From the Outside

I have something of a love/hate relationship with fitness literature — especially bodybuilding.

On the one hand I like to look for information.

On the other? It can be discouraging.

When I see articles about how someone’s life has become so much better since they got thin and look great in a bikini I want to scream, “You’re missing the point!” I mean Jesus Christ, I’m poly. Of course I want to be found attractive. But ya know, that’s a lot of work to go to get approbation from the outside. And the idea of finding life validation in terms of how sexy I’m seen is kinda scary to me, because it puts my life worth in someone else’s hands. No thanks. See, when I work out, I do it to be stronger. Would I like to look hot in a bikini? Sure. But honestly that’s years away if it ever happens and isn’t much of a motivator to get my ass into the pool or a bar loaded across my shoulders. At this stage it’s the energy to do my day. It’s having physical options. It’s not to waste some inconvenient surgery I got (ACL repair) last year.

It’s not about what I get from the outside that gets my ass in the water. It’s what I feel on the inside that does it. It’s about challenging myself to do something difficult. It’s about the joy of movement. Swimming a mile isn’t for “someday when I’m skinny”. It’s for now. It feels good now. I’ve lost lots of weight before, and no compliment, no flirting, nothing ever felt as good as knowing that I could swim that mile, lift a heavier weight, or the security that I could handle myself physically in an emergency situation.

When I was 17 I got my greenbelt, and part of the test was to do 75 pushups. Oh the greenbelt felt great. (So did the celebration after class my boyfriend and I indulged in!). But ya know, the solid knowledge that I could do 75 pushups, the sheer solitary accomplishment of it, was what felt best.

I dunno, maybe that makes me a cold fish. But it is the way I feel.

I actually got asked what I was training for today in the pool1. I said, “The Not Dying of a Heart Attack Century Marathon”.

1I woke up grumpy as shit today, and when that happens, there’s nothing for it but to put on the sexiest, dirtiest music you can load onto an iPod and swim a mile and revel in the sheer sensual physicality of the water and the movement. I swam hard, my friends!

3 Replies to “From the Outside”

  1. You’re absolutely right. Since I started weight-training last summer, I HAVE noticed a positive difference in the way my body looks. But the best incentive for me to keep going is how much stronger I feel, and how much better it makes me feel about myself.

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