WTF Does Fit Look Like Anyway?
Two Sundays ago, I posted this image with this caption on Instagram:
"I wasn’t gonna post this because, even though I felt like a badass taking it after a fucking grueling #BBG circuit today, I looked at it and thought “I don’t look fit enough to post this.” then, I was inspired to be fucking honest and real and raw for the 3000th time by @oliviamuenter and was like “dammit, emma. if you felt amazing when you took it, fucking own it and post it.” so here we are. I know I put on a confident front (both online and IRL), but LOLOL if you don’t think I have major insecurities, and the fact that I workout so consistently yet sometimes don’t LOOK like I do is a major one. I want to be fitter. tighter. to get rid of that luscious under boob fat roll and have a more defined waist. but I love to eat things that aren’t necessarily awesome for you and I love having cocktails and I believe in indulgence because YOLO. and since we all know you can’t out-exercise bad diet choices, I sometimes* (*all the time) get in my own head about how people must think I’m a fraud and not very impressive. “she’s always doing BBG and posting her walks with Cece and raving about a healthy ass meal she made, yet she DEF doesn’t LOOK the part.” but the rational, less evil side of my brain knows that’s not really being said. sure, by some. but not the majority. I have to remind myself that you don’t need to look like a soccer player to be fit. and healthy. and in shape. I may always have a stomach, but my resting HR is 63, I can do wild exercise moves with my strength, and my legs are killer. and yeah – I also love burgers and queso and chips and wine and beer and pizza and spaghetti but I’m still sexy and strong af 🙌🏼"
The response to this picture and my words was so loud, I felt the unavoidable pull to expand on it. So, here we are. And I have more to say.
First thing's first — if you aren't familiar with Olivia Muenter, you need to be, like, yesterday. Olivia is a 25yo beauty editor for Bustle who lives in New York and not only is an extremely talented writer but possesses an easy wit that makes clicking through her 30-part "Tipsy Skincare" Instagram stories incredibly enjoyable. Basically, Olivia is who and what I wanted to be at 25, but didn't have the resources and wasn't in the right place at the right time. As of 2018, Olivia drastically changed the tone of her IG persona. She got even more real, more raw. She made it her "...mission to put real life back in Instagram" and y'all KNOW how near and dear that entire approach is to my heart, so to witness this shift has been nothing short of exhilarating, really.
In her latest blog post, she writes about how finally giving up the thought she had held onto so tightly for so long (that one day, she would look the way she told herself she was eventually going to look and that's when life would start) has freed her in a sense.
"I thought that one day I would lose enough weight or gain enough muscle or complete enough runs that I would eventually be able to stop editing myself out of my own world... I still believed then that there was a one-day version of me that would be good enough — good enough to post on Instagram, to wear a bikini, to exist in at all."
But, after losing a best friend to a tragic accident, Olivia's entire world was rocked and so was her perception.
"All at once, I both let go of my grip on myself and tightened my grip on the things that mattered — the things that I wanted to matter, anyway. And I did the work. I didn't want to be someone who was constantly waiting to be something else, constantly in search of a version of self-love that was predicated on weight, ceaselessly waiting for another thinner, happier version of myself to show up."
And for someone who's been following her for years now, her tightened grip was as apparent as Kylie Jenner's overnight, full-body makeover that we STILL don't talk about but all know is the truth. I had already loved and admired Olivia for so long, but little did I know how much more of her mind there was to love. All this time, she had given us bits and pieces and raw moments curtained in distracting wit and now, suddenly, her captions were deep, smart, and thoughtful. She was engaging and posting with such conviction and confidence that it made me feel even more grounded in my "do everything with conviction" goal of 2018.
TLDR: In terms of realness, authenticity, and embracing who you are right now in this moment (not who you MIGHT be in the future), Olivia is the most inspiring person on Instagram right now, and if you don't follow her, you are stupid.
Olivia influences the hell out of me. She pushes me to be even more of an open book than I already am (if that's even possible), to post the pictures without all the edits or even post the "bad" ones that you know are only bad through the lens of your overly-critical glasses. She reminds me to stop doing something I am infamously known for amongst my friends and family: Being incredibly hard on myself.
So, back to my Instagram post. I've been doing BBG for three years now. Three fucking years! I've never done anything for three years straight besides live. And, like, drink coffee. When I started BBG back in spring of 2015, I was 10 pounds heavier with nowhere close to a balanced lifestyle or diet, and extremely unhappy with where I was physically. So, I did something about it by starting BBG, and began educating myself on what a truly well-rounded "diet" looks like without getting too psychotic about it. And for three years, that's how it's been. I workout consistently with three BBG circuits a week plus lots of extra cardio via walks with Cece and the occasional jaunt on the Stairmaster. I make smarter choices for meals and snacks when I can (read: during the week because wheels are OFF come the weekend and this has never and probably will never change). In general, I'm much more mindful when it comes to my overall health. I eat as many veggies as I can stomach during the week and even dabble in vegan/vegetarian options to save face on the inevitable amount of cheese and meat I'll indulge in come Friday night. I do lots of small things to try and "make up for" all the other "bad" things. I try, but I don't kill myself over it.
Most of the time, I complete a workout or have a really "good" day of eating and feel like a badass. But some of the time, as all women do, I look in the mirror and am horrified. "You should be ashamed," the evil bitch in me tells myself. "You workout all the time and do decently well with eating compared to so many, yet you STILL look like this? Wow. What a fraud you are. You really have no place posting gym selfies or healthy recipes because your results aren't that impressive." Yes, I really say these things to myself on my worst days. I become convinced they're true and vow to ban myself from posting anymore motivating health-related content until I get to a point I deem worthy enough to do so. Like Olivia, I subscribe to the idea that there's a "one-day version of me that (will) be good enough...to post on Instagram." This atrocious way of thinking is what happened two Sundays ago. Even though I felt like a fucking badass after finishing that particular workout, I decided I was nowhere skinny, fit, or impressive enough to post the picture on Instagram. But seeing Olivia's battle cry snapped me the fuck out of it, and ultimately got me thinking about what the fuck "fit" even looks like.
Just because I don't have a 6-pack or crazy-defined arm muscles or a more noticeable waistline doesn't mean I'm not fit. Yes, I get in my own way by indulging way more than I should, but all things considered, I'm fit AF. My heart is super healthy, my cholesterol is super low, my blood pressure is amazing, and I am strong. I put in the damn work and just because I'm not shredded doesn't mean I don't have every right to celebrate my accomplishFITS (see what I did there?). I've never been able to subscribe to the 80/20 rule (do well 80% of the time and indulge 20%). That just isn't realistic to me. I like food too much. And yeah, that includes healthy, whole food but it also includes queso and pizza and pasta and a lot of alcohol and ice cream and brownies and also just copious amounts of food in general when I'm on a bender. It's like this: I know what it would take to get to where I think I wanna be, but the cold, hard truth is
I DON'T WANNA.
I just wanna live and living to me looks like working out on the reg, eating as well as I can when I can, making healthy choices when it's feasible, but also chugging queso, treating myself to ice cream, having that second (ok, third) glass of wine, and skipping a day or two at the gym because I NEED REST GODDAMMIT. Living to me is #balance. No extremes. No all or nothing. It's finding the right balance for you and sticking with it, and if that balance means not losing those extra five pounds or defining your could-be abs just a bit more, so be it because I'm still fit. I'm still strong. And I'm still healthy af.
ALL THAT SAID THOUGH, I wanted to share with you guys that I just started a new program this week, and I'm really amped about it. This last round of BBG went very poorly for me. I pushed back/delayed so many workouts that I ended up being a full month behind, cumulatively. This, of course, really discouraged me and I basically lost all motivation to complete the full 12 weeks. So, instead of starting what would've been my 9th week this week, I decided maybe it was time for a new program — you know, to switch things up and get myself re-motivated. Low and be-fucking-hold, Kayla brought some of her fit friends into the SWEAT app to share their programs, one of which is called PWR with Kelsey Wells. I have no idea why I didn't look at her program a long time ago, but as soon as I clicked on it and saw the structure of her workouts, I was like YEP. THIS IS WHAT I WANNA DO.
PWR is much more weight-lifting focus, and the structure of the circuits is a breath of fresh air. Two workouts in, and I can already tell it's insanely less repetitive than BBG (never knocking my BBG but ya girl gets real bored after a while). I've been itching to do more work with weights and machines, so this could be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, I'll tack on cardio throughout the week, but I'm already sore as hell after two workouts and LOVING IT. It feels good to be excited about fitness again. Plus, if you pay for the SWEAT app already ($20/month), PWR and all other programs in it are included!
TLDR: Olivia Muenter is the best. Being hard on ourselves is natural but stupid and we should do better to NOT be. I love queso. I also love working out. And vegetables. But more so pizza over veggies. I just started a new workout routine that I'm amped about. And I'm healthy and fit AF even if my tummy says differently.
P.S. If you need an extra boost to get you motivated, Outdoor Voices is having an unprecedented 40% sale this week. New clothes but new workout clothes specifically get me motivated to get moving, so I highly suggest cashing in on their adorable threads because their shit is RARELY on sale.
Now go out there and do you, boo.