Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ripped is the new skinny

I’ve noticed lately that some of my Facebook friends like to post inspirational pics of fiercely ripped women lifting serious weights while wearing insufficiently supportive sports garments (see link). These pics are usually accompanied with bullying, if trite slogans: “Good things come to those who work their asses off”;  “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up”. Unlike said friends, I’ve never found those images particularly inspiring and frequently hide them so I can continue with my day, unirritated.

What’s my problem? Being strong may be better than striving to be simply skinny, but being fitness-model ripped isn’t necessarily the healthiest place to be either. 

My beef with fitness models is that they tout an impossible ideal. What isn’t clear from the photos is that they represent a moment in time which is completely unsustainable in the long term. To appear ripped you have to have less than 19 per cent body fat. To maintain a super low body fat percentage you probably aren’t going to be eating enough to feed your muscles and make gains.

For me, lifting is about challenging myself and understanding my body in a way that transcends all the patriarchal crap sent our way daily by way of advertising, and popular media. I don’t train to be bench Barbie, I train because it makes me feel invincible. The numbers that matter to me aren’t my chest, waist and hip measurements but my bench, squat, and deadlift kgs.


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