Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Allow me to preface this post by saying I know what I’m about to speak to can also impact men, but for the purposes of this post, I will simply stick to what I know personally – my own female perspective.
It’s out there.
The desire for females to become “toned” is a hot topic; it’s in magazines, books, TV shows, and even in conversations with friends. I’m about to say something I don’t think anybody will see coming – all of this getting toned hype, as it stands right now, does not entirely sit right with me.
Why is this? I go to the gym regularly. I have muscles. I value fitness. I’m constantly cheering for others who decide they want to do the same. What gives?
Well, it seems to me, many of these conversations about getting toned are followed shortly thereafter by a fear of becoming bulky. Many women are scared to pick up weights because of this fear. When I think of getting toned, I think immediately of muscle. Muscle does not happen by accident (though, wouldn't it be awesome if it did?!). Muscle is intentional; it takes work, it takes drive, it takes consistency and above all else it takes a whole lot of hard work. Yet, many of those I've heard from expressing the desire to become toned also express a fear of muscle gain; this leads me to wonder, what is the definition of toned that we’re all buying into? Doesn’t the word toned come from MUSCLE tone? What is it that I’m missing here? How do you become toned without building muscle?
There have been times where I’ve felt insecure about my muscles… then I look around at all the strong women around me and remember how much I have to be proud of. I think we very naturally want to become like those we admire. For me, this is not the female body portrayed by the media, it’s the strong women surrounding me I most want to emulate. They inspire me. I think we need more than one definition of toned to work with because I think there are many, none of which are right or wrong; one definition cannot stand alone as the only ideal. There was a time where doing this would have freaked me out, but for the sake of breaking the stigma, I’m happy to share mine. Count me in as one voice speaking against the masses to do and be what feeds YOUR soul, not what you think others want to see.
Here’s what I know; I love my body just how it is and it took me way too long to be able to say that. I would just like to encourage all women to think for themselves and not for the pack mentality; you are your own person, do what feels right for you (whatever that may look like) and let everything else go.