September 21, 2020
So awhile back, I wrote about how you can love your body AND still want to lose weight. The shaming that goes on whenever the topic of weight loss comes up still bothers me, but I really loved reading your discussion on that post. It’s something we NEED to talk about. It’s not a black or white subject.
We need to stop shaming and instead focus on understanding and supporting each other’s goals, even if they’re not the same as our own.
Which brings me to another “touchy” subject I’ve seen a lot of judgment around. Is it okay to have fitness goals that are purely physical?
For example, what if you set out on a fitness journey JUST because you’re dying to grow your booty, or to get your abs crop top ready? Is that okay? Or is that cause for concern?
You know we’re gonna talk about it.
The pros to “physical” workout goals
Let’s start with the positives.
First of all, ANY goal gets you started. It lights the fire under you that so many people struggle to find. I can’t tell you how many people say they are going to start working out just because they “know they should.” That’s their reason. They go in aimlessly, without anything specific to work towards. That often leads to discouragement and giving up completely.
Second, having a physical goal is just more tangible. I think we can all agree that progress that you can physically SEE is one of the best motivators. There’s just nothing like seeing your hard work pay off. It’s a HUGE confidence booster. And when you feel more confident, you’re more willing to finally tackle other goals in your life that you’ve put off due to lack of confidence.
Lastly, the physical goals bring so much more than physical results. If you get the abs you want, you might notice that you stand taller and your back doesn’t hurt anymore. If your arms are more toned, it’s going to be easier to pick up your kids all day long. Your time in the gym might become your time to burn off stress or manage anxiety. Maybe you just needed the time for you. There’s an endless list of things that could stem from one little physical goal.
Yes… there are downsides too
I’m not gonna pretend like there are no downsides to this.
Because those physical results are so satisfying, it’s also easy for them to become addicting. And sometimes, it gets to a point where it’s never enough. And what happens if your body doesn’t cooperate the way you want it to? What if your body type is just never going to fit what you want?
Dealing with that is hard and can lead to a road of more extreme, dangerous measures.
For some people, there could be issues when they DO get the results they want. This makes me think about my days doing bikini competitions because maintaining those physical goals was basically impossible. The second I’d let off the gas, I’d lose the physique I worked so hard for because my body just wasn’t meant to look that way all the time. My body fat was too low, I was super strict with my diet, working out ALL the time, and I was tired. I realized those goals weren’t serving me.
Of course, most people aren’t doing something as extreme as bodybuilding or bikini competitions. But it’s the same concept. For some, seeing hard work pay off with physical results can grow into an obsession. Just like any reason you might be motivated to workout or eat better, it’s really easy to get carried away or lose yourself in goals that are just unrealistic.
Your “why” is YOURS
If your “why” for working out and eating healthy foods starts out as something physical, that’s okay. Because your “why” is YOURS.
Other people may not understand it, and that’s okay. It’s personal.
What’s important is coming back to your “why” over and over again. Reflect and evaluate if it’s serving you, and keep going. That means if you started going to the gym for abs, it’s possible that after some time you’ll realize that now you want to KEEP going to the gym because working out makes you feel happy. On the other hand, reflecting on your “why” may help you realize that wanting abs has turned into feeling guilty every time you skip the gym. If your why isn’t serving you, it’s time to take a step back.
My point is, you’re doing this for you. And with that comes the responsibility to take care of YOU.
Don’t be surprised if your physical goals turn into more
Just because you set out on a journey for abs doesn’t mean you should ignore all of the other benefits of working out. You might be surprised to find that some of the other benefits of fitness actually impact you more in the end!
Maybe you weren’t working out consistently before, but now that you’re dedicated to a workout routine, you notice that your stress is WAY down. Or maybe you notice you’re sleeping better than you have in years.
Maybe paying attention to your diet for those abs has also given you the gift of more energy and a better mood.
Maybe, those are things you didn’t even realize you needed.
Even if those were never part of your initial “why,” don’t ignore them! Once you achieve your main goal and your abs are shining through, those other things will keep you motivated. When the physical “challenge” is complete, you’ll always have more to work on if you notice all of the little things. That’s the kind of (healthy) addiction I have found on my fitness journey.
Some tips for staying on track and keeping your goals positive
Here’s my advice if you set out on a physical fitness goal. Actually, it’s pretty much the same advice I’d give for ANY goal.
- Start small and make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
- Have a secondary goal. If your goal is abs, also set a smaller goal to workout 3 times per week. Your big goal is going to take awhile, so having smaller ones to build on will keep you motivated!
- Don’t be hard on yourself, and remember to celebrate the small wins!
- Reflect and reevaluate your “why” constantly.
- Find a strong support system.
We’re all on our own journey. Let’s support each other!
Before we jump to conclusions about everyone else’s journey, we need to remember that we’re all on the same team.
Especially in this community! Different things work for different people. Wanting abs may seem shallow to you, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be important to someone else. Just like how some people will never understand how running can feel like anything other than torture.
That’s just the cool thing about fitness. There are options, goals, motivators, and benefits for EVERYONE. All types of people. And we’re all going to start somewhere. That “somewhere” shouldn’t be cause for judgment.
Let’s help each other embrace our own unique “why,” and support each other as we build and grow onto that “why.”