I’ve been extremely inspired this last week or so by this story I saw on Facebook about Mirna Valerio. She’s a true inspiration, and evidence that you can be extremely fit and still not look “traditionally” fit. This is something that’s really been resonating with me lately because I’ve been doing kick-ass strength and circuit training workouts since February yet if you look at me I look no different now than I did when I started.
I have friends who take up strength training workouts and within 6-8 weeks start to look cut and defined and start gathering the compliments. I do it for 8 months (and counting) and…nothing. Oh, if I point out a specific part for you and flex it really hard you might nod and smile and agree that I look great, but if I don’t point and flex it’s not obvious at all.
That’s genetics. I simply don’t build big showy muscles. There have been other times in my life when I didn’t have a job and I’ve gone for broke with weight lifting, with a heavy schedule and formal workout rotation and personal trainer, and despite putting in the same level of effort as any bodybuilder…nothing. If I point at a muscle and flex it you can kind of see that there’s something under there but without pointing it out…nothing. I don’t get ripped, I don’t get shredded. I may get a little bulkier but there’s still a layer of fat and extra skin over the bulkier muscles that will always be there. (OK, that last part’s not genetics: I have a lot of extra skin from when I was 200 pounds heavier. Barring cosmetic surgery on my arms and legs to remove it, it’s always going to be there.)
I guess if I were a different kind of person this might put me off. I might think, “Well, I’m not getting any visible results, why bother putting in all the blood, sweat, and tears for not much of a result?”
And here’s my answer: The longer I’ve been at this weight maintenance thing, the more I’ve come to the realization that fitness, for me, is ultimately about what I can do, not what I can fit into.