Recently, someone commented on this picture of me:
Showing off the guns AND the bum!
Their comment was something along the lines of “This picture makes me NOT want to lift. So unflattering”
Now, let’s take a second to think about the picture itself.
I had posted it at the end of this blog post. The whole point of the post was talking about a killer spin class I had taken, and then had followed up the next morning by doing an insane stadium workout with a 15 lb kettle bell in my backpack. To say I felt like a total beast that day would be an understatement.
When I asked someone to take that picture of me following my stadium workout, I knew that I looked like hell. I knew that I looked like, well, like I had just run stadiums with a weighted backpack on. I knew I had a red face and sweaty hair, and to be honest, I really didn’t care.
But when I saw the picture that a very kind stranger took for me, I’ll be completely honest and say that the first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t flattering.
My arms looked big.
But after half a second of that stupid thought, a much more important thought came to my mind. Who CARES what I look like in that very sweaty moment. My arms look big? My arms look STRONG! I had just crushed an awesome workout, and I was proud of what my body had accomplished. To me, that is what that picture shows. Pride in myself and in my capabilities. Pride in my strength and my endurance. Pride in being me.
But let’s go back to the picture and the commenter.
What is that picture, exactly? It’s a very small moment in time. In fact, it’s a screen capture of one shutter click. One fraction of a second. If I had moved my arms one inch up or down, would it be more flattering? If I had held my arms in a different position, and let my booty pop just a little bit, would it be more flattering?
Maybe, but that wasn’t the point.
The point of that picture wasn’t for me to look sexy. It wasn’t to show all my Instagram followers how cut and lean I looked first thing in the morning (I don’t). It wasn’t to show that world that I think I’m perfect.
It was to have proof that I kicked ass that day.
It was to show myself that I made it through one hell of a workout at a time when I wasn’t sure I’d be physically capable of finishing.
It was to remember the feeling of exhilaration I had while finishing those stadium stairs knowing that I had put every last ounce of energy I had into that workout.
It was to show myself that I can, I did, and I will do it again.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at that picture I can see in my face how happy I was at that very moment. I actually love that picture, even though it’s not the most flattering fitness photo I have of myself, and I love showing it off because of the emotion that I think is conveyed. If that makes you not want to lift, than that’s your prerogative, but I’m sorry I just don’t get it.
The thing is, trusty commenter (and I mean this with the most respect), you will not ever look like me, and that I can promise you. Lifting weights will not make you look like that picture. Heck, most days I don’t even look like that picture.
But that picture is about so much more than that singular moment in time. If I took one look at that picture and deleted it because it was “unflattering”, somewhere down the line I would forget about that day. I would forget what my legs felt like on those last few stairs, and I would forget my pride in that very moment. Flattering picture or not, I’d rather remember moments like this rather than just the ones where I looked my best.
Because truthfully, in the times that I look my best, I’m probably not training hard enough.
Yes, sometimes there will be unflattering pictures of you, but if you can find the workout that makes you so gosh darn proud of yourself that you don’t care? That’s what it’s all about.
Fitness is power. And whether you want to “look like me” or not is no concern of mine, but what you should want is that hunger, that pride, that inner strength. That is worth more than any picture could ever be.