This year I’m feeling an overwhelming sensation of the “eff its.”
It seems like ever since I started living a “healthy lifestyle” I’ve been stressed every Spring and Summer about being “bikini ready.” It’s a very subjective term but you can essentially break it down to: “How lean can I get?” and “How much can I make those muscles pop?” I still CARE about my physique, buuuuuuut, not enough to go to extremes. I’ve actually never really gone to extremes. I’m not into competitions and I don’t expect to ever be into them. While I have done a fitness photo shoot and would possibly like to do more in the future, I didn’t even go to extremes to get there. But let me just say that it did take a very concerted effort to get photo shoot lean; I just went about it a bit slower and healthier than others might. It was still quite a challenge though.
This year I’m not stressing about it. I maintain where I’m at pretty effortlessly these days. Yes, I work out pretty regularly, and I eat healthy MOST of the time. I’m pretty confident in my physique despite it’s “imperfections” or “flaws,” as some might call them. I know I train hard and I know I eat well, despite those things. I’m not going to become manic about them though. There’s only so much that I’m willing to do about them.
So like many others this year, the way I’m going to attain my bikini bod is by “putting a bikini on my body.”
But just because I personally feel this way at this stage in my life doesn’t mean that you should feel the same way I do. If you are personally not satisfied with where you’re at, go for it. Push a little harder. Diet a little harder. Do what you need to do. But I do want to warn you; getting there won’t necessarily make you a genuinely happier individual. There will be things that you most likely love that you will most likely have to give up to achieve something that is viewed as unattainable by many.
I’m personally torn on how I feel about the bikini-bod. While I really, really believe in self-love and acceptance, I also understand the need or desire to achieve something the average person does not have. Deep down inside I’m a meathead who loves not only how bodybuilding and fitness make me feel, but how it makes me look. I still love working for a look you do not see every day walking down the street. Chiseled arms, muscular hamstrings… You know.
I’m personally trying to find where I lie on the spectrum of self-acceptance and self-improvement. I don’t believe they have to be completely separate from one another, but sometimes I find fitness pros lean too far one way or the other. As a fitness professional, I feel it’s my job to help push you to push yourself to reach a little further than you would on your own. I’m not here to de-motivate you or pull you back from your dreams. But, as a health professional, I do not and will never promote you pushing yourself to extremes to reach those dreams. I personally believe that once you step out of the borders of health (when your body starts fighting back), it’s time to reign it in a bit and learn to love your body for where it’s at and for what it can do.
Don’t get me wrong, I think you should love your body for where it’s at at any stage during your journey, but as someone who has “been there and done that,” I too have struggled with self-acceptance, so I get you. For many it can be a practice that comes with time. You may always find yourself struggling with some part of your body, and while that’s kind of sad, I also think it’s kind of normal. The hard truth is that some of the thinnest and most beautiful women I have ever known seem to have the most mental struggles with their bodies.
I’m sorry that this post didn’t give you a run-down of exactly how to get a “bikini body,” but that wasn’t the goal. You know how to get there. It generally requires a solid exercise routine including weights and cardio, and a healthy diet with a decent caloric deficit. And if you didn’t know how to get there, well, BOOM! There ya go (barring any metabolic issues you may be encountering). It’s actually putting in the work that’s the hard part. By slowly developing healthier habits, you too may just get to a point where you are mostly happy with your body 365. Year round bikini bod? Now that’s what I’m all about.
For those of you who are concerned about your body not being bikini ready at this point, well, time is running short! It might just be time for you to say “eff it,” put on the damn bikini, and get out there and have some fun this summer! ;)