Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring Fitness and Body Image

As it gets closer and closer to June, I can’t help but notice my bathing suits glaring at me from within my dresser drawer. Yes, the dreaded bathing suit season. It always seems to creep up on me so quickly and I feel like I never have enough time to prepare! All those delish winter comfort meals and April birthday cocktail parties tend to leave me with a bit of extra padding, and leave my bathing suits feeling a teensy bit tighter than last summer.

So, I guess its time to gather myself and get going on my fitness routine. February, March, and April were so busy with work and travel that I started to find it difficult to source the time for working out. But, I’ve got to say, i’ve been missing my regular dose of workout endorphins. Plus, with all the pinning on pinterest I’ve been doing I’ve been slowly getting more and more motivated to get back to the gym.

That meme speaks the truth. Seriously, pinterest has secret powers to help me waste more time than even Facebook.

So this week, I decided to slowly but surely rise from my desk chair, and start to put all my fitness pins on Pinterest to use. I did a few home exercises during my favorite TV shows, or while blasting some fab tunes. But I have to admit, i’ve always had a problem where I get easily bored while working out. The home workout thing is great sometimes but I really need to mix things up in order to get the most out of a workout plan. So a day or two a week I might run in the mornings, another day (usually during Thursday night tv) I’ll do home workouts.

Lately I’ve also been trying some new, more exciting workout options. I’ve started cross fit. And ladies, I have to tell you, it’s a surefire way to feel like a total badass. It’s awesome and completely empowering. I never realized how powerful I could be until I started crossfit training.

Why thank you Ryan.

No, but seriously, if you’re looking for a more intense workout try crossfit. And even better, do it with a friend! You’ll motivate each other, and you’ll feel less shy or intimidated in the beginning.

A few other fun options are of course:

-       Dance classes. For the more coordinated of us, this is a great (and super fun) option. Maybe you took ballet or jazz 10 years back and would love to get back into shape (and maybe even improve your flexibility!). Dance isn’t just for kids or teenagers. Various studios in most cities have great adult dance programs. And even better, some studios are actually solely dedicated to adult dance. Literally just do a little googling and you’re sure to find something. I did a jazz class once a week in January and February, and I’ve got to say it was a great experience. I felt like I was getting a workout, but it also improved my coordination (um, totally klutz over here), and even added an extra strut in my step throughout my day – a total self esteem booster!

My plan for this summer is to try all these cool fitness classes:

- Pole Dancing: This had been on my bucket list for so long. It’s hugely popular in Toronto right now and I’m definitely dragging a few of my girlfriends out to one of these with me.

- Aerial yoga: So excited to try this new fitness craze. I like to think of it as extreme yoga. Yoga, upside down, in the air, while hanging in fabric anchored to the ceiling. Sounds wicked, I know. I’ve always wanted to try silks (think cirque de soleil) so this will be my first foray into reaching for that ultimate goal one day.
Image from pinterest

While I go about all my new fitness plans, I usually try to create some sort of goal for myself. But I’m not all about the number on the scale, and even what measurements I am. And I definitely don’t trust what I see in the mirror, so I usually try to judge my progress by an improvement in energy levels, amount of weight I can lift, and an overall atmosphere of just “feeling great about myself.” Those things are hard to quantify though, and the mirror can sometimes taunt you.

Have ever you looked in a mirror and wondered if that’s what you actually looked like? Then maybe, especially before an important night out, you’ve had a friend take a photo of you in your outfit, because you don’t trust what the mirror tells you? This is actually incredibly common, so don’t worry you’re not a weirdo! Us girls (and guys too!) seem to always doubt our own perception of what out body looks like. I found this incredibly interesting article about this exact phenomenon.

Apparently, an incredibly high percentage (we’re talking over 90%) of women overestimate the size of their bodies. So a website called “My Body Gallery” was created with the intent of giving women a sample of what “real” bodies look like. Women around the world upload an image of themselves (with faces blacked out usually) and insert their height, weight, and pant size. Then, when a visitor comes and types in their own height, weight, and pant size into the search engine all these images of women with unique and diverse body shapes will come up who fit those measurements.

I have mixed feelings about this website. I think it’s potentially beneficial for women to look at “real” bodies to gauge their size rather than those photoshoped images we find in magazines. But I also think the whole atmosphere of comparison is a bit problematic in and of itself. Does it just promote more body hate and competition between women? Who knows. I think it’s incredibly subjective to the individual using the website.

What do you guys think about it? How do you gauge your fitness goals? And suggestions for how to get fit, the healthy and fun way this spring and summer?

And for a little extra treat, don't forget to check out our May super sale this week! Some amazing products at prices so ridiculous low you'll think you're being Punked

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