In the build up to the much anticipated summertime in the UK, there is a proliferation of images and advertising aimed at encouraging women to get ‘bikini ready’. This sometimes subtle, often blatant and perpetrated by women, body-shaming implies that you are not ready to get in a bikini if you have not put in the hours at the gym, fake tanned, manicured, pedicured, waxed and no doubt many other things that I have never even heard of… but the truth is girl, you are ALWAYS bikini ready!
It’s natural for anyone to want to feel that they look their best especially when they are physically exposed in a way that you rarely have cause to be in the UK. The sun has profound effects on our mental health and energy levels so it’s also natural to want to do more exercise, get fitter and more toned so you feel good, physically and mentally, in your favourite summer clothes. But the reality is that if your objective is only to look good then you are unlikely to ever feel good. If you don’t feel good then you are unlikely to get to the point where you believe that you look good. It’s a vicious cycle and one that too many women get trapped in.
As a woman I feel all the same pressures as anyone does but I try to exercise because it makes me feel good first and foremost. When you focus on what your body can do rather than what it looks like you can learn to enjoy activity in a different way. You learn to listen to your body and it’s sensations. You discover things you didn’t know about yourself both in how your body can move and in what your mind can do. You learn to focus on the psychological benefits of exercise rather than dwelling on your insecurities. When your goals are positive, to do a full push up, rather than negative, to lose a kilo, you tilt your perspective towards a more fulfilling outlook. By monitoring progress and enjoying the process you can appreciate your body for the things it can do. You are amazing!
I love Pilates because the emphasis is always on good form for the sake of good health. It’s not about how far you can move or how flexible and strong you are. In fact, it is a common mistake for people to think they’re killing it at Pilates when their strength or flexibility may be a distraction from poor technique or posture which is fundamental to doing Pilates effectively. Strength and flexibility are helpful but when they are used without good form they can lead to a plethora of problems in the long term. Pilates is sustainable exercise and it’s perfect for helping you to achieve your goals- performing that full push up- with a positive mind set and a focus on you and you alone. Everyone will be working with where their own body is at and you do not need to compare yourself to anyone because only you have your body and only you can meet it’s needs.
You don’t need to wear yourself out to exhaustion to see the benefits but ramping up the intensity can ramp up the enjoyment too! With high intensity Pilates I see rapid improvements, I can get a sweat on and listen to some great music while I still look after my posture and minimise injury risk. Through my classes I want to encourage women to exercise because they love what their bodies can do and because it makes them feel good but without the pressure that they need to to look good. The most attractive people I know are attractive because they’re interesting. They have hobbies, pursue goals and are sociable. They can headstand, dance, climb, do triathlons, knit, paint, have fascinating conversations. Exercising socially is energising It helps you meet like-minded people and helps you push yourself further. So wouldn’t you like to get together and workout for the summer while having fun and meeting new people? If you’re answer is ‘hell yeah!’ then get yourself along to Go!Girl Summer Workout on July 15th at We Are Wellness, Leeds.
It’ll leave you feeling SUPER!
N.B. Do not attempt to fly unaided.