The ‘Strong Not Skinny’ Movement & My Favorite Fitness Bloggers

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Body positivity has really been in the limelight recently, which I think is a very good thing. I think social norms are changing for the better. We have had the ‘thigh gap’, the ‘bikini bridge’, the ‘suck in your tummy so people can see your ribcage’ and the ‘skinny inspiration’ hashtags floating on Instagram, pushing photos of barely-there models, often alongside plans that promise to make you look like that too. All of this can have some pretty damaging effects, especially on many young, impressionable, insecure girls who fall into the trap of believing they have to look a certain way.

Then came my favourite hashtag: #strongnotskinny. This sums up a large element of my own ethos and attitude towards exercise. I was horrified when I saw the facts about the high numbers of girls who chose to drop out of their sports teams because they were worried about getting too muscly, or that sweating was ‘unfeminine’. Stop right there. Look at the British female Olympic athletes, astonishing the world with their strength, their speed, their skill. Do you think they’d be able to push and challenge the boundaries of what the human body is capable of if they were too busy worrying about having a thigh gap? No, of course not. Here’s the thing, Ladies; a thigh gap says nothing about you except that you’re less likely to get thigh-chafing when you go for a run (I can confirm that this hurts). Nonetheless, unless you have a thigh gap naturally (which there is also nothing wrong with – don’t judge the ladies who do have one either!) this is not a good enough reason to worry about not having one.

When I’m working out, I feel strong, powerful and energised – I feel at my best. Being strong and healthy is much more impressive than trying to look a certain way, so focus your attention more on your training goals, not your body goals. Although it’s true that social media still promotes unrealistic ‘strong’ images and goals, there are lots of people that I’ve come across who put forward the ‘strong not skinny’ concept in a way that makes you feel good, rather than bad.

What I’m trying to remind us of is that it’s not just about looking good, which is very easy to get caught up with, largely thanks to social media and the rise of the ‘fitspo’ selfie. I’d be lying if I said that exercise doesn’t have an aesthetic appeal, of course it does! But it’s also about feeling good, which just so happens to be closely connected to looking good. Knowing that you look strong, fit or toned and that you’re in good shape does boost your confidence, and I like that the focus on woman’s bodies is shifting towards ‘strong’ figures rather than ‘skinny’.

With that in mind, I want to share with you a few of my favourite fitness bloggers (in no particular order!) who all inspire me and have an incredibly positive and motivational attitude towards fitness.

This lady is Supermum, literally. Her energy seems endless, her positive outlook on life and exercise is beyond admirable, and inbetween being a mum to the gorgeous Jude, she keeps fit, she’s an Adidas Ambassador and a runner – did I mention she ran the MARATHON last week?! She also has an amazing figure and the best ‘athleisure’ style that I’ve ever seen (look out for her in Women’s Health Mag!) In the unlikely event that you’re not already, go and follow her for a giant dose of inspiration.

I love Tara’s attitude towards working out and her emphasis on being strong rather than having your body look a certain way (although she does indeed have an amazing body!) And her calisthenic skills are unbelievably impressive too – pole dancing, the flag, handstands…She also teaches a mean sweaty spin class at the Core Collective! Tara is a huge all-round inspiration.

Beautiful poses, beautiful clothes and some incredible skills! Cat is one of the most flexible, elegant and strongest yogis that I’ve ever come across. I have huge admiration for this lady – I also did an interview with her a while ago which you can read here.

You’re probably following her already, but if you’re not, you need to. Another positive, strong and lovely lady (I’ve never met her but I’ve watched enough of her vlogs to guess that she is absolutely lovely!) with abs of steel and a healthy, balanced attitude towards life. She also offers plenty of workout inspiration, and has the coolest Frenchy, Steven, in the world.

Alright, I’m sure you’re all following Alice. However, I felt the need to say how much I love Alice’s attitude  towards the fitness industry. As a personal trainer, her enthusiasm and passion for what she does comes across strongly. I love that she takes a real interest in understanding how the human body works, particularly her interest in mobility movements which people often tend to neglect. She makes it quite clear that her job and interests don’t just lie in ‘workouts’ or ‘looking good’ but she has a real love for learning more about the human body. Not to mention her meal inspiration posts.

Good morning, and my goodness it is a beautiful morning to wake up to ☀️ I was up super early for my course today and so kept breakfast relatively light as I'll want to eat again soon! This morning I had poached eggs on grilled mushrooms with fresh chopped spinach, chilli, tomatoes, crumbled feta and seeds. For those asking, today's course is on postural restoration or PRI and is a two day intensive course. I'm feeling pretty lucky as it's the first time this course has come to the UK, and I can't wait to see some of my favourite faces in the industry there @shona_vertue @olliefrostpt @lbp_adamwillis 🙌🏻 So now, it's time to get my geek on and wish you all a wonderful weekend! #Breakfast #EatWellEveryday #Eggs #EverydayFitness

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Note: I realise that all of these ladies I have mentioned have some amazing abs, and I don’t want ‘abs’ to become the new ‘thigh gap’ by any means, particularly if trying to get abs can make you unhealthy. However, I personally do think that abs are an attractive feature and a ‘strong’ look, although of course you can be fit, strong and healthy without abs. It just so happens that these inspirational women do have abs, but there are plenty of other women who inspire me and don’t have abs!

 

 

 

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