All pictures used with permission from Reasons to be Fit
Finish this sentence: “I choose to be fit because…”
For me, my “reason to be fit” started as a way to deal with my past as a sexual assault victim. After a protracted court case and my ex-boyfriend was convicted and finally sent to prison, I distinctly remember being in the gym and pounding out set after set of heavy weights. As I bobbled a too-heavy chest press bar over my head, a male friend stopped me from braining myself and said, “Stop! Why are you doing this?!” My answer surprised me as much as it did him. “Because I never want to be weak again!” And I burst into tears. Trying to heal myself from the outside in didn’t exactly work as I’d planned but it did give me a powerful push into fitness and a passion that still burns as bright in me today as it did eight years ago. (Yep – I have not always been into health and fitness! My degrees are in Psychology, Computer Information Systems and Education. I went from Super Nerd to Super Fit Nerd – not a huge leap actually…) And while I no longer credit my past as my primary reason to stay fit, I still have lots of Reasons:
- To be a good example to my kids (by showing them moderation, not extremity!)
- To live longer and to make those extra years healthier so I can travel the world (as soon as my kids get old enough to carry their own suitcases and I get rich enough to buy plane tickets – a girl can dream!)
- To stay mentally sharp and happy
- To try new things (like hula hoops! And trapeze classes! And being a backup dancer in a hip hop video!)
No seriously, I really did! Check us out!! We got to be in a local cable TV ad too!
Look at that – not one of them is “to be skinny” or “to lose weight”! Check me out making progress and all that:) But it turns out I’m not the only one with a compelling reason to be fit. Have you seen this Tumblr? Readers submit their reasons for getting fit and site owner Brandy turns them into motivational (or humorous) posters. From the odd (Zombie apocalypse!) to the poignant (“I never want to get picked last in gym class again”) to the hardcore (“To lift more than the boys”), check out my top ten Reasons in my slideshow for SHAPE.
Other Fitness Stuff I Wrote Lately
7 Healthy Foods With Bizarre Side Effects (And one that’s not just weird, it’s lethal): Neon green poop first introduced me to the wide wonderful world of foods that do weird things to your body when I freaked out after changing my kid’s diaper and worried I’d birthed Green Lantern Jr. (The Green Lantern totally has green poop right? I mean, what fun is being a superhero if you can’t have super poo?) When I called the pediatrician in hysterics, the nurse calmed me right down. “Did he eat fruit snacks?” I paused. He had eaten a bunch at playgroup that morning. “It’s the food dye. What goes in, must come out,” she said dryly. But from soapy cilantro to orgasmic oysters, adults can have all kinds of bizarre reactions to their food too! True story: when I was dealing with my suppressed thyroid from compulsively over-exercising, my doctors forbade me from eating any raw cruciferous veggies. I could have broccoli, cabbage, bok choi and the like only if they were well cooked and in small amounts. They also told me to eat more iodine-fortified table salt. Eat less green veggies and more salt? Yeah it blew my mind too.
25 Reasons Why It’s Great to be a Sports Fan: Wednesday marks the opening kickoff of the 2012 NFL season! Will you be watching? These 25 ladies sure will be – each for a different reason. From fantasy football (more fun that the real thing?) to any excuse to scream to a love for the nuance of the sport, there are as many different reasons to cheer on your fave team as there are fans.
True Life: I’m a Female Bodybuilder: Think muscles only look good on men? The gorgeous Ashley Toms shares the real story behind being a top national figure competitor as she ramps up to her first contest of the season. From what it takes (a lot of protein shakes) to her personal tips (she does her cardio “layered up” with pants and long sleeves) to the question people most often ask her (“Why?”), she pulls back the curtain on one of the fastest growing fitness events for women.
5 Tips to Find the Perfect Sports Bra: The gauntlet of fit females everywhere, finding the perfect topper for your ta-tas (did I seriously just alliterate ta-tas? Yes, yes I did.) can be such a pain. Sometimes literally. Here are scientific tips from experts whose entire jobs revolve around reducing bounce, eliminating uniboob and keeping your girls properly attached to your chest. (Slightly related – my personal fave bra for small-chested girls like me, the Handful, just came out with a bunch of new styles, colors and tank tops! Check out their new line or watch MizFit’s video explaining the fun. And nope, not paid to mention them nor did I receive any free product. They’re just one of my all-time fave small (hah!) fitness companies ever. I wear one of their bras – that I bought myself – every single day.) Do you have a fave sports bra you swear by?
10 Times It’s Okay to Break the Rules: It’s okay if… you get a pedi before a big race, even if no one will see your lucky green nails under your running shoes! (Although don’t let them shave off your hard-earned callouses – I learned that one the hard way! Those babies are there for a reason and it’s to protect your feet!)
With or Without Your Kids: The Best Workouts For Busy Moms: My first collaboration with SheKnows.com! Think popping out a little one precludes serious exercise? Short of waiting until they launch at 18, there are lots of workouts you can do with (or without – no judging here!) your kiddos!
10 Tiny Changes (You Can Do Right Now!) For a Healthier Life: And not one of them requires you to drop and give me ten push-ups! Being healthy doesn’t have to be hard all the time.
What Your Group Fitness Instructor Won’t Tell You: It turns out they are people too and when you make faces, show up late or mutter comments under your breath, they notice. Show your Zumba, TurboKick or CrossFit coach a little love during your next class – it’ll pay off big time, for both of you!
8 Surprising Ways Divorce Effects Your Health: TomKat may be legally over (truth: I have never loved Katie Holmes as much as I did in that moment) but the physical effects of divorce can go on much longer than a custody battle. Women share their experience of how their divorces hurt and helped their health and experts give tips for helping you navigate this incredibly difficult time.
What is your “Reason to be Fit”? Has it changed over your lifetime? Have fun plans for the holiday today (if you’re American)? Otherwise, have any fun Monday plans??
Today is Labor Day in the USA – a holiday my husband and I are celebrating by taking our kids hiking up some waterfalls (and me trying not to have a heart attack about it) so if I’m slow answering e-mails/comments just wait until tomorrow when my kids are back in school! Wooohooo!!! (Which is like the best mom holiday ever in my book.)