No, the other day when I was writing about getting ready for beach weather, I didn’t exactly mention sport, just the idea of getting ready for the sunny sands and not looking either like a beached whale or a reclining elephant. Obviously I should have mentioned sport and perhaps even diet, but I’m going to make up for it here, at least as far as the sport is concerned. Diet is a completely different matter which, perhaps, I will write about another time.
But let’s get right down to it. This is what we have as our ideal:
Photo Source: favim
Slim and fit, not skinny and all bones with a tightly stretched layer of thin skin across the top. Curves in all the right place, no floppy bits, nothing that hangs over or causes awkward shadows.
And right away we can say: it doesn’t work for everyone. We’re not all going to look like this, not even with the most expensive plastic surgery or a whole heap of make-up. Live with it, it’s a fact of life. I’ve never understood people who want to look exactly like another person, either through their clothing, their hairstyles or anything else. What is the point? We’re all individuals, we’re all unique and we’re all, in our own way, special. The ideal, though, that is something else.
If we can’t all look like this – a good thing – then we can at least work hard enough so that someone else says we’re fit, we’re fine, we look good. And, even more important, we feel good with ourselves and with our bodies.
Photo Source: girlswithmuscle
Never underestimate the feel-good factor! If you are happy with what you have, what you have achieved, then half the battle has been won. If everyone else is happy too, then you’re at a good ninety percent. Aiming for the big, round, one hundred percent is a little bit over the top. Even the finest athletes don’t make it to one hundred, and they spend much of their time training.
Training, though, is not simply a case of signing up for a fitness studio and spending an hour or so working at the machines. There is far more involved than just running on a treadmill and sweating buckets. Not that women sweat, oh no, that would be far too unladylike! Training is as much, for those of us not directly involved in competitive sports, about toning up what we have as about forming new muscles or, to put it better, bringing out those muscle groups we already have and which make us look just Wow.
Photo Source: thehubsa
Training is a mixture of different things: the fitness studio can be one of those things; yoga; a bit of meditation and relaxation; seeing reality for what it is. Training, toning up and so on are as much about personal goals as about inner peace and calmness. The ability to accept what we are and be happy with what we have achieved. There is no point at all in trying for an ideal which is unattainable, which is so far out of our grasp that we can never be happy with our bodies. Training is also not about buying all the latest gadgets and believing all the promises which come with them.
To get the perfect toned body we don’t need all these gadgets. What we need is the will to work, patience and perhaps a few household objects with a little bit of weight – to stretch us more than anything else – and peace and quiet. We need the dedication of an athlete, of a sportswoman, mixed with the acceptance that life isn’t going to bring us everything we desire. There is no point in sacrificing your normal life, your daily tasks, in order to get ready for something, such as the beach, and then finding that all those things you should have done bring nothing but stress because they’re still waiting to be completed and we suddenly don’t have the time to get out there and sun ourselves.
Photo Source: amazonsworld
So what is sport for the normal woman? What can we do when our normal, working day is already pretty much filled with other obligations?
I don’t doubt for one moment that we can all find one hour each day when it is possible to just settle down and do something for ourselves. Maybe even a half hour. The chances are we don’t need more than that, unless, of course, we’re so stuffed after the various celebrations of the last few months that even the largest size yoga pants in our wardrobe don’t fit any more.
And what do we do with this hour?
Gentle, concentrated work. It’s not going to happen overnight. No matter what anyone tells you, it probably isn’t going to be over in just a few days or even weeks either. Getting toned up, getting fit for the skimpy-fashion season is a long-term project. Anyone who is really proficient in their fitness work will tell you that diving straight in and expecting immediate results is a fantasy; you’re more likely to strain something, more likely to injure yourself than anything else.
Photo Source: photoshelter
In this hour each day – or half hour if the time is so restricted – we work through different cycles of training: a little weight training; a little stretching; a little jogging; swimming and so on. We concentrate on a specific area one day, and a different area the next. Let the muscle groups we challenged yesterday rest before calling them in to play once more. Let the muscles relax, rebuild themselves.
And, very important, we don’t work out for the full hour either. Begin with a warm up to get ourselves ready, to prepare the area we wish to train for the work coming up. And we warm down afterwards, gently, to get ourselves back into a calm and relaxed state. We start with a small target, like thirty slow crunches followed by stretches and so on, and work through until this target has been achieved, until we know that the target is easy to achieve. The step up to the next challenge, add a few more.
We jog a few miles, slowly, relaxed, getting our breath and our stride right, finding the best routes to follow. Next time we might go a little bit further, or a little bit faster. We take it easy and we enjoy what we’re doing. Sport and training for that summer beach figure is just as much about enjoyment as anything else.
Photo Source: thefreshgirls
And we’re honest with ourselves too. There is no point in making yourself a training regime and then cheating on it. Who are you fooling? And honesty is also about targets set: can we really achieve what we think needs to be achieved, or should we be content with what is possible, what is practical? As I wrote near the start of this post, setting a target which is unattainable, trying to look like a competitive athlete or a superstar with a professional trainer on hand at all times of the day and night, is also pointless.
Then again, when I look at this last photograph – and this is the reason I’ve included it – I also wonder what is the point of wearing it. I mean, if you’ve got your confidence so high and your body so well toned that you could wear this little bit of absolutely nothing, you might just as well work up to not wearing anything at all! But that is a completely different level of confidence!
Love & Kisses, Viki.