Tuesday night, as I was driving to the gym to teach a group fitness class, I saw a woman running. She had great form, she was red in the face, she was sweating and she was very clearly working hard. Now, when most people visualize or think of a runner, they automatically think of someone long, lean and muscular. This woman didn’t fit that description at all.
I refuse to use the word “fat”, “heavy” or “overweight” even – because in my opinion it’s A. Rude! and B. It stereotypes someone as being unfit or unhealthy when that may not be the case at all.
The woman I saw running didn’t have a stereotypical runners physique, she was voluptuous, and in my opinion she was beautiful. I literally smiled and said out loud, “I love it!” Because I did! Anytime I see someone running it motivates me and excites me. And as I sat at the red light waiting to take a left turn, the only thing I saw coming towards me was a woman running with fierce dedication who was strong, fit and unstoppable. She truly inspired me.
Then yesterday Women’s Running Magazine posted their August cover photo on Facebook and I practically lunged out of my seat with excitement. FINALLY! Someone on the cover of a fitness magazine, or any magazine for that matter, that isn’t air brushed into an unrealistic Barbie doll. I immediately shared the post on my own personal page because people, it’s frigging amazing. The woman on the cover is beautiful and strong, and I urge you all to go check it out, because I’m willing to bet you’ll agree.
I’ve written about running many times. I’ve told you all that in high school I couldn’t even run around a track once without seeing stars while draped over the wire gate that surrounded the football field. The coach told me not to return to track practice until I had, and I quote, “An inhaler and a doctors note.” Not encouraging. So it’s no surprise that back then I gave it up. I weighed a solid 25-30lbs more than than I do now. Fitness, running and weight management isn’t something that just comes easily or naturally to me. It’s something I have to continue to work hard at. If you asked me then to run a 5k or better yet a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face and said you were crazy. But fast forward to today and I’ve completed countless races, and I’ve literally fallen in love with it.
One of the things I learned in my training to become a group fitness instructor is that fitness comes in all shapes and sizes, and to never judge a persons level of fitness by their appearance. I know people who are twice the size of me that have run full marathons and completed iron mans. So I stress to you that it abso-frigging-lutely doesn’t matter how much someone weighs, or how small or big someone is, because fitness doesn’t have a size.
I’m motivated by anyone who gets up and moves. It doesn’t matter their level and it sure as shit doesn’t matter what their size is. In fact many times I’m most inspired by those who are just starting out in their fitness journey because I know exactly what it’s like to start from scratch.
I’m not the fastest runner, I’m not the fittest person, I’m not super skinny and I have cellulite on the back of my thighs that no matter how frigging hard I try to get rid of, I can’t. But I am strong, I am dedicated, and I genuinely love running and fitness. I don’t care to be best or the fastest or the skinniest. I just want to be the best I can be.
So to the woman I saw running Tuesday night, and to the woman on the cover of Women’s Running Magazine, thank you. You’ve inspired me and millions of other women in the world in more ways than one. Because you are the women that prove beauty and fitness comes in all shapes and sizes.