Category Archives: Health

Are you inadvertently body shaming?

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I’m sure that everyone has read the many, many articles available on the internet about body shaming and why it’s wreaking havoc on our self-esteems. It’s become a major issue in people’s everyday lives, as well as in the fitness world.

Body shaming is not boiled down to just “fat shaming.” Shaming has many facets and categories in which people feel the need to place each other in. Basically, whatever people feel is not aesthetically pleasing in their own minds is “wrong.” Yep, this means that basically no matter what you look like, someone out there is going to think that it is too much or too little. Too fat, not toned enough, too muscular, not curvy enough, too skinny, not tall enough. Holy crap, where does it end?!

It ends by us making a conscious effort to change the dialogue and our mindsets on the issue.

Now before you think, “I would never body shame anyone!” I encourage you to think back on if you have ever said any of these things to yourself or maybe a friend in casual everyday conversation.

“That person is too fat to wear that outfit.”

“That woman is too muscular. Being toned is alright, but she looks manly.”

“That woman is too thin; she has no curves.”

“She would look better if she just lost some weight.”

“That girl needs to eat a sandwich.”

Honestly people, knock it off. This fat/fit/skinny shaming thing has gotten so out of control. Blame the media, blame magazines and Photoshop all you want. At the end of the day, it’s what we say about other people’s bodies and how we approach the topic that is the issue here. I absolutely encourage and embrace when people are being #bodypositive, but when it’s bashing the opposite body type to praise your own, is it truly getting us anywhere? If you’re saying these types of things to people, behind their backs, even thinking this way, you are continuing on this ugly trend. If we don’t acknowledge when we do it, we are saying that it’s okay. Which we can all agree, it is not.

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So, what can we do to reverse this?

Sure, we can’t control what the media and tabloids put out into the world. We can’t control the negative internet trolls who post vile content. We can however choose to lift each other up, and acknowledge when we aren’t. We can choose to be kind and focus on the beauty of differences in our bodies. We can encourage each other to find our healthiest selves no matter what that looks like on the outside. Again, this begins by changing the dialogue, or deleting negative words entirely.

Positivity is contagious. The sooner that we make a change in our attitudes towards body shaming, the sooner the issue will widdle away.

Written by Kara Foote

Are comparisons killing your body image?

shutterstock_235975732My coworkers are hot. At both of my jobs, physical fitness is key to the type of work we need to do. Therefore, everyone I work with is in ridiculously good shape. This is especially true in the dance company that I work for. Everyone is crazy lean and toned, because most of the time we are taking each other’s full body weight and executing crazy lifts. Believe me, this is not always determined by gender or body size. The women and men work on a pretty even playing field as far as partnering goes. “Greek gods and goddesses,” “Jacked as sh**,” and “Beastly” are all descriptions that are often associated with the group.

Being surrounded by very fit people can be both a blessing and a curse. Training and conditioning with my fellow dancers is beyond motivational. We are always there for each other, encouraging growth and pushing each other out of our comfort zones. I consider it healthy competition, and most of the time it’s a totally enriching experience. However…there are often days, weeks, maybe even months where the experience falls on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I am human, and like many others, am extremely critical of my own body. (This probably spawned from staring at myself in the mirror for 18+ years of my life in all of my dance classes.) Having to be in decent shape to perform properly for my job can also be a whole lot of pressure, especially when you have other factors such as casting, tiny unflattering costumes, and long cardiovascular work to consider. It’s enough to make you scream. Due to the nature of my job, I’m also being compared to my coworkers a lot of the time. When you’re competing for a role with someone who is in far better shape than you, it can be discouraging. It can make you feel like less than, unworthy, and just plain awful.

“How do you even compete? She looks like she’s made of stone. Look at those abs. Your abs don’t look like that, you just look mushy next to her. I have to stand next to her in a sports bra and briefs…crap. Everyone keeps saying how great she looks. Nobody ever says that I look good, so that must mean that I look fat.” *Continues on into a downward spiral of self-shaming BS.* This is an actual internal dialogue I had this past week.

I finally reached my breaking point, and then proceeded to realize how ridiculous I was sounding. Continuing to think this negatively about myself isn’t going to help me in any way, shape or form. In fact, it’s doing nothing but making me feel worse and giving myself permission to not work as hard because I’ll “never measure up”…and that is total crap.

Comparing and picking ourselves apart based on how other people look isn’t only self-deprecating, but it’s unrealistic. I measure in at a whopping 4 feet 10 inches, and my body is an entirely different structure than that of my coworkers. If I wanted to look exactly like that friend I compared myself to, I would have to make some drastic and unhealthy life changes to get the same results. Our body composition is very different, as she builds muscle very quickly and I do not. That doesn’t mean that hers is better, it is only different. In fact, we could weigh exactly the same and do the same type of workouts and I would still get drastically different results, merely because of my stature…and that is okay. Every body is unique, and we lose sight of that when the hotness factor comes into play.

Here is the issue – I’ve only been focusing on the negative. I’ve looked at what others can do that I cannot. What they have that I don’t. I haven’t been giving my body credit for what it is capable of and what it’s good at! Yeah, I’m pint sized and maybe I’m not able to lift as heavy or build as much muscle as others…but my strength may lie in other areas. For me, that includes being quick, having the ability to be delicate, and then surprising people by how functionally strong I am, although I don’t look it. I might not have 6-pack abs on the outside, but I do have a strong core that serves my dance training the way I need it to. I have a lot more strengths than I give myself credit for, and I bet you do the exact same thing.

No matter what career path we choose, we will all have negative thoughts and feelings about the way we look. It’s part of being a human, and it’s totally valid. But when it happens, we need to let ourselves feel it, acknowledge it, and move forward. Wave it goodbye, maybe even flip it off as it moves into the distance, because you do not need it. Find your own version of “hot”, whatever that means to you, and roll with it. No matter what your own definition of the word is, it shouldn’t be based off of your neighbor’s. Your body is yours for a reason. It’s time to celebrate our own body composition and acknowledge everything that we are capable of.

Written by Kara Foote

Why Small Gyms Do It Better

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We have all seen the commercials and advertisements for the oh so popular under $20 gym memberships. Gym chains offering these “deals” are popping up all over the place. However, is the cheap price tag worth all of the inconveniences that come with a big chain? Poor customer service, crowded peak hours, machine wait times, and sneaky membership fees are just naming a few. So then what can you do if this doesn’t seem like the place for you? Gym small!

Private community oriented gyms are the way to go if you’re totally over the chain life. There are numerous benefits to joining a smaller club, and I assure you that you get more bang for your buck when you actually enjoy going to the gym! Here are a few of the positives!

A friendly staff

In smaller health clubs, the staff is trained specifically with the interest of the customer in mind. We want to make sure that your gym experience is nothing but the best, and that starts as soon as you walk in the door. Have you ever walked into that popular big-name gym, only to find that there’s nobody at the desk to assist you? You won’t find that here! We are here to help with any questions you might have, and greet you with a smile. Small gym = extra love for each and every member.

A homey space

Personally, I hate feeling like I’m working out in a giant warehouse. In a private health club, you can kill your workout in an environment that feels more like home. Here at Benefitness, our club has many different rooms to suit your needs. That means whether you are in the mood for a communal group exercise class, or want a more private place for your workout, we have options for both!

Less waiting, more kicking butt

Nothing is worse than having to stand around waiting for a cardio machine, especially when you just want to get in a quick sweat session. Even during “peak hours,” that’s not an issue here! Although we are a small club, we have more than enough machines to accommodate everyone, so you don’t end up wandering around wasting your time. There also isn’t a limit to the amount of time you can spend up in our cardio loft, so you can take as much time as you need to without getting kicked off a machine.

Smaller class size, more class options

Less members means smaller class sizes! You won’t feel crowded in our group exercise classes, and can still get the attention and form corrections from the teachers. Our instructors make everyone feel welcome, and encourage our members to work to their fullest potential. Our schedule includes over 60 classes per week; ask a staff member for a recommendation if you’re not sure which is right for you. If you’re still looking for more personal attention in class, we now offer small group training classes as well. Check at the front desk so we can hook you up with your first one for free!

Community

Nothing makes you feel more welcome than a community style gym. We want you to feel like you’re working out with friends, and actually enjoy the time you spend here. No judgment, no stress, no BS. Shouldn’t it always be that way? We believe that our members are truly the best. Everyone is welcoming and excited to share the space with you and break a sweat together…and that includes ladies from all walks of life. Our club ranges from teens to seniors and everyone in between. In our diverse and open community, you will always feel welcome!

More membership options

No matter your gym going needs, smaller gyms like Benefitness have a lot more membership options than our competitors. We offer monthly plans, pre-paid memberships, as well as short-term options if you’re only with us for a little while! Did you know you can also get a discount on your plan if you’re a student or senior citizen? We even have corporate discounts available. (Check with us to see if your business applies.) When you sign on with us, you get to choose the best option that works for you, and our staff will be sure you get you the best deal.

TIP: If you come in for a tour of our club, we take half off of your enrollment fee!

Come check us out! We currently have our Summer Special running! 12 weeks for $199, or if you’re a student, $189 for 3 months + 1 month free! Call and schedule a tour, or walk on in and our staff will show you around. We can also hook you up with a free class pass so you can give the gym a try! These awesome deals are just one more reason to ditch the corporate chains and gym small!

Written by Kara Foote.

 

Loving Every Morning

Loving Every Morning – by Kara Foote

I’m one of those people that needs to wake up early. To some people, that sounds totally crazy. To me, taking a little extra time in the morning to prepare myself for the day is a necessity. This helps me avoid two things that I hate. 1. Being late, and 2. Feeling rushed. Nobody wants to be running around their house first thing in the morning when they’re still half asleep. Not only will you be starting your day off full of anxiety, but you’ll probably be taking on unhealthy habits for the sake of getting out the door. Like drinking 3 cups of coffee just so you can feel alive for the first hour of work. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Believe me, it’s taken me a while to grow to love mornings. Honestly, it just took me a while to figure out what I need to begin my day on a good note. I think that everyone should have a meditative approach to starting the day, so that you don’t feel like you’re totally unprepared for the hectic day ahead. Hopefully this advice will help you get up and get going, so that you can be your most productive self.

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It starts the night before. Eliminate all of the morning guess work before you go to bed. Lay out all of your clothes, workout gear, shoes, whatever you need for that particular day. I’ve even gone to the lengths of setting out my makeup in order of application to kill some extra time. (That might be overkill, but you get the point.) Setting things out in advance also means you can change out of your pajamas first thing, which definitely helps avoid climbing back into bed.

Find something to look forward to. What would totally make your morning? Personally, I love making time to cook a nice breakfast for myself. Or brewing a rich cup of coffee with my French press. Do something for yourself. Do something that you can enjoy mindfully, that leaves you feeling great and like you accomplished something already. It’s only 7:30 and you already cooked breakfast and cleaned up the dishes. Look at you, conquering the day like a boss.

Take it easy on the caffeine. I know I know, I just mentioned my French press. Most of us know how magical coffee can be. That being said, make sure you don’t go overboard and end up jittery, only to crash an hour later. It might be tempting to go for the coffee as soon as you wake up, but try and replace that with a big glass of water. Our bodies become dehydrated during the night, and putting coffee in your stomach first thing will dehydrate you even more. Guzzle down some water first before anything else. I assure you, your body will thank you.

Get moving. I’m not saying you need to go do an hour of cardio and lifting right out of the gate. If going to the gym in the morning is your thing, by all means do it! There are a lot of benefits to early morning workouts. Not to mention, you can get it out of the way and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day. When I say get moving, I mean anything at all. A quick dynamic stretch session is a great way to wake up your body. If I have a particularly uneventful morning, I like following along with a slow flow yoga video of some sort. Even just stretching your neck and doing some shoulder circles is a good start. Get your blood flowing. Consider it your warm up for the day.

What is your idea of the perfect morning?

For me, waking up is far more than just getting out of bed. It’s getting my body and mind ready for whatever gets thrown at me. It’s about more than setting ten alarms, putting your clock across the room, and not hitting snooze. It’s about enjoyment, and doing what you need. If you could choose your perfect morning, what would it consist of? Now, how can you allow every morning to have that feeling? I’ve gotten into the habit of opening my blinds first thing, and enjoying my cup of coffee in front of my three big bay windows. It gives me the illusion that I’m in some fancy beach house. Do whatever you need to do. Soak in the sunlight. Meditate. Practice mindfulness in simple morning tasks. Why should we continue to suffer through daunting mornings full of stress when we could be waking up on a positive note every single day? Waking up early and taking the extra time for yourself is beyond worth it.