours of the day,) but I needed to look that way. And why?! So other people might notice I have abs? How? I would never wear anything to show that, and don’t really like attention in general. Since I am stubborn, it took years of all of the red flags and major events to finally sink in, and unfortunately it took me years to fix everything I had done to my body, even though my brain was ready to be better. I am no longer willing to sacrifice my health or life just so I have no fat on my arms and stomach (fun fact: spot reduction isn’t a thing.) I am no longer willing to alienate relationships by obsessing over how I look. I like how I look- strong, happy, and healthy.

Life has too much potential to worry about what others think of your body. You have cellulite? I guarantee nobody notices or cares. You used to weigh #130 in high school and now you’re closer to #180, most people won’t know or care how much you weigh. The people that add value to your life will not care about appearance, but will care about you and keeping you around as long as possible. They will care that you can go out to eat with them, or go on kayaking adventures sometimes! Why miss out on things you enjoy because you fear what others think of your physical appearance? I am definitely guilty of this, even now. There are certain clothes in my closet that I second guess wearing because I don’t have a “6 pack,” and all trainers should, right? No. Some do, some don’t, and that’s great for them either way.

Be as vain as you want, but try to have balance. I work my shoulders often because I want them bigger, but I am not willing to sacrifice neck pain or migraines from overworking them. Find your balance, and make sure that it’s what YOU want. Think about why you want to look that way. Is it for you? Is it for someone else? Is it because a magazine said it’s “in” to look a certain way. Next time you start to think about someone else’s looks, good or bad, first think about why you care? Maybe think about what they want in life, and how their body allows them to do that. We should all just try to be our best selves and live our best lives. Let’s support others in doing so as well, and sometimes that even if means just keeping your mouth shut. Even compliments on physical appearance can lead to negative thoughts for some. It’s not a fault that we have been conditioned to value physical appearance, but let’s add some compliments and value to function as well. I’ll have a blog soon about different ways to compliment someone if you notice them changing- spoiler- comment on what they can do now instead of how they look. 😉

Thanks for reading, now go out and O.W.N. your day!

-Shea

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