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A Rant and Rave: Fitness is Not Just for the Super Fit!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Super Woman, Kymberly

Sometimes I Feel Like Super Woman. And Sometimes I Am!

Workout Words That Move You

Do you find the following workout saying a turn on or turn off: “Go Hard or Go Home!”?

I find this “so called” inspirational quote so maddening and wrong. Wrong, I tell you! Stick and stones may break our bones, but words will always affect us!

Last weekend Alexandra and I attended the LA Fitness Expo, an event we  suspected attracted few baby boomers, though lots of hard body youngsters. We love youngsters. Between us we have spawned three. Yet, we recognized that “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore” as we looked at the words and messages plastered throughout. (We were at the Expo performing posture assessments on behalf of the attentive, service-oriented, and fun Sherpa company. Like us, they value midlifers).

Pain and Punishment

As Alexandra and I cruised the trade show aisles, we noticed a trend in the key words on booths, marketing materials, t-shirts, and tattoos. (Yes, I read tattoos as there was a lot of bared skin at the expo). The text was so overpowering and thematic, I started a list of words that stood out:

punishment –  beast – raw – fight – pound (as a verb, not noun) – brutal – challenge – ultimate – barbed wire (?!)

The overwhelming message was that exercise is painful, should hurt, is hard core, and meaningful only if attacked with full force. Not really sure how the barbed wire fits into the equipment bag, but then I am still getting used to seeing large tires being flipped over as the way to fitness. No wonder our nation is leery of exercise. This journey into “land of the Ueberfit” appears daunting and so negative. “Be All in Or Get Out!” How enticing is that for the new or occasional exerciser who most needs support and motivation??!

Thailand Beast Sculpture

Who Wants to Embody the “Beast” Workout?

I see the same sort of “admonition motivation” all over instagram and Facebook as well. Repeated postings warn us that:

  • “Sweat is Weakness Leaving the Body.”
  • And that we have to “Suck it Up Now so You Don’t Have to Suck it In Later.”
  • Apparently name calling is also de rigeur: “‘Obsessed’ is What the Lazy call Dedicated.”
  • Were you aware that “Excuses are for People Who Don’t Want it Bad Enough”?

Two Negatives Don’t Make a Positive

Am I showing a baby boomer undies gap? None of these messages encouraged me to work out. All of them are negative with an aspect of alienation. They made me want to ice my knee joint, take a nap, and hide my menopot under layered workout wear with a lot of give. Or run away, but without the running.

If I felt excluded and overwhelmed — with a lifetime of being active as a former aerobics competition winner, athlete, and fitness professional with 33 years in gyms and clubs — how do most midlife women feel when bombarded with such messages? Exercise is not just for lean and fit hard bodies. It’s for every body. Especially the soft bodies.

Threatening Sculpture

Whip Into Shape or Else!

Progress Over Perfection

As fitness professionals, my sister, many of our colleagues, fellow healthy living bloggers, and I hope to motivate you to move. Often. Consistently. With joy when possible. Age actively for all the positive reasons. Don’t “whip yourself into shape.” Instead acknowledge your progress. Celebrate your movement minutes. Find what you enjoy and do that. If we want to stay active for a lifetime, we have to enjoy the process. I am positive about that, you ultimate raw beasts!

Readers: What do you think of the perennial classic “No Pain, No Gain”? Do you have a favorite exercise quote?

Strive for Progress, Not Perfection

Our Kind of Saying. Just Sayin’


About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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9 Responses to A Rant and Rave: Fitness is Not Just for the Super Fit!

  1. Elle February 6, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Interesting read today. I think it all depends on the wants/needs/goals of the individual involved.

    If someone is happy to walk and talk and enjoy the camaraderie or solitude that brings… good for them.

    If someone else wants to bounce nickles off their abs and have ‘killer’ arms, good for them, too.

    Whatever moves you is fine with me. And I do think that there are LOT of subjective ‘definitioins’ of the word FIT out there.
    Elle recently posted..#SelfLoveAcademyMy Profile

  2. Kymberly February 6, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    I agree Elle that 1) most answers to fitness questions start with “It depends.”and 2) the definition of fit may vary person to person, though it always contains an aspect of endurance, lean muscle mass, strength, and flexibility.
    I have nothing against the super fit. I was once one of them. They are the “easy” people to keep motivated. It’s the rest of the population (the Majority!!) who get bombarded with messages of “all or nothing” and then opt for nothing.
    Kymberly recently posted..Healthy Smoothie Recipe using Frozen Fruit BarsMy Profile

  3. Jody - Fit at 56 February 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    This is what I put on my FB page with a share of your post: This is a great discussion since we see this all over social media. My thoughts have changed with age. I used to be that person that Kymberly Williams-Evans discusses who had all the push yourself to the max quotes. I still feel you need to at least push yourself beyond “casual” or” I can talk for hours on end” type of exercise DEPENDING on what your end results are for you. I have a certain look I want for me BUT not everybody wants that or even has the willingness to put in the time in the gym or wherever & the food too. My fav sayings are different now for sure but if people ask me what they need to do to look like me or to get lean or whatever their personal goal is – I tell them the truth to meet what they are trying to accomplish for themselves.

    I so love progress not perfection!!!!!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Core Power Winner & My Own Abs/Core ExercisesMy Profile

  4. Ellen February 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    This one really speaks to me, as a soft-bodied “elderly” (well past menopause) person who never liked exercise, but is trying to keep moving as much as is tolerable. Any kind of encouragement is helpful to me. Any kind of criticism is not.
    One of my simple New Year’s visions was simply “Move more”!
    It’s working…
    Ellen recently posted..Healthy Smoothie Recipe using Frozen Fruit BarsMy Profile

  5. Chloe Jeffreys February 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    While I actually enjoy these sorts of die hard motivational statements the truth is that attitudes like that often lead to injury and injury leads to long rehab especially once you are middle aged. Few of us are trained to know the difference between good hard and injurious hard. I think we can Thank Jane Fonda for this approach to fitness. Even she says now that she doesn’t a lot of time in pain from injuries caused by working out too hard.
    Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..The Two Most Important Things in LifeMy Profile

  6. Tamara February 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    While I’ve certainly used some of the terms you’ve described (“killer” to be specific), I really don’t find the ‘balls to the walls’ approach to coaching very motivational. I would say that my clients and class participants don’t really enjoy it either. Kind of fits with my disdain for a certain BL trainer who uses this kind of coaching with her clients…
    Tamara recently posted..#40plusfitness sponsor shout out | part 2My Profile

  7. Pamela Hernandez February 8, 2014 at 5:17 am #

    I am very much a progress not perfection person. I want my clients to be able to walk the next day. My favorite all purpose quote is “Failure is Impossible”.

  8. Sammy February 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    I really ascribe to the “progress over perfection” mantra. It’s so easy to just give up before you even get started if all you are focused on are your failures and shortcomings.

    I think that’s why professional athletes always repeat, “one day at a time” or “one game at a time”…similar thinking there.

    Anyways, thanks for the motivation!
    Sammy recently posted..Insanity vs P90x: Everything You Want to KnowMy Profile


  1. 5 Fitness Sayings That Irk Midlife Exercisers | Fun and Fit: Baby Boomer Active Aging Advice from Fitness Experts - February 18, 2015

    […] Play nice. Emphasize the joy, fun, camaraderie, and energy that exercise brings. Am I right, ladies? We want to do what feels good or helps us live better. Skip the punishment angle, the “all or nothing” approach;  get right to all the benefits and the fact that even a little movement goes a long way. Go Active Aging Women Over 50! (Yes, go to our other post on this subject if you like a good rant). […]

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