“Empower yourself to enjoy living in your body and take pride in your achievements.” This quote is on the front page of my gym’s new page SexySmartStrong. I love that it’s not focussed on using fitness to make myself sexy for somebody else’s enjoyment. It’s about my enjoyment and doing something I love. In opposition to a landscape of disempowering images promoted as fitness motivation, GoodLife Fitness is continuing its path in declaring itself a safe place for our friends “Moderation” and “Self-Respect”.
Sexy is supposed to be a compliment. When it’s used to shame people into fitness, it’s oppressive. The gym isn’t a dental office, it’s a playground. I’m not going to go because someone tells me I have plaque, I’m going to go because there’s really cool equipment and I can play. That’s why conventional fitspo is bad advertising. It skews public perception of what fitness is about. It gets it all wrong and it turns people off because they think it’s not for them.
My gym takes a different approach. “Sexy is about feeling at home in your body and being comfortable with who you are, smart is about having a great energy and staying in-tune with how you live your life, Strong is about being your best self and giving it your all, every day.” Note that it says nothing about visible abdominal muscles. That doesn’t mean they aren’t sexy, but it does mean you can be sexy without them. It says sexy is an attitude, not an evaluation against arbitrary criteria that supports an unrealistic ideal. My shiny red key tag is my citizenship in a space that promotes these values and how could that not inspire an overwhelming amount of patriotism? This message is about reaching my goals, not the goals other people think I should have.
My goal is not about getting the body some man is going to love. That body came standard, with my brainy words, my Sahara dry sense of humour and my ability to turn being trapped in an airport into an exciting adventure (more on that another day, but it’s a great story). I use the gym to enhance and enjoy my existing awesome and have fun. I’m not saying aesthetic goals are invalid. Whatever gets you moving, makes you feel good and inspires you to fuel your body to a level that’s appropriate for the level of activity you are planning to undertake is perfectly valid. What I am saying is that I fully endorse a philosophy of sexy that is inclusive, free of shame, which says all bodies are good bodies and all bodies are welcome.
I struggled for a lot of years to feel at home in my body. “How do I want to live my life?” is something I ask constantly because I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I believe in giving it my all every day. This definition works for me. I’m SexySmartStrong enough to say no to negative messaging and yes to turning the house of my body into a home.
“This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program,
however all opinions expressed are my own”