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The Feminine in Fitness - Part 1

Is it any wonder that we can’t sustain exercise in the long term? We look around at others who devote themselves to “the lifestyle” of waking up every day at 4:45 am to hit the gym, hit harder on the weights, and grind until we see results… And then we are expected to keep doing it until we die. THAT - my friend - is what a successful life looks like when it comes to fitness…And hopefully you know by now that I am being DRAMATICALLY sarcastic for good reason ;)

But as I sit here on my sofa, in my fuzzy purple robe, I have to tell you that I went to bed 2 hours ago and couldn’t sleep because this whole idea behind the Feminine in Fitness has been flooding my mind – because it’s really freaking important. It is perhaps the missing link to a healthy relationship (NOT just with exercise) but with body movement and awareness as a whole.

Way back in mid-century Greece, gymnasiums were created for the purpose of training male athletes for the competitive games. These events were held in a Colosseum to determine the champion – the greatest of them all. And as a result, the purpose of each and every “training” that was held in these gyms was to create discomfort and even pain so that these men would push themselves to be bigger, faster and stronger than the rest. To compete to be the best.

I think it goes without saying that women were never factored into these establishments back in the day. Women in their fierce, independent energies have demanded opportunity so consistently enough that we have been able to create a world where your local squat rack and turf facilities have both a men’s and women’s locker room now. Women compete in the same fashions as men in competitive games, as long as they are willing to endure the challenges, discomfort and inevitable pain that come with a competitive lifestyle.

This is the fitness world as we know it. Shoot, this is America as we know it. It has been engrained into us from centuries, nearly millenias, ago. But because humans have existed for much longer than that, I am asking you sincerely to explore the history of “human body movement” prior to the competitive game eras.

Perhaps the paleolithic era is a timeframe we can explore for this. A time where “hunter gatherer” motives were what primarily dictated our body’s main movements. We scavenged and foraged for vegetation, climbed trees in the forests for fruit, and eventually hunted wild game for sustenance.

When women as breast feeders to their young were bound to the responsibility of motherhood, men were assumed to have taken on the role of hunting. History confirms that men even during these times were built with more muscle and stamina compared to their female counterparts. And perhaps this was even a place and time where the idea of “the masculine human” was originally born.

Movement from a female’s perspective during these times was much more methodical. She moved to perhaps scavenge for plants and care for her young. There was much less sprinting and killing the prey for her, because again, childbirth and caregiving was much more common, frequent, and laborious. All of her energy was devoted to this. It was a constant, methodical dance that she participated in with nature. Not a high-intensity chase like her partner was living.

And even in our society today, we hear it all over your local influencers page What you ‘should’ be doing is getting 30-60 minutes of HIGH INTENSITY exercise at least 3 times a week – Bull shit. What if you are autoimmune and in a flare? What if you are chronically inflamed? What if you just, first and foremost, need to develop a psychologically healthy relationship with exercise in a low-stress state? These are all obvious examples of situations where people should not be participating in high-intensity exercise, as it could naturally cause their health to deteriorate versus improve upon itself! It was well put when someone once said “True health is not necessarily the equivalent of fitness.”

So in a nutshell, we all understand the predominant masculine side of fitness – strive, compete, build, grow, results, achieve, etc. But what about our feminine side? What does that even look like? If you have followed along so far, I am going to kindly ask you to shift gears here and take a 180 degree turn to a softer side. As both a woman and a recovering masculine conformist it is not easy to hear what I am about to speak about because it shakes the foundation of everything we have ever known with exercise. The only thing I want to say here is that this is a safe space to explore your relationship with exercise. If you truly love and believe in a healthy relationship with physical movement for yourself, read my other article on how to find The Feminine in Fitness. It is definitely a place where you can find answers to your lifelong questions with exercise.

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