Monday, August 19, 2013

Fat?

ok, so this is a blog post I have been meaning to write for a long time. I am sure I have about 30 things on my to do list today that take precedence over writing a blog but here it is...
I started taking some crossfit workouts in addition to my regular lifting I do as my bodybuilding training. I want to be able to get away with eating more sooner, so I need to burn more calories. More importantly I have a major goal this year to improve my flexibility and increase my mobility hopefully undoing some of the damage I have done to my body over the last 31 years and make it better able to preform. I also have poor cardiovascular endurance and really even muscular endurance. I would like to be faster and learn to be more explosive in my movements when it would be beneficial.
I flippantly made a comment on my facebook about being slow and fat, not really thinking about the various ways people would interpret this.
I have to say I am sorry if that was offensive to anyone. Please understand it wasn't intended to be a put down to myself or anyone else.
photo from july 2013
"needs to be leaner"
I am involved in a sport, bodybuilding, where an unnaturally low level of body fat is required. Lower than the doctor recommended levels required to support organ function. You only need to be at this level for a short period of time, but that's the way it is. Last month I was as lean as I have ever been in my life, at around 9.5% bodyfat, based on my hydrostatic weighings... you know what my #1 critique was? "Needs to be leaner"
Due to my involvement in bodybuilding I have developed a really unemotional relationship with the word "fat" and the idea of having fat on your body. I don't look at it as part of who I am, more like a state of my present physical condition. Something I could adjust with some effort based on my personal goals or preference. Anyone who does not have a metabolic disorder or a physical disability has this ability, and even those that do have shown that with the right determination they can as well. I have had to make this mental transition because I cannot base my perception of myself on the percentage of body fat to lean body mass I have. It is a mutable thing completely under my control.
I am not a fat shamer. I do not think that people with higher levels of body fat look unattractive or "gross" or whatever we are supposed to think. If someone has an extremely high fat level I may feel concerned for their health or sympathize with the amount of joint pain they have or how daily activities are probably more challenging for them. I may feel bad that they can't do physical activity that I take joy in, like hiking, or empathize with the feelings they most likely have of being out of control of the situation. I don't judge them, because even though I was never at the point where my health was at risk, I have been out of shape and overweight, and I have felt like there was nothing I could do to change it. What's more, they may truly not care... maybe they really like reading and don't care for nature at all. They might be perfectly happy with their physical abilities, and that is none of my business.
photo from 2010
I have always wanted to be lean and shape so that I could be more physically able to do whatever I want in life without my body holding me back. EVERY SINGLE DAY when I wake up I think about how grateful I am that I can step out of bed and walk to the bathroom. I might not always take it further than that but I usually come back to it at some point in the day when I am active- I think about how lucky I am to have my health, how grateful I am to be able to run through the woods or have the strength to pick up a heavy weight.
At some point in my life I might not have that. I could lose my mobility or my strong immune system, or in some other way become unable to live like I currently do so I don't for one moment want to take my able body for granted.
The other thing I want to add is that everything is relative to the place you are personally at. Pretty much every human being is going to have a moment in their life where they feel out of shape. Or feel fat. Those are valid whether you are below or above some national average for fitness.
I am excited to have gotten an opportunity to feel that way. Feeling out of shape motivates me to do something about it. Having to drag a heavy body around motivates me to lose the parts of my physique that are not doing work. I want to be more strong and efficient.
Of course I have some pride in looking fit, and looking lean. I feel more attractive, but mostly because looking lean and muscular is MY PERSONAL idea of what a sexy woman looks like. Lot's of people might look at me and think "that's too much muscle for a girl" or "gross, too manly". I could care less. I have worked very hard to get my body closer to MY idea of the best it can be. That is an evolving concept. Now the best it can be also involves being able to be strong, AND fast, AND agile.
I love my muscles
I am not a natural athlete. I am not a person who has always been super active, or done sports my whole life. I am a bookworm who grew up camping and maybe riding my bike around the neighborhood a few hours a day. The only physical activity I was every really involved in was lifting weights and I did that casually. There is nothing special about me that makes me able to achieve a level of fitness that the average person out there could not. It just takes the right motivation, which to me is the desire to use athleticism to promote a vegan diet. Without that motivation I would still look like the person from 2010... I actually don't even view myself as being particularly lean or in shape. Just better off than I was a few years ago. There was nothing wrong with that, I was just a lot less physically able to preform the tasks that I can today and a lot less empowered and confident to try.
Dani's Champions!
I want everyone to know that they can have what they want in life if they really try. I also want people to know that this photo on the right -> is not what we look like everyday. None of us feel bad about our bodies when we are not at our peak form. Of course it's fun to look in the mirror and think "I look like a magazine!" but that is a temporary state. It is however very normal to hear us call ourselves "fat" or "slow" or "out of shape" because we know that even at the best we've ever been, we can always be better. We also know that fat is not who you are, your current level of endurance is not who you are, it is a place you are at. A place you can leave if you want, or stay if you are comfortable. I am not comfortable. I want to be better able to do more.
I respect everyone for where they are personally at and just want to see them reach a level of health they are satisfied with.

6 comments:

  1. Awesome post! It's funny, I didn't know you had one of my t-shirts!

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  2. you gave it to me! I wear it to workout all the time

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  3. Good post. I hope people pick up on the very subjective nature of saying something about feeling "fat and slow". I think we all get that feeling sometimes no matter what sort of shape you're in.

    And I totally agree, the proper motivation is everything!

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  4. Because of the strict schedule I find it very difficult to do workout in the morning. I do it regularly in the afternoon. Is it a fine time to do workout? Thanks by the way for this awesome blog post.

    Regards,
    Arnold Brame
    Health And Safety Consultant Lincolnshire

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