This article was originally posted on February 27, 2016 on gofitu.com.
I need to come clean….I have something to confess.
I am a fraud.
My name is Sarah Gaines and I am the founder of Fit University, a college student’s go-to source for all things health & fitness. Fit University aims to inspire and motivate college students to live a fit & healthy lifestyle, no matter what their favorite form of fitness is or what their fitness level is. We preach moderation, self love and enjoyment through fitness. Fit University aims to teach college students that fitness is not a certain look. Rather, we hope to make students realize that fitness looks and feels different for everyone. Fitness is not skinny, it’s not toned, it’s not muscular, it’s not ripped. Fitness is different for each person, depending on their body type, their preferred form of fitness and their experience participating in that form of fitness.
As the founder of Fit University, I believe those things – I really do. And I think it’s incredibly important for students (and people of all ages) to believe those things in order to develop a healthy body and mind. But here’s thing thing – I believe those things to be true for everyone…except myself.
Writing that makes me feel a bit narcissistic actually. Why am I so special? Why am I the one exception to the rule? Read this article about narcissism in the fitness industry that prompted me to come clean about my fraudulent behavior.
What I’m about to reveal is something that I’ve been struggling with for a while now. I’ve felt that since I am the founder of Fit University, and for a lack of a better term, the “face” of Fit University, that I needed to look the part. I needed to look “fit.” And don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m fit. I can squat 200 pounds, run the Harvard Stadium and spin for 3-4 hours at a time (not something I’m suggesting anyone do on a regular basis, but something I’ve had to do while training to be a Cycologist at Cyc Fitness). But despite all that, I’ve felt that because I have a little extra fat on my body – covering whatever six-pack may lie beneath, keeping my arms from looking like those you see on a fitness model – that I am not doing my part as the founder of a health & fitness company.
Therein lies where the fraud starts to creep out. How can I, as someone who is constantly pushing to others that fitness is NOT that fitness model you see on the front of magazines, not believe it myself? All this time while I’ve been preaching fitness for all, I’ve secretly been trying to get my body to a point that I think it should look like as a fitness professional.
And you know what? I’ve been there. I’ve had that fitness model body before. I’ve had those popping shoulders and cut obliques. But you know what else? I love food too much for that shit.
To maintain that sort of figure, you need to do one of a few things:
1. Eat a very regimented diet (or count your macros to a T) every day
2. Have incredible genetics that make you naturally lean
3. Build up muscle and your metabolism over the course of many years
1. Eating a very regimented diet has caused me to have unhealthy attitudes towards food in the past. I’ve counted macros here and there but I can’t seem to get myself to do it consistently.
2. I, unfortunately, do not have those genetics.
3. I’m working on it! This is the ultimate goal but I recognize that it takes time. And even still, I know that being as “lean” as I was in May 2014, all year long, is not healthy. Not getting a period because your body is so low in fat? Yeah, not healthy.
For me, fitness is much more enjoyable when I am moving and eating in ways that make me feel good. I won’t lie…I’d love to have those “boulder shoulders.” I love the look of a woman with strong, muscular arms. But will looking like I have muscular arms make any bit of a difference in my life? Unless I’m competing in a fitness competition (which I’m not…been there, done that), who gives a shit? The answer is NO ONE. No one cares how muscular, or toned, or jacked I look. And if they do – I’m sorry, but please find a hobby to entertain yourself.
You know what people do care about? Practicing what I preach. Being authentic to my company, to my brand and to the words that come out of my mouth.
And so that’s what I’m going to continue to do. No, I do not have the look of a fitness model. No, I do not have a six pack. But you know what I do have?
The strength to move furniture in and out of my apartment.
The stamina to run hill sprints.
The endurance to compete in a Spartan Race.
The judgement to know when my body needs to rest.
Fitness looks and feels different for everyone. It’s time I start believing that for myself.