Health & Fitness

Physical Appearances vs. Physical Ability: Why do you workout?

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I recently came to the conclusion that working out and going to the gym is too closely related to physical appearances instead of physical ability. The majority of women hit the gym for one purpose only: to reach what they feel the “ideal” body looks like. Girls often get too wrapped up in their appearance. This, in my opinion, is due to the effect that Photoshop and the media has on society; girls see other women getting praised for their bodies and think that’s what they need to look like in order to receive similar attention. The majority of celebrities have toned, tanned bodies and perfectly white teeth. Girls see this and think it’s normal and there’s something wrong with them if their looks don’t measure up.

The media isn’t our only scapegoat here; society is also at fault. We cannot put full blame on the male species either- girls are all too good at voicing their opinions on others (special thanks to social media for making this easier to do!). One cannot honestly say they are completely happy with how their body looks; everyone has their own insecurities, it’s apart of what makes us human. Without these insecurities we would have no reason to change- and change can be, and normally is, for the better.

The hardest part of going to the gym seems to be the actual walk from your car to into the facilities. The millennial generation lacks the motivation necessary to get up and break a sweat. Maybe it’s due to the fact that a majority of the people in the gym are physically fit and that, understandably, intimidates us. We think that by pinning hundreds of diets on Pinterest (you know you’re guilty) will magically help us achieve the “ideal” body. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, nutrition plays a large role in achieving a healthy body, but food is not the sole owner of the key the unlocks the “ideal” body. Exercise and finding the motivation to exercise is equally as important. The majority of the people in the gym are physically fit because they actually go to the gym and put effort into their workouts. You can eat a cheeseburger and gain weight, or run three miles and lose weight. It all starts and ends with having the motivation to change.

If your motivation to hit the gym is based upon physical appearance and wanting society to approve your body, I challenge you to find a new source of inspiration. Yes, aspiring to better yourself is fabulous! But if you want to lose weight or tone your body for the approval of your peers, you will never be completely happy with your results.

I spent a day asking everyone I know what they thought the “ideal” woman’s body looked like. Both the guys and girls described their version of the “ideal” woman as someone who had perfect teeth, long, muscular, lean legs, a strong core, and a muscular butt. As our conversation went on, the guys concluded that there is no perfect body. It is all based on opinion. As long as a girl takes care of herself, she can be categorized by attractive. A girl can be “really hot” and have the best personality- but if she doesn’t brush her teeth and has greasy hair, eats terribly and doesn’t bother to exercise, she may start to be looked at as unattractive.

I quickly concluded that the “ideal” woman’s body lies within the women’s ambition and motivation to be the best version of herself. Since we live in a world where everyone has their own opinions, and are way too happy to voice them, we need to start focusing more on being the best version of ourselves instead of achieving the body of a Photoshopped model. We need to start hitting the gym in hopes of increasing our physical ability instead of reaching what we as society have defined as the “ideal” body. At the end of the day you are you and only you have the power to change that. It all comes down to motivation; where will you find yours?

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