My adventurous husband was recently contacted with an offer to climb Denali as part of a sponsored climb. I told him if he gets to climb Denali, I'll sign up for a NPC Figure show. 1. Initial justification -- "He'll be risking his life, I get to risk my spirit." 2. Second justification -- "The figure category requires a more chiseled physique, those bodies deserve trophies!"
A good portion of the accounts I've followed on instagram in the past year have been girls posting their journeys through bodybuilding competitions. For the most parts it's been great. It introduced me to a beautiful and athletic side of weight lifting. Gone in my mind are the 1980's images of testosterone filled women. As a random consequence I now have a good idea of what it takes to be "stage ready". Whitened teeth, a deep tan, professionally done hair + makeup, an expensive suit, lots of bling + of course a specific diet and workout regime; it's clear that it's no simple feat. Most of all I have become accustomed to the idea of this all being normal, encouraged, popular, and exciting.
That said, I wish so much that I could prepare for a show to compete and to give it my all. I do not doubt that I could love the entire process. I would put my everything into it, from a coach to the suit. The problem is I'm in love with the idea of it all, similar to when a girl is in love with love, not the man she's dating. She thinks the man is so attractive, has a hard time getting over the "idea" of him, or thinks changing him would solve everything.
If I could, I'd change the industry, and toss all the 5" clear heels and ask that the girls get to walk out barefoot like the men. Or require wearing sneakers, because those girls are athletes, not showpieces. Shorts + a sports bra would be the norm, not a bedazzled swimsuit. Are the guys wearing bedazzled speedos? No. Then why are the women wearing the equivalent? Unfortunately, I'm not a chairman with this sort of power, but I can't help but wonder if other women feel this way? I'm all for the tan, the hair + the makeup. But the rest seems so unnecessary.
While I daydream of such a competition, continue weightlifting, and evaluate who I am it becomes clear that bikini competitions and I are not soulmates, my changes implemented or not.
The reason that this is an issue, is because I enjoy having a goal with athletic aspirations. With running it'd be easy to set goals -- a 5k, 10k, half, full, and so on. Crossfit could lead up to competitions, which I appreciate stick to the sport abilities. But where does weight lifting lead for me? Do I use fitness supplements? Where do I draw the line? What do I want from life??
As Kacey Musgraves points out (in her country version of #yolo) we only get so many trips around the sun.
First of all, I want Landon to not die on Denali, but that's another blog post for another day. I have a gentle +/or sensitive spirit. That is who I am, and I've learned to be open to this and to not fight it. And the end of the day, I want to stay true to who I am at the core, and to stretch, grow + expand from there. At the other side of all my pre-workout drinking, shoulder building, weight lifting dreams, I have a softer side there too. It involves being vegan, aware, conscious, caffeine free and a little yogi.
Maybe I'm over thinking this. I'm still embarrassed by the amount I was struggling to curl this morning, and don't even take a preworkout, yet. But on the other hand, what if we're all not thinking enough about these decisions? I believe I don't consider the state of my spirit nearly enough, and not nearly as much as I consider the state of my silhouette.
I've made a conscious decision to weed out who I follow on instagram the past few months. Though I don't see them in real life, the constant stream of photos shapes my perspective of reality. I've continued to follow a few favorites, Brittany Dawn + Michelle, Mshelll Fitness for example, but have worked on adding a few more moms with cute babes, and other accounts outside of the fitness world with ladies I admire.
At the end of the day, I'd prefer recognition for something other than my physique. So I'll pour extra energy into building a life I love. I will work to find balance between weight lifting, yoga, healthy eating, and staying off instagram more. I want a body I can be comfortable in, just a bit proud of, and a happy soul. Which mean I need to choose something new to work towards (threaten??) if Landon does take on Mt. Mckinley.
"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity" || Margaret Nadauld