There seemed to be less "New Year, New You" advertising this year. Still, on a walk recently, I noticed a "coming soon" sign on a soon to open fitness facility. The advertisement showed barely clad muscled bodies gleaming with faux sweat. Trendy haircuts and edgy body art completed the look. The models were hot! The idea, of course, is that you will be too if you work out there. I'm not knocking them, we all know sex sells, but in a world with an aging, sedentary population, this approach is (pun intended) getting old and fails to meet the needs of most. Very few people look like that, even within the fitness industry, and I couldn't help but wonder why we tell people not to judge others by their appearance and then promptly do exactly that? Just because you look good, doesn't mean you're fit. So often it is struggle to be authentic and align our actions and words. The solution? Practice.
Part of the reason I enjoy Pilates is because it is a practice. I have recently been taking some Pilates classes at different locations (always good to be a student) and one of the other students in class asked me what keeps me doing Pilates after so many years? I replied that Pilates allows me to do everything else. The core strength and body awareness leave the studio with you and help you navigate the physical and mental challenges of daily life. Joseph Pilates said, "with body, mind, and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person." That person can be of any shape and size.
I've been at a professional crossroad lately, trying to make sense of where to go next. I love what I do, but wonder if I'm out of touch? What I understand as a professional in both the educational and fitness environment do not align with the package that is sold regularly. I often tell stories and make jokes about the history of my industry and my own personal fiascos in navigating the nonsense along with the science. The truth is, I like making people feel comfortable because I know how hard we can be on ourselves, and the way we look. Over the years, I have had many people comment on my body, not all positive. I recognize that I do not have the aesthetic that many have come to associate with a dancer or Pilates instructor but my body is capable and so is yours. It is so rewarding helping people discover the joy of movement, it's fun to watch people surprise themselves!
I don't mean to say we shouldn't strive to be better versions of ourselves but those better versions will be as varied and unique as the individual.
Pilates, among other things, gives me the strength and confidence to try new things. My body functions well and lets me undertake those challenges. Spending too much time in front of a mirror can sometimes cast doubt about what a body should or shouldn't look like. Challenging yourself with a new class, or a different activity will remind you of what you are capable of and what is ultimately important; how well you function. Instead of focusing on your perceived individual figure flaws, pick something fun you've wanted to try and let's work on it. Here's looking at you!