The circus term is now over for four weeks. For our final class, we put together a routine to perform for each other. Ours included all the things I'm not so good at, like neckspins, but we decided to go for the Drunken Clown approach and it worked - especially when we ballsed it up but somehow ended up in a position where we could still salvage it and finish the move (even though I was sitting on his shoulder instead of upside down in his arms O.o) and everyone laughed and it was kind of fun. Next term I'll carry on with this because I like it more than I expected to and I've had one offer of a potental future base partner for practicing outside class. I'll also do the hand balancing because damnit I will do a handstand before the end of this year. A proper one, I mean. I've even been stretching for it, that's how determined I am.
I came across this word for the first time yesterday, when someone on my flist made a post about her achievement of goals *highfives her* that included it. I'm familiar with the term 'thinspiration' that gets used in the pro-ana communities, and how that works, but fitspiration seems connected-but-different. I was curious. Seems to me that motivation to become fit would vary from person to person and certainly some days I really struggle to get off my arse and do stuff - especially when it's cold and horrible and I'd rather play Mass Effect and eat chips or cuddle with my lover in bed, you know?
And because this year I've more or less decided will be the year of me Getting My Physical Shit Together, the idea of inspiration interests me. Last year I started working on eating properly, and now I'm this close *holds up fingers* to finishing my degree I'm starting to be ok with taking on more extracurricular activities. I used to spend all day dagging sheep, and go rock climbing on the weekends. Then when I moved here it was street skating, climbing and aikido. But a lot of that fell by the wayside through a series of events in my life (bad relationships, degree, mum's illness, kid moving here) that took up my mental space enough that my physical space got no love. Now I can feel that space-allocation shifting and my physical space getting bigger again. I love using my body and I want to be able to still use my body for whatever I want to do with it for many years to come. I fully expect to live to 100 and I'm fucked if I'm spending the last 50 years of that being sedentary because I can't do things.
So this year is about learning new ways to use my body, getting back to being strong and flexible. My goals are: do a proper handstand (extension: on someone else's hands), become flexible enough to do a walkover, do the splits. Eventually I'd like to be able to press to handstand. For this, I have to get a lot stronger, and more flexible. Hence the engagement of a trainer and the joining of circus classes.
So off I went to get fitspired (or at least to see what fitspiration looks like). Enter google. First up was Tumblr. I looked at the first two that popped up: The first one was full of affirmations about beauty, recipes, exercise plans and pictures of fit women in not many clothes. The second was more of the same. OK, so fitspiration is about combining words that make you feel good with tips for eating and exercising to achieve looking like the women in the pictures? Except it seems the words are saying "You are fine the way you are" and the pictures are saying "You must look like this."
I was starting to get what my friend was saying about fitspiration, and the unrealistic aspiration aspect of it.
Anyway, next I looked at Pinterest. Top tip: if you don't want to nurture an unrealistic body image, you should probably avoid looking at these. This one is absolutely chocka with pictures of women in bikinis whose bodies are borderline too low in fat, standing around doing nothing. A lot of them have no heads. This one seems to be obsessed with a) women's arses and b) weight loss. NB I did not select these pinterest sites, they are just the first two that popped up on google.
So now I'm getting the idea that fitspiration isn't actually all that much about being fit, it's about how you look. Those women in the pictures? Sure, they look fit, but they aren't doing anything. They are not showing what fitness allows you to do. They are standing around looking pretty, which is kind of .. a waste of a good fit body if you ask me. There's an exception:
This is awesome. One-armed handstand yes please! But sadly, to get the img src for this pic, I had to go to a tumblr called "Noskinnybitcheshere". Yep, let's just have another go at each other's body shapes shall we? FFS. But yes. This is one of the few pics I found of women doing things with their fit bodies that didn't involve simply looking good.
This one does seem to be about getting what you want, but even so the first line is all about 'the dreaded swimsuit season' - the implication being that looking good in a swimsuit is what you should want.
And so it goes on. Page after page of pictures of women in bikinis with their heads cut off.
Side note: I found a Male fitspiration tumblr too. Only one. It has two pictures of women with not many clothes on, but at least they a) are doing something and b) have their heads. It's mostly inspirational quotes about achievement though. Interesting, that difference.
Anyway, what I've concluded from this is that fitspiration is socially-acceptable thinspiration. It's still about how we look, and while the look is slightly different, it's still a lean one and these 'spiration pages seem to be mostly about weight loss for the sake of looking nice. Each person who makes these sites may have their own internal goal about what they want to do with their fitness, but this isn't made clear on those pages, and that bothers me a bit.
I mean, I have to be honest. I want to look good, I'd be lying if I said this wasn't true. One reason I'm attracted to people who do things with their bodies is that doing things with your body leads to a body that's aesthetically pleasing, and I want that. But there's another aspect to that in that people with bodies that show they do something with them are likely to be the sort of people who are motivated, competent and interesting - after all, their commitment to Doing Stuff is written all over their body, and I like that. I want that. I have that, to an extent. People who are active are hot not just on the outside - there's an inner hotness that drives the outer hotness that is equally attractive. Without that, with just the desire to look good, all you get is a body-obsessed narcissist with a giant ego who will probably expect you to massage it.
The focus of the fitspo sites I looked at seems to be almost entirely on the outside hotness, the looking good. Maybe the other just goes without saying. But that woman up there doing the one armed handstand? I totally would. This woman?
Not so much. She doesn't even have a head.
Meanwhile, the abovementioned trainer decided that being stronger means lifting heavier things. I totally get this - if I want to be able to press to handstand I need to be able to push my own bodyweight above my head, right? He's behind this idea. So yesterday I lifted an extra 1161 kg. Not all in one go (duh), but in the incremental extras he added to what I'm already doing.
That there? That's my fitspiration. Back when I was dagging, I'd drag 36 tonnes of sheep a day, and could do a one-armed pullup. So one extra tonne of lifting? Nothing.