We love Meg Boggs and her inclusive attitude to fitness, so we were thrilled to hear about her new book, Fitness for Every Body, which is out now. Here's an excerpt, along with an easy exercise to help us find our fitness why
Fitness is for everybody
So, let’s get one thing clear right now. Fitness is for everybody and looks different on every body. No matter your shape, your size, your background, your capabilities, your strength, or your cardiovascular endurance. (Do you see my point? It bears repeating.) It’s for everybody. Including the women who have gone most of their lives without ever seeing themselves represented in the fitness world outside of a “before” photo. Including every woman who has ever felt invisible in a world that refuses to see her for more than her body, which is unfortunately, and most likely, every woman.
I believed that narrative handed to me by society. The one screaming “You are not enough” until my ears bled. I envisioned a life for myself that involved symmetrical visible abs and a thigh gap. I craved for the moment my clavicle would finally protrude and be seen. (It never happened, even in the dark pits of my eating disorder.) I would ignore the little moments that were happening. The ones when I completed eight reps instead of five. The times when my squat got a little deeper. The times when I felt faster, my breath less shallow, and my shaking arms seemed just a little less shaky. For years, I ignored the little moments that were slowly but surely changing my life.
A health-first approach
Now, I work out without any weight-loss goals. I could not care less if working out the way I do results in weight loss. Maybe it will at times and maybe it won’t. Either way, I’m proud of my body. And I will continue to thank it every day. For some reason, this seems to come off to some as a radical concept. But it’s not. It’s opening the door for all people to know that they can step foot into exercise without feeling as if they can only continue showing up if their bodies are continuously shrinking and conforming to a fitness ideal.
Health doesn’t always look like a size 2 or 6 or 10 or whatever is currently socially acceptable. It doesn’t always look like the least amount of fat possible on someone’s body. A lot of the time, health looks like anyone at any size continuing to show up for themselves in whatever ways feel best for their bodies.
We all fold and bend and roll in places we’re told that we shouldn’t. Our real bodies are fascinating. Beautiful and ever changing. They are deserving of respect. They are also deserving of clothes, chairs, medical care, and basic human rights.
How to find your why
A question for you: If working out, exercising, or any other term you prefer to use for moving your body didn’t do anything to alter your appearance…would you still do it? Think about that for a moment. Because exercising should be about more than your physical appearance. The benefits of movement extend far beyond an aesthetic – it can bring self-respect, self-worth, confidence, and empowerment.
So, how do we develop the right kind of intention when it comes to exercise? Ask yourself these questions before beginning or continuing to explore your relationship with exercise and fitness:
- Do I enjoy this type of movement?
- Am I using exercise as punishment for what I ate or specifically to “earn”
- Does working out feel like a chore?
- Can I finish the sentence “I want to get healthier because ___” with
something that isn’t my appearance?
- Am I distracted by how I look while I’m working out rather than focusing
on my workout?
- Am I missing out on and/or denying life experiences to avoid missing a
- Are there any other tools I can use to manage my stress/anxiety should
exercise not be available?
- Why am I choosing to exercise and what am I hoping to gain that
doesn’t have anything to do with my looks?
- Are the goals that I’ve set for myself realistic for me financially,
logistically, and mentally right now?