Things we’re all about: seriously bad ass babes reclaiming their bodies from the media, haters, and shamers. That is the only way we can get to a point where women of all shapes and sizes feel comfortable just being themselves. Women like Sam Johnson are helping us get to that point much faster.
As a former fitness competitor and eating disorder survivor, Sam is frustrated by the depiction of what is ‘healthy’ according to the fitness industry. “I’ve experienced first hand the damage that can be done when we idolize another body type instead of embracing our own; yet idolizing others and encouraging this kind of conformity to one body type (lean and muscular), is still the norm in the fitness industry,” said Johnson. We’ve shown a variety of women from Jessamyn to Claire that prove there is no one way to be fit, but we cannot just stop with influencers. We need everyday people who work in the industry to show this to their clients.
“The reason I became a personal trainer was to become a part of the change that the health and fitness industries so desperately need- to recognize that health looks different on every BODY, and that there is so much more to fitness than being on a continual mission to shrink yourself. I want to show women that there is another way to approach fitness, a way led not with shame and guilt, but with love, kindness and compassion toward yourself. A way where workouts aren’t battle grounds and instead based on honoring your body and having fun! “
Not sure about you, but that is definitely the kind of trainer I want on my team. Someone who is constantly proving to you that your body is wonderful the way that it is, but that working out is simply a way to honor it. That does not sound so difficult, yet people like Sam are so hard to find. Part of that is because we are taught to see the physical as a measure of overall fitness. People who are not the right size/shape are told what they could or should look like, and often people feel pressured into being something they cannot and should not be.
“Unfortunately shame is such a huge part of the health and fitness industry. Surrounded by messages of, ‘Don’t you wish you looked like this,’ and, ‘You’re lazy if you don’t make time for working out,’ we’re shamed into thinking that we’re not good enough as we are, but that we WILL be good enough if we have a six pack and eat egg whites for breakfast,” said Johnson. How many times have you looked at the cover of a “wellness” magazine and seen articles posted about how to be smaller, how to get your butt to be bigger, and how to rid yourself of cellulite all while wondering, “Is this good for my mental health?”
“The phrase ‘getting healthy’ invokes images of gyms and diets, but that’s really only part of the story. If we truly want to talk about health, we have to view it holistically, taking into account our minds and our spirits too. When we’re teaching people to take care of their health, we need to emphasize these other aspects as much as we emphasize the physical. Health has little to do with the way your physical body looks, and is more about how you feel. Once you take the focus off of the physical body and focus on feeling good all around, it becomes easier to eliminate the shame.”
That’s really the key, isn’t it? There is something absolutely wonderful about being healthy in terms of your body, but what good is it if your mind isn’t healthy too? Working out makes you feel good; your body wants to be worked. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s body will look the same after working out, and it certainly does not mean that you are working out for the right reasons. Let’s get to a point where we are picking a workout because it feels good, not because we are unhappy with our bodies. When workouts are a choice to celebrate and not to humiliate, we will be at a healthy point in terms of both body and mind.
So, whether Sam is not caring what the bullies say about her or helping women see that their bodies are beautiful just because they are theirs, she is making a difference. She is no doubt doing her part, but she is just as excited as we are to see the body positive movement grow. “Something amazing I’ve been seeing in the body positive community is women reclaiming their bodies by physically making them their own; whether it’s getting a fun haircut, or a tattoo or wearing a funky outfit. Doing something they had been too nervous to do previously, but now feel confident enough to do because they aren’t afraid to show the world who they are,” said Johnson. “There’s something so powerful and brave about saying, ‘Yep, this body is mine,’ and truly making it a reflection of yourself.”
We couldn’t agree more.