As rewarding as basking in the stage lights or crossing that finish line is, there is a more important reason to do what we do. To steal a theme from one of my idols, Glennon Doyle Melton, we are Fit “Women Warriors”. For many women athletes little eyes are watching and ears listening all of the time. We have the opportunity to set the example for other women, young and old, that it is ok to invest in you, to be brave, and to do something hard.
BUT, without a clear understanding of the bigger picture the wonderful accomplishments of training turn into a constant stream of negative and self-defeating dialogue, both public and private. Even more unfortunate is the picture that can be communicated to others, and worse children. It is important, actually essential, to keep in mind what really matters. “I’m too fat”, “I’m too slow”, “I can’t do it” should be actively stricken from your dialogue. Instead, adopt a mantra of, “I’m going to continue working”, “I’m dedicated to my training and health” and “I’ve come so far and I’m proud of myself”. I challenge everyone to vow to NEVER criticize your training or looks in front of your children. To ALWAYS promote a positive environment of healthy lifestyle, balance and emotional acceptance of yourself.
This goes for communicating on social media as well. It is fantastic to share your journey; accomplishments and goals….you will inspire others. At the same time, be aware of your audience, think of yourself as a professional fitness communicator! Posting a picture of what most of society would consider an amazingly fit body with a rant about being out of shape will get VERY lost on most and contribute to the generalizations made above. At the same time post pictures of your journey and share your hard work with the public in a positive light, I promise there is someone out there who will think, “that is really cool, maybe I can do it too”.
Train like an athlete, think like an athlete, and teach those around you WHY a healthy lifestyle matters. If you are positive, people will want to follow you! If you are a Fit Woman Warrior, do something everyday to make a positive contribution to little-ones developing body image and perception of their athletic capabilities. Be a leader everyday for your friends, family and people you don’t even know in the pursuit of a healthy and happy lifestyle!