In Response to Fit Mom Memes, Fit Shaming, and Women In General

As I begin this article, I want to state for the record that I am not a mom. However, I am a career fitness professional that trains primarily women and makes it a point to stay on the pulse of what’s happening in the fitness internet universe.

And I do not have a six pack. 

I’m writing today in response to a phenomenon that’s emerged in recent years ( and has been exacerbated by widespread social and traditional media coverage): moms ( or women in general) bashing one another based on observed level of fitness. Call it “fat shaming” or “fit shaming” , women seem to have a lot to say about other women’s bodies.

How it began Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 6.25.46 AM

Although garden variety bullying and “mean girls” have been around since the dawn of time, the firestorm officially exploded in September of 2013 when fitness writer and mom Maria Kang posted this photo to her facebook page.I feel the photo by itself would’ve been very inspirational, if not for the “What’s Your Excuse” caption.

That phrase is what caused the S#!T to hit the proverbial fan. Women all over the country were outraged, accusing Kang of “fit shaming” and going as low as calling her a bad mother for basically neglecting her kids in favor of her own selfish pursuits. The controversy even caused Kang to be banned from Facebook for a short time for “bullying and abuse.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 6.26.57 AM

Recently, another fit mom, British fitness blogger and competitor Abby Pell  (who goes by the Twitter and Instagram handle @superabs) posted this photo, and the flames were fanned once again. Now the question becomes: what message are these images sending to young girls, let alone other moms and women?

My Take 

Here’s my take on the situation, as a woman and a fitness professional:

Ladies, knock it off already. Seriously, it’s getting old.

Are we back on the playground throwing rocks at each other, or whispering behind our backs in the school hallways?

No, because the internet makes it so much easier these days.

Good grief. As my mama used to say “worry about yourself!”

Life is hard enough with all the images in the media and society’s expectations and all of the ab-selfies on Instagram.

If you’re on a quest for a six pack and that’s your ultimate goal, awesome, knock yourself out. If your goal is to be able to walk to the mailbox without becoming out of breath or keep up with your kids at the park, I’m cheering for you too.

But PLEASE, never compare your journey to someone else’s, or begrudge any woman her right to care for her body in the way she sees fit. 


An expanded summary of my thoughts and opinions :

1). Truth: Everyone has the rectus abdominus muscle, the superficial muscle thats tendinous inscriptions create the “six pack” look ( unless it’s been removed as with reconstructive surgery).

Does that mean everyone can have a visible six pack? No.

People, achieving a six pack is VERY hard work for most and, especially for women, requires very low body fat levels ( Read this great article “The cost of getting lean” by the good folks over at Precision Nutrition). Personally, I don’t run around with a six pack year round, nor would I want to.

On the flip side, I know women, competitors, moms, women who work out  or not, that seem to ALWAYS have abs no matter what. The reason? Genetics. The pre-programmed natural body fat distribution that causes us to store the majority of our fat in our hips, thighs, and yes abs. This is different for everyone.

If you’d like to know the truth about other fitness and fat loss myths, download my free report here

2). Am I fit? Yes. Am I super lean? No. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, sometimes have a six pack equates to an underlying level of unhealthiness ( just ask any starving model or fitness competitor about that one).

3). That being said, it is NOT healthy to be obese, and having a baby is no reason to sacrifice your health. On the contrary, it’s all the more reason to be as healthy as possible.

Notice I DID NOT say you should be ripped, skinny, even lean. I said HEALTHY. This implies regular activity and a conscious decision to choose healthy foods for you and your family. How will you expect your children to prioritize health if you don’t set the example?

Personally, I don’t care what you look like as long as you are making a conscious decision and effort to achieve and maintain physical health and well being.

4). Ladies, nobody is going to care for you but YOU. Does it require a little sacrifice,a little less sleep and (heaven forbid) maybe asking for help every once in a while? You were a woman and a human being first before you became a mom. This vessel we call the human body requires a certain amount of care, regardless of how it looks on the outside. So please, let go of the “mommy guilt” and take care of yourself! Even better, involve your children in the process.

Go for a walk around the block, go to the park. Dance in the living room. Share the joy of movement with your kids.

In doing so, you’re inspiring further generations to focus on health first, regardless of how one’s abs look.

How do you feel about the Fit Mom Meme controversy? Are they inspiring or degrading? Post your comments below! 

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