I teach a holistic women's exercise program based in ancient wisdom of Middle Eastern dance, focusing on core strength. I tell my students to love their bodies, as they are. The transformation starts in the mind. So, I encourage positive mantras written on the vanity mirror. We gently use the body's own weight to strengthen, elongate, and isolate muscles while having fun, laughing and breathing. I've worked with many age groups, but found so much fulfillment in teaching mature mums. Everyday posture is a large part of the changes we make, allowing for a greater range of movement. Again, we focus on core muscle groups through gentle manipulation. A strong core prevents back injury. I love my class of enthusiastic women. I constantly reinforce positive ways for them to view their bodies! It's not only good physically, but great for stress mitigation and self realization!
For me the lines blurred between fitness and body image at a young age. I was told regularly that I was big boned and that I would only have to look at a donut and I’d get fat. It impacted the way I saw myself, the way I ate and my motive for fitness. It’s taken years to undo that way of thinking. But now as a mum, I have found freedom in the lumps, bumps, loose skin and imperfection that came with having babies. It’s who I am. Fitness for me is now life giving both mentally and physically. It’s about pushing my limits, increasing my stamina and having fun!
Fitness to me is an act of self love. My motivation to workout comes from wanting to take care of both my body and mind. Some days this is a sweaty HITT workout and others it's a stroll on the beach, either way it's always fun and a celebration of what this beautiful body can do!
Fitness for me is about understanding my limitations as I get older and working with them instead of against them. I used to regularly get upset that I physically can't do the things I could 5-10 years ago, but then I remember all the things that are still in reach for me and how much there is still left for me to discover on my fitness journey. The future's looking bright!
When I was younger I had severe genetic knee problems, so fitness was always something that caused either injury or trauma. I felt like there was no room for me in the realm of 'fitness' because I felt it could only be all-in or nothing. Now, 3 knee surgeries and countless hours of rehab later, fitness to me is functional training, getting my knee mobility and strength back, and feeling mentally strong to trust my body again.
For most of my life I didn't think I had a fit body unless I had a 6-pack and no body fat, which has never been achievable. Thank goodness the definition is changing. Now, fitness for me is about moving in ways you love and setting goals that make you happy (not restrictive or image focused). That leads to a life you love living and far greater joy than a shredded body could ever give you.
I’ve been put down so often for wanting to put on muscle, people would say, “you don’t need to, you're so skinny already.” It’s disappointing because I shouldn’t be put down for struggling to put on weight and muscle and wanting to feel strong, we all have different goals and there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel strong to be able to live my daily life well.
I’ve tried every diet under the sun and multiple fitness plans, now I just go with what my body responds to and what I feel good eating and doing.
As soon as my focus shifted to what my body was allowing me to do and all the places I could explore because of it, my entire mindset changed to one of appreciation and thankfulness instead of always wishing and wanting.
I was always a stick growing up, then when I hit puberty later, I grew curves. I think those few years adjusting to curves would have been so different had I been told that women's bodies change along the way and this is completely normal.
I used to call myself an ogre, truly. I’d look in the mirror and only see all the faults. I’ve learnt over many many years that the only reason I considered those things a fault was because I’d been comparing it to someone else, comparison really did make me miserable. I’ll make a point to talk about the things I love now, instead of what isn’t deemed perfect in my own eyes.
Fitness used to mean a phone screensaver of a size 6 girl in a bikini with a surfboard, the image highly edited, the goal an image rather than the sport I loved. Now it’s an image of the beach, no bodies, just the place where I’m happy and able to surf because of the muscles I once hated.