Why I’m No Longer Pro-Fitspo

Lately, I’ve noticed several articles cropping up around the web — from fellow Bloggers to the Huff Post — all focused on the same controversial issue: FITSPO.

Since this has become such a hot topic in the fitness community, I’m suddenly feeling the urge to “weigh in” and add my voice to the conversation. But, first, let’s clarify why Fitspo is even a thing and what its original intent was.

Here’s how Urban Dictionary defines the trend:

Short for “fitspiration.” Images of active, strong and fit women that promote proper exercise and diet.

So, that’s the purpose Fitspo supposedly aims to fulfill. However, now it’s teetering on the brink of soft porn.

Soft porn that makes you kinda sorta question everything about your physical worth.

(Like…does this REALLY have to be either-or?!?!)

flat stomach or sweets

image courtesy of Pinterest

How did this movement — which should have been a positive and dynamic lifestyle initiative — veer so far off-course?

Hell, that’s what I wanna know.

When I initially heard about the whole “fitspiration” concept, I wasted no time jumping on-board. I mean, here was the confidence-booster we’d been waiting for, right?!

Thinspiration’s healthier twin sister.

Social media’s gift to female psyches everywhere.

Rather than bombarding us with airbrushed propaganda of unrealistically skeletal frames, Fitspo motivated us to strive for “strong” over “skinny.”

image courtesy of Pinterest

image courtesy of Pinterest

Well, in theory anyway. Because that’s where the motivation ends. Despite these so-called good intentions, Fitspo still panders to an exclusive audience. It doesn’t celebrate the beauty of each unique physique but, instead, discriminates against body types that aren’t tucked and toned in all the right places.

Case-in-point: “strong not skinny” is actually a derogatory message. Some women are naturally thin — not eating disorder thin per se, but thin. They can’t change their builds any more than curvy women can.

Nor should they. Stick-straight, hourglass or voluptuous — the female figure is worth embracing, regardless of shape or size.

So, why have sculpted obliques and sinewy biceps become the arbitrary benchmark to gauge our “hotness” levels?

Well…umm…compliments of Fitspo.

Don’t get me wrong, if you do have sculpted obliques and sinewy biceps, take pride in those accomplishments. After all, fitness requires both effort and commitment. You know what though? Sometimes, even the most vigilant efforts won’t turn us all into Miranda Kerr doubles. And there’s no shame in that either.

Here’s the bottom line: I don’t feel inspired by body-shaming mantras disguised as “healthy” workout incentives.

I’m not gonna run a marathon because some Pinterest meme-creator thinks I’ll be spurred into action by Victoria’s Secret angels in barely-there spandex, sports bras and the uplifting text overlay — “Train Insane or Remain the Same.”

image courtesy of Pinterest

image courtesy of Pinterest

Nope. I’ll exercise for ME, thanks. Not a subliminal you-aren’t-working-hard-enough quote, or some sexually stimulating model with an unattainable bod. Those are illusions. And illusions won’t get results.

Society has begun equating fitness with the feminine ideal, but this label misses the mark. Who cares about looking like a superficial slice of eye-candy when you can strive for personal acceptance instead? Exercise isn’t about some fleeting “Dayyyum, girl!” once-over.

Exercise is about vitalitytoughnessexhilaration — both physically and mentally. Fitspo, however, won’t get you there.

So, what will?

  1. Gradual progress at your own steady pace.
  2. And self-love. Yeah, TONS of self-love.

My final advice, then? Unplug from this Fitspo trend. It’s basically just Thinspo with a sportier-sounding name.

love yourself

image courtesy of Pinterest

10 Excuses We Use to Avoid Exercise & 10 Reasons Why They’re Just Not True

You know the drill, right? List every possible explanation for why you’re chronically — cough…cough — allergic to the “E” word, and maybe…just maybe…you’ll feel justified bumming it on the couch all weekend.

Hey, who am I to judge? I love an occasional lazy Saturday too. But, this “exercise allergy” business?

Yeaaaah. I’m gonna have to call that bluff.

So, allow me to debunk some classic fitness fallacies and how they may be keeping you from realizing your full physical potential.


Excuse #1: I don’t have enough time to work out.

fitness excuse 1

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: If you simply devote 1 hour each day to engaging in some type of physical activity, you’ll still have 23 hours remaining.

Excuse #2: I feel dirty and disgusting when I sweat.

fitness excuse 2

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: Sure, you’ll have to make a date with the shower afterward, but sweating cleanses pores and flushes out bodily toxins.

Excuse #3: I might bulk up instead of toning up.

fitness excuse 3

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: While strength training does build substantial muscle mass, it also sculpts one hell of a lean, mean physique.

Excuse #4: I can’t afford a fancy gym membership.

fitness excuse 4

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: If you can move around, you can whip that booty into shape, whether at home, outdoors, or in a fitness center.

Excuse #5: I am way too insecure about how I look.

fitness excuse 5

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: Don’t let shame keep you out of the game ’cause every body type and size deserves to feel the health benefits of exercise.

Excuse #6: I already eat clean, so that should be enough.

fitness excuse 6

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: Props on choosing wholesome nutrition over fast food, but diet alone can’t compensate for zero physical activity.

Excuse #7: I get bored easily while working out.

fitness excuse 7

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: If your exercise routine is mind-numbingly repetitive, try something high energy, like Zumba, or zen, like Yoga.

Excuse #8: I kinda sorta enjoy Netflix too much.

fitness excuse 8

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: There’s no law that bans you from working out and getting your Orange Is the New Black fix at the same time.

Excuse #9: I always feel so physically drained.

fitness excuse 9

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: The toughest part is willing yourself to begin, but once you do, endorphins are guaranteed to power you through.

Excuse #10: I just haven’t seen any positive results yet.

fitness excuse 10

image courtesy of pinterest.com

Reality: Muscle definition takes approximately 4-8 weeks to develop, so think of this process as a marathon, not a sprint.


So, armed with this knowledge, go unleash your inner #BeastMode.  I know it’s there.

But, more importantly: So. Do. You.

How Dressing Like You Work Out Can Motivate You to Really Work Out

In an effort to fend off a recent writer’s block attack, I asked my sister for some blog post suggestions today, and she immediately quipped: “Your blog’s about fitness, right? You know, I could use a new fitness wardrobe. If I had more exercise clothes, I’d probably exercise all the time. Hey…write about that!”

(Can you tell she works in fashion? No matter the conversation topic, that girl will find any excuse to mention clothes!)

But her idea, nonetheless, struck me as thought-provoking. Does the way people dress impact their level of physical exertion? Just like slipping into a “little black dress” and strappy heels often helps you exude confidence on date night, can Nike gym shorts and a tank with some #Fitspo phrase screen-printed across the chest put you in the mood to sweat? Is getting in shape as simple as getting your “shopper girl” on at Victoria’s Secret?

I took to Google in pursuit of some evidence to support my sister’s theory…

And turns out, it’s entirely plausible.

Women’s Health Magazine published an article on this topic back in 2013 (yeah whatever, so I’m a year behind the curve!), citing a “psychological phenomenon called ‘enclothed cognition,’ which suggests that the clothing a person wears can trigger mental changes that positively affect their performance.”

Basically, the overarching idea is this: if you throw on activewear, you’re more likely to engage in something active. Lacing up sneakers might get you in the jogging mindset. A comfy pair of yoga pants might prompt you to unearth that mat from your closet depths. Even a sports bra might make you feel…well, sporty.

You get the picture.

Look the part. Act the part.

So, why let professional athletes with their Under Armour endorsements or celebs with their fancy-schmancy Lululemon labels have all the fun?! Snag some workout gear-inspired fitspiration for yourself. A few staple items added to your wardrobe may be the kicker that moves you beyond imagining a healthier, stronger, leaner, [insert goal] physique toward actually making it happen.

And there’s no reason to spend a small fortune either. Check out my top 5 picks for athletic apparel on a budget:

  • Fabletics – For all you online shopping fans, this site features designer-quality activewear for an average price of $25-$30.
  • Target – The bulls-eye is trendier than Sears and cheaper than Saks (uhh…duh!), so stock up on activewear starting at $10.
  • H&M – Sweden has answered our call for affordable cutting-edge fashion, and their activewear ranges from under $10-$50.
  • Nordstrom Rack – Those with pricier taste can find name brand activewear (e.g. Nike, The North Face, Zella) starting at $30.
  • Forever 21 – This store is known for low-cost-hot-ticket items, and the activewear doesn’t disappoint with a tag of $10-$20.

Further proof that attitude is all in the outfit…just look at my sista go!

2014-08-13 21.38.46  2014-08-13 21.41.06  2014-08-13 21.42.47  2014-08-13 21.44.02

Habit-Forming Fitness in Just 5 Easy Steps

I could spend hours building a case for why you should make fitness an integral part of your daily routine. But I’m also under no illusions: working out on the reg is a downright pain in the ass when you’re not in the habit of doing so.

So, what’s the most straightforward way to change your view of exercise from a torture tool to a physical necessity you’ll actually begin to crave? It all starts with developing a game plan. And once you determine how to proceed, you may just surprise yourself by putting that plan into action.

I oughtta know. It’s been almost 6 years since yours truly decided getting in shape would become a lifestyle staple.

And that’s one decision I’ve yet to regret!


1. Commit to exercise during a specific time of day. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, chances are your body knows when it feels the most energetic. So, set aside at least 30 minutes to work out during this prime period. It could be immediately after waking up or right before going to bed, but choosing a consistent time will remind you to make fitness both a priority and regularity.

2. Associate exercise with another routine activity. If you habitually watch TV every evening after dinner, do crunches, push-ups or other strength training work outs while catching the latest episode of your favorite show. That’s up to 1 hour of physical activity (depending on the program’s length), and you probably won’t even notice those burning muscles with the TV as a distraction.

3. Sneak exercise into errands or office/housework. Instead of taking the elevator at work, opt for the stairs. Avoid parking right by the store entrance when you’re out shopping, park further away and walk across the lot. If you live in a relatively urban area, bike around rather than drive. Turn chores – like cooking, vacuuming, or washing the car – into a work out by doing them vigorously.

4. Assign a different type of exercise to each day. A work out schedule will keep you both organized and on-task. For example: Monday is “leg day,” Tuesday is “core day,” Wednesday is “arm day,” Thursday is “cardio day” (i.e. running, biking, zumba, etc.), Friday is “yoga day,” Saturday is “interval day” (i.e. tabata – cardio and strength training circuits), and Sunday is “recovery day.”

5. Vary your exercise regimen on a frequent basis. The most common culprit of a fizzled out fit ambition is boredom. You start strong, going to the gym every day, then gradually scale back until it’s no longer built into your muscle memory. Monotony often prevents you from moving forward, which is why you should switch up your work outs at least monthly for a fresh jolt of invigoration.


These strategies were highly effective for me, and I hope you’ll find them equally useful in your own pursuit of a habitual healthy lifestyle!

50 Ways to Turn “Train Time” into “Play Time”

Burn excess fat, build lean muscle, and get that heart rate pumping without even feeling like you put forth the effort. These enjoyable (and shockingly effective!) physical activities take the “work” out of “working out.” No heavy lifting…it’s all fun and games over here!!!


 1. jumping rope

2. paddle-boarding

3. pole dancing

4. kayaking

kayaking

5. gardening

6. playing Wii Sports

7. hula hooping

8. rock climbing

9. ice skating

ice skating

10. fencing

11. strolling the beach

12. roller blading

13. kickboxing

14. geocaching

treasure hunting

15. doing aerial yoga

16. putt-putt golfing

17. playing beach volleyball

18. bowling

bowling

19. playing D.D.R.

20. walking the dog

21. spinning

22. acting out charades

23. swimming

swimming

24. shooting hoops

25. relay racing

26. doing obstacle courses

27. playing tennis

28. primal moving

primal moving

29. housecleaning

30. trampolining

31. horseback riding

32. shopping

33. cross-country skiing

jumping in the snow

34. hiking

35. playing laser tag

36. volunteering

37. bicycling

bicycling

38. painting the house

39. scuba diving

40. body-surfing

41. building a tree fort

42. dancing

dancing

43. throwing darts

44. swinging

45. mowing the lawn

46. banging on drums

drumming

47. washing the car

48. stretching

49. doing martial arts

50. skipping


So, yeah…staying in shape can be MUCH easier than you realized. Capiche?!

30 Quotes from 30 Women Just Trying to Figure this Whole Life Thing Out

“I think exercise tests us in so many ways, our skills, our hearts, our ability to bounce back after setbacks. This is the inner beauty of sports and competition.” 

~ Peggy Fleming (Olympic Figure Skater)

“Don’t get hung up on the size. If you feel bad about yourself because a 12 is what fits, take a Sharpie and write ‘6’ on the label.”

~ Stacy London (What Not to Wear Co-Host)

“I’ve always believed fitness is an entry point to building that happier, healthier life. When your health is strong, you’re capable of taking risks. You’ll feel more confident and ask for the promotion. You’ll have more energy to be a better mom. You’ll feel more deserving of love.”

~ Jillian Michaels (The Biggest Loser Trainer)

“I try to come at fitness and nutrition from a perspective of gentleness and what will make me feel good afterward. I try to stay out of the mindset of needing to fix myself.”

~ Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black Actress)

“Developing a diet that is healthful, balanced, and appropriate for your particular caloric needs is absolutely critical to establishing a healthful lifestyle that incorporates proper nutrition, adequate exercise, and mental resilience.”

~ Daphne Oz (The Chew Co-Host) 

“I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman. But I am constantly thinking about my own health and making sure that I’m eating right and getting exercise and watching the aches and pains. I want to be this really fly 80-90-year old.”

~ Michelle Obama (First Lady of the USA)

“Follow your dreams, work hard, practice, and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise, and maintain a balanced lifestyle.”

~ Sasha Cohen (Olympic Figure Skater)

“Try to think of working out and healthy eating as a lifestyle. Rather than go on a diet or try a crazy exercise routine, try making them something you do every day.”

~ Allyson Felix (Olympic Track & Field Sprinter)

‘I’m a girl who eats. And I feel beautiful no matter how I look. I have my family to thank for that.”

~ Lea Michele (Glee Actress & Singer)

“I look at being older and gaining wisdom. I’ve learned to stay fit and healthy. I accept my body, my life, and my circumstances.”

~ Kim Alexis (American Supermodel & Actress)

“I live by the 80/20 rule. I’m 80% organic and 20% indulgent.”

~ Miranda Kerr (Victoria’s Secret Angel)

“The way I looked when I started modeling – I was a skinny schoolgirl stuffing tissues into my little 32A bra. I wasn’t trying to be that thin; I was perfectly healthy, but still – that look is a total impossibility for women over the age of 20. Fashion has a lot to answer for, doesn’t it?” 

~  Twiggy (British Supermodel & Actress)

“As soon as I shifted my focus away from the scale, the weight started to come off. I keep track of my body by how my jeans fit – and how I feel.”

~ Alison Sweeney (The Biggest Loser Host)

“I’m into wellbeing, not because of social pressures to look a certain way, but because I’m interested in living a long, full, and healthy life.”

~ Kelly Brook (British Model & TV Presenter)

“It’s important to embrace and love your body for what it is. Every woman has her own body.”

~ Marisa Miller (Victoria’s Secret Angel)

“I like how my body feels when I’m in shape; I love how it feels after I work out each day. Fitting in the clothes I like to wear comfortably and living a balanced lifestyle is important to me.”

~ Colbie Caillat (Pop Singer-Songwriter)

“My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass.”

~ Leslie Grimutter (Holistic Lifestyle Blogger)

“In minds crammed with thoughts, organs clogged with toxins, and bodies stiffened with neglect, there is just no space for anything else.”

~ Alison Rose Levy (Journalist & Radio Personality)

“We don’t realize that somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love Author)

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”

~ Mary Radmacher (Writer & Motivational Speaker)

“You’ll never regret eating blueberries or working up a sweat.”

~ Jacquelyn Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean Author)

“Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood faster than a hard work out on my treadmill. It never fails. Exercise is nothing short of a miracle.”

~ Cher (American Singer & Pop Icon)

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”

~ Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief)

“Running is very rhythmic, and I have written a lot of lyrics while out running. It’s a very musical exercise, and sometimes I like to sing when I run. Your whole body is doing the same thing.”

~ Sarah McLachlan (Canadian Singer-Songwriter)

“I’ll immediately gain, like 5 pounds, even just by thinking about cutting out dessert. It’s a nightmare. So, I decided, for me, the healthiest thing was to eat what I want and just exercise. Some women can watch what they eat, but I just can’t do that.”

~ Gwyneth Paltrow (Academy Award-Winning Actress)  

 “There is something so rewarding about dancing. It’s almost spiritual – you let loose, you feel free, you get endorphins from the exercise.”

~ Julianne Hough (Dancing With the Stars Coach)

“I tend to like the outdoors. In Paris, I rent a bike in the street and cycle around. In LA, I live up in the hills so I go hiking a lot. I like to stay fit by being generally active.”

~ Diane Kruger (German Actress & Model)

“Your body begins to change when it burns and shakes. So when an exercise is challenging, I always think ‘feel your body changing.”

~ Stacy Keibler (Former Professional Wrestler)

“I think it’s important to remember, you don’t have to run a sprint in order to work out.”

~ Emily Deschanel (Bones Actress & Producer)

“I just want to be healthy. And stay alive. And keep my family going. And keep my friends going. And try to do something so that this world will be peaceful. That is the most ambitious and difficult thing, but I’m there trying to do it.”

~ Yoko Ono (Japanese Artist & Activist)

Why We Shouldn’t Need to Mind the Gap

I’ll admit…

I became preoccupied with obtaining a “thigh gap” before I even knew it had a name. Let alone a hashtag.

All I knew was if my feet were together but my thighs were NOT apart, then that equaled failure. If they so much as grazed against each other during an evening jog, I’d inwardly curse the loose folds of cellulite that had taken up residence there. Granted, this egregious cellulite only existed inside my head, but still…

Why. The. Hell. Must. Those. Stupid. Thighs. Touch?!

Arrrrrgh!

What is this madness?!

Madness indeed. Not only was I fixated on a meaningless centimeter of space between my inner thighs, but now millions of other young women are too. You can’t scroll through an Instagram feed or peruse Tumblr posts without being inundated by this troubling trend. #MindTheGap has recently become just as much an institution as social media itself. Proponents of the elusive “gap” use these sites as sounding boards to either tout their progress or bemoan their inadequacy. Nope. There’s no mistaking it: thigh gap fixation has given us tunnel vision toward our own physical appearances.

It’s no longer acceptable to simply be considered fit and trim overall. Now every last INCH of our bodies demands perfection.

But, let’s be honest, are thigh gaps even all that noticeable? If you didn’t spend a solid 10 minutes positioning your legs at just the right angle to snap a boastful – and perhaps teeny tiny bit…filtered – selfie, would your friends have any idea that you claim membership in the Thigh Gap Club? Yeah, didn’t think so.

Which raises even more questions: Why is this our new benchmark for beauty? Why is a sliver of breathing room separating 1 skin layer from another suddenly the latest status symbol? Why do we measure personal success in such superficial, fleeting terms?

No, really. WHY?!

Do yourself a favor next time you cringe at your own reflection. Rather than gauging the dead air between your legs, consider instead how those same legs move you through each miraculous day of your beautiful life.

Not that’s worth minding.