‘Fitspiration’ Reality Check by Kate

We see a lot of our friends post pictures of themselves in workout clothes on Facebook and Instagram and what not, with ripped abs and skinny figures with some inspirational quote about how good God is or about how much they love kale or how nothing tastes as good as being in shape feels or about shaming you for sitting on your phone looking at fitspiration photos.  It doesn’t always feel great to see those posts when I’m sitting on my couch in a robe, stuffing an entire box of Oreo’s in my face, while on my seventh hour of binge watching Netflix.

Two things about this:

  1. Our friends should be able to post good things about themselves.  And we should be able to be genuinely happy for those friends.  We women tend to compare ourselves to other women, making us feel jealous towards them and poorly about ourselves.  This shouldn’t be the case.  We should be able to be supportive for our sisters and content with our current situations, too, even if they differ drastically.  For example – I’m taking a pole dancing class.  I’m on Level 4, but unlike many other women in the class, I have no history of ballet or gymnastics or flexibility. Period.  I can’t even touch my toes.  There are a lot of things we are taught in class that many women grasp right away, but it takes me weeks, if not MONTHS, to get there.  I have learned to be gentle and patient with myself, while being a cheerleader and supporter for the other women in my class.  It not only makes them feel good, but it makes me feel good.  What’s even better?  When I finally achieve goals that I’ve been working on, these women are my cheerleaders and support me back.  It’s all about the sisterhood.
  2. Comparing ourselves to others is really unhealthy.  If you’re looking to compare, compare yourself now to yourself in the past.  That’s what truly matters.  It’s way too easy to alter photos now with good angles, good lighting, filters, Photoshop, cropping, etc, etc, etc.  Why are we comparing our day-to-day selves with other people’s best photo that they took of themselves (a photo they realistically took like 20 times and finally got the shot they wanted)? That’s not fair to us at all.

I’ll use myself for an example.

I really like this picture of me.  I look fit and happy.  I also took this photo three times, the lighting is great because I’m right by a window and I stood in such a way that the line on my abs would show, I have my shorts pulled up over my poochie belly, it’s in a mirror – so technically all my features are flipped, I’m sucking-in a little and flexing my abs, and I have the camera at a higher angle so my extra chin skin can’t be seen.

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But let’s be real – this is what I look like when I’m sitting down.  Now it could be said that I altered this one with lighting and angle and what not – but I only took this picture once, with my dominant hand, and I sat in a relaxed position.

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My point?  It’s all about the angles, the lighting, and how one wears their clothing.  I try not to compare myself to others online – because no one posts an unflattering picture of themselves (unless they are trying to make a point).  Honestly, what helped me curb my comparing is by taking really flattering photos of myself.  Then, when I am looking at other people’s best photos of themselves, I think of my best photos of myself and think to myself, “I’m pretty damn sexy, self.”

And then I pat myself on the shoulder for being nice and patient with me. :)

(That was a lot of “self’s.”)

Self-Love: Pole Dancing Edition

Taking pole dancing/fitness lessons has been the single most important self-love act that I have done for myself in my twenties.  Not only has it been a confidence booster concerning my sexiness and self esteem, but I’ve also slimmed down, gained and toned muscle, gained ab definition, strengthened my Kegel muscles, and increased my flexibility.  I attend Miss Pole dance studio in Madison, Wisconsin, and I have so many good things to say about it.  The instructors are great, the classes are affordable, and the students are supportive, caring, and wonderful accountability partners. Check out their site if you happen to be in the Southern part of Wisconsin.

https://www.misspole.com/

Here’s a little taste of what I could do during Pole Level 2.

Pole 2

I took a step up and did a sit.  My thigh skin is holding me up there – it’s all about conditioning!

Current Goals

  • Touch my toes.
  • Do three reach aboves in a row.
  • Tighten my “Drama Queen.”
  • Do the Flag.
  • Back swing with Right arm.
  • Barrel of Monkeys.
  • One-handed back swing.
  • Rockstar.

I have so many goals in pole – and I reach about one a week.  This makes me feel great.

Having a pole in the middle of my living room is helpful, but so is having the ambition to actually use it.

Here’s some home pole shots:

Pole 3 On the left is the Barrel of Monkeys I mentioned, a Pole 3 move.  I can hold it like this.  The trick is being able to do this in a spin.  I’ll get there.

Invert

This is my invert!  Another Pole 3 move.  Now, going from here is where things get tricky for me.  The move I’m trying to get down is hooking my top knee on the pole and reaching up above it with my right hand.  This is the reach above.  From here I could go into a rock star, stand straight up, and sooo many other things! But first, I need to get this down.  I’ll get there. =)

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in pole is TO BE PATIENT WITH MYSELF.  I was always the Type A perfectionist who wouldn’t do something unless she could do it correctly and efficiently the first time.  Luckily, college happened, I learned I wasn’t the smartest person in the world, and I slowly grew out of this mentality.  Now, I have patience with myself.  I am kind to myself.  I know I’ll eventually get these moves down.  It’ll happen.  Maybe not as quickly as I like, but what’s the fun in progress if it doesn’t take some work to get there?

Climb on, my sisters!