WAIF-NOT. 23 Apr 2010
I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here but I'm so pro body diversity that I have to address some of the many wonderful comments that I received after my "bulk" post.
I think that body image/building muscle/genetics are wonderful subjects and I hope this and all that is Lithe-related leaves you with a healthy, strong image of us as a brand and yourself, as a Lither.
I believe that the fashion, beauty and fitness industries should think long and hard about the image that they are projecting on what female beauty should be and the impact that it has on women. I know that I feel compelled to show a greater responsibility. Thanks to everyone for the comments, feedback and thoughts on a very controversial subject(s)!
Lither, Lauren H. weighs in... on her blog, Lithe Life.
"I have always been a "serial weight trainer", working out with personal trainers in various gyms up and down the east coast, but I have never looked (or felt) as strong or toned as I did with Lithe. I guess I wouldn't be ranting about this had it not been for the fact that I just read your post about some girls talking about how they don't want to be "bulky" like some of the instructors, and this just really, really saddens me. As women, we should be supporting, accepting and encouraging women of all shapes and sizes, not trying to conform to an "ideal" body type (or one that has been forced down our throats by the media). I want to cry when I see Bari teaching our class so effortlessly, her beautifully strong legs doing the see-saw or 30 Liberties in a row like it's a stroll down Walnut Street. I'd take her legs any day! And, I've actually known Krista for a number of years now (before Lithe), and am in complete awe of how she has transformed her body through Lithe."
"I love, and have always loved, that Lithe is not a place where everyone looks the same. Some instructors are tall, some are short, some narrow, some with hips, some younger, some older...it's a place where any body type can and should feel comfortable. I digress...but I guess I'm particularly sensitive to these kinds of issues now that I have a baby girl. I worry about what pressure she's going to be under when her genes start to kick in, because it's highly likely she's inherited my "child birthing hips", and my tendency to gain weight in my butt and thighs..."
"You know my build - I am a 5'1" former track & field athlete, with a naturally "stocky" build. I first found Lithe before my wedding last summer and it was literally an "aha" moment - it was the first and only form of working out that I have ever found that keeps me bulk-free. When I Lithe, everything feels tighter and my clothes feel looser. When I run (and I've been running for YEARS), my clothes really do fit more snugly. I love running and don't think I'll ever give it up (love the high of racing, it's like nothing else out there for me), but Lithe is the most perfect compliment for me to keep myself from looking like a line-backer in heels."
"It's so amazing to work out there, because while ALL of the instructors have these absolutely ridiculous and amazing bodies, it's fascinating how DIFFERENT they all are. There are ballerina types and athlete types and cheerleader types and how it's cool, because you can see, if you work out there, how many different kinds of "in shape" there are -- and how anyone working out there can probably see themselves in one of them."
"Someone recently asked me after class if I skip out on the leg classes b/c I have skinnier legs. I said "No, quite the opposite- I do tons of leg and butt classes and that's probably why my legs are skinny!"
"People are nuts, Lauren. I see them coming in with whipped cream-topped lattes and then complaining about bulk. The only time I have ever worried about "bulking" is when I used to do a lot of spinning. Never in Lithe!"
"What I would give to have Krista's stamina, Bari's flexibility, and your dance moves and strength. On a more personal note, I think that you guys are awesome women!"
"One of the things I tell prospective Lithe members when I talk about why they should join Lithe is that women who teach Lithe are all super fit and of different body types."
"I just wanted to shoot you an email about your blog post regarding the “bulky legs” comment some people made. I heard something like that once before in the locker room and it really pissed me off. I wanted to say something at the time but I probably should keep my big mouth closed and keep your locker room drama-free but it was hard."
"This post made me sad! All of the instructors, regardless of body type, are confident and comfortable in their skin- I find it inspiring!! I’ve never had a strong body image, but it’s improving and I have Lithe and its instructors to thank!!'
"I come from a competitive track and cross country background so I saw more body dimorphic disorder than any teenage should have to see and had a male coach who would often say “a light runner is a fast runner”. Ugh. We aren’t teenagers anymore and when I heard similar comments, I was sad for them too."
"You can’t get bulk without doing what someone who has bulk does which is lifts heavy weights and matches that with lots of food. Anyone who knows anything about exercise knows that."
"I’m not saying I never had body issues but I would never make a negative comment about someone’s body especially one that was stronger and way more fit than me! When I started at Lithe I envied Carla & Jackie’s strength during push-ups and was amazed how you and Tif could actually talk while doing Method abs when I was barely hanging in there."
"I have always been skeptical about female focused workouts because they seem to base success on thinness. That new Tracy Anderson stuff is all the rage and she keeps saying stuff about getting a “tiny dancer body” and the word tiny makes me cringe. I’m 5’9” so the only way she could make me “tiny” is to make me really thin. I love how Lithe was and is NEVER like that."
"I consider myself an LTL (Long Time Lither). Lithing, I think, 4 years or so. My addiction to Lithe is not only the results but also the importance of individuality. Lithe has taught me to appreciate the body I have and through Lithe I can feel great and look the best I can.
"I thank Lithe for my favorite physical attribute: my curvy butt because lets be honest, no guy likes a flat ass."
I find it encouraging and refreshing to see so many body types teaching and lithing. I think our Lithe Escape group in October was the epitome of who Lithers are- so diverse in both body types and life experiences. And at the end of the day, I don't want anyone's body parts but my own!
"I hadn’t consciously picked up that you intentionally have instructors with different shapes as they’re all so fit, strong and toned. With that said, I know who I “aspire” to look like, having matched up my shape with this instructors early on!!! The most important characteristic that all share is a positive and happy attitude."
"Keep up the great work and please do pass on to the girls and especially those mentioned how inspirational they truly are, especially to those of us who are too busy/shy to say."
"Some people think they can just show up for a few 60-min classes a week and will look like you, Krista, Bari, Carrie, etc. You have to work during those 60 mins, not just be there! And second, I actually think some people go overboard - running or spinning in the morning and then Lithe in the evening. Did it ever occur to them that this might actually not be the best thing for the body? Like everything else in life, achieving and maintaining a healthy body is all about balance. Genetics + what you eat + what you "do" = your build. There are NO exceptions to that formula - none!"
"I have struggled for years with my 'bulky' quads (no cute jeans fit me - ever!), and always envied girls with long, toned legs. I literally have convinced myself at points in time that if I looked like that I'd be happier. It's something I think so many women struggle with. Would I like to be able to cute wear jean shorts all summer? Yeah, but you know what? When we get to sprints in High Mini - I think I leave a lot of other girls in the dust! And that makes me pretty content..."
Illustration via garancedore.fr