Thin and Healthy are two different things!
It seems that there are a lot of preconceived notions on what it means to be “fit.” Each generation perceived it differently; any two celebrities will have wildly different concepts of fitness that they try to say can work for anyone... everywhere you go, there is somebody or something telling you that THIS is the body you are supposed to have... and this is the specific diet, supplement and/or workout you must use to get it!
I personally believe that fitness is being in a pain-free body which makes you happy, and that understanding fitness comes in different sizes is part of what makes life interesting. Believe it or not; you were meant to be happy; inside and out. And that happiness will come from developing an exercise routine that helps you get in shape, and finding acceptance with the shape of YOUR fit body.
This will be the first in an ongoing series that will give examples of people whose health and fitness fall outside the boundaries of what is expected, and will hopefully help show you that “what is expected” is not the norm at all. These examples could be anyone; a co-worker, a relative, a friend... everyone is unique and has their own specific path to becoming fit. And just like they discovered, your own fitness and happiness does not have to be dictated by what society and the media says it should be.
vive la différence!
French for "Long Live the Difference!"
“Thin” and “Healthy” are not the same thing!
There is an obsession in society with being thin. The celebrity and modelling world is dominated by thin people, we consider thin to be attractive as a society, and very few (if any) gym ads show people who seem overweight using their facilities. In fact, most times someone is overweight on television, the assumption is that they are unhealthy, are prone to heart problems... that these issues are owned by the overweight population.
Things are not always as they seem
Charlotte (the name has been changed to protect the privacy of my client) was a beautiful, thin looking woman in her mid 40s. She was an elegant, sophisticated, accomplished person who, to the untrained eye, seemed to be healthy.
In our first session, it became very obvious that her strength was not where it should be; she had virtually no lean muscle mass. She could not do a seated chest press, a sit up due to her strength deficiency, nor could she do a stationary lunge due to severe balance challenges.
It turned out that years of sedentary desk work not only gave her the typical “office stress” posture: shoulders drawn in and upward towards ears, shoulders also rolled inward towards chest (something that is often mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome)... she was also a thin obese. Her body type, while giving the illusion of being healthy and appearing to have a normal BMI, was actually storing fat internally, beneath the muscles and surrounding the organs, such as the heart, liver and pancreas.
Charlotte was not alone; over half of Americans who are considered to have normal body weight also have much higher than normal fat percentages; 20% in men and 30% or greater in women[source]. And fat percentages at that level put people at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and a whole host of other unwanted diseases. This type of obesity is arguably far more dangerous than the traditional “overweight” appearance, as it can more readily lead to complications to those organs, and diagnosing this condition is much harder due to it’s stealth nature. This condition is best controlled with a change to one’s diet, and most importantly the introduction of regular exercise into their life.
We of course had to start Charlotte off slowly, as her initial starting point was highly unconditioned. But that was her starting point, and we made it work for her, 110%! As I say, “even if we have to crawl our way there; sooner or later - we will get there!” After working with Charlotte for years now, she has grown in leaps and bounds from where she began; we use my own Summer-Fit exercises, weights, cardio, TRX, MELT Method, HIIT... you name it, she can do it! Her return visits to the doctor's office were far less stressful; her test results have improved drastically since she began her exercise regimen. We have together gone above and way beyond, blowing way past her initial needs and dreams and helping her find true happiness with her fitness. She is a hot mama; strong, lean, happy and resourceful and in charge of her own story... a story we continue to write to this day.
“You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way.”