12 Must-Read Body Confidence Tips
From Be:FIT Festival’s amazing fitness influencer ambassadors.
What with being constantly bombarded with perfect Instagram pictures, airbrushed adverts and, you know, just being human, it’s harder than ever to feel comfortable and confident in your body. Which sucks, because your body is literally great. Yep, yours.
We spoke to Be:FIT ambassadors and fitness influencers Abby Russell, Nana Akua, Tally Rye and Laura Hoggins about all things body confidence and got their number one tips on how to love your body!
Curve model and body confidence advocate
Do workouts that make you feel epic
“After graduating I would go to see my best friend, Tally Rye, for PT sessions and she introduced me to weight lifting. I was always very weak so I loved gaining strength and seeing my curves grow even more the heavier I was lifting. I felt like I was Super Woman! Since then I like to exercise regularly - that might be a spin class, a walk, a bike ride with my boyfriend, dance class, HIIT or weight lifting. I only do things I enjoy. That way I want to go back for more and I finish a workout feeling uplifted and empowered.”
Cleanse your social media of negative influences
“When it comes to Instagram unfollow anyone that makes you question your worth. They might be the nicest person but if they make you feel negatively about yourself hit that unfollow button. Fill your social media with positive, uplifting people.”
Remember health is not a size
“I think a big problem in the fitness industry is the fact it promotes one vision of health. The stereotypical slim white woman with a 6 pack, perky bum and perfectly placed boobs. Along with the chiseled, tanned, 12 pack man that features on all the front covers of ‘health’ magazines. This is not reality. HEALTHY IS NOT A SIZE. Size does not determine how healthy someone is. With more and more people speaking about this we can break down the weightloss industry, which makes money from us hating ourselves!! Diets don’t work people. Move your body and eat to fuel your body and soul.”
TV presenter and fitness instructor
Appreciate your body for more than just aesthetics
“I love Instagram, but sometimes it seems like there are a lot of perfect people talking about fitness with very little life experience.... I am launching my #IAmWoman campaign to try and represent women of all walks of life and not just the body perfect ones. We woman are amazing and I think sometimes the focus is too heavily on aesthetics.”
Remember things aren’t always as they seem
“The biggest problem with the fitness world is the sheer amount of conflicting information and the number of things falling into the fitness industry category. There’s a large number of people not being honest about how they have achieved a result and fooling people into believing they can achieve the same.”
Work out where you feel comfortable
“Often I feel uncomfortable in fitness spaces like gyms as I feel that everyone is staring at me, and I’m quite fit and proud of my body so I can imagine if you are very self-conscious, the gym can be very intimidating. I am not really a major fan of the gym, preferring to workout at home, which is why I launched my online home workouts.”
Personal trainer and spin instructor at Digme Fitness
Never compare yourself to others
“About 3 years ago I went on a ‘photoshoot prep diet’ as I wanted to fit in the industry and feel good next to my friends. I had worked so hard, sacrificed a lot and spent 3 months obsessing over what I was eating and how much I was training. And at the end of it all, I looked at the people next to me and I thought ‘I’m still not good enough’. It’s true, no matter where you’re at, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’.”
Weight loss and dieting are NOT what health means
“I think the biggest problem in the fitness industry is that a large part of it has become centred around diet culture, weight loss, body fat percentages and the number on the scale. We as an industry are putting so much pressure on people to look a certain way, be a certain dress size and weigh a certain number. Instead I believe we should encourage healthy lifestyles through long term maintainable and sustainable approaches that focus primarily on physical and mental health. Health looks different on everyone and I would love the industry and society in general to be more accepting of that.”
Remember there’s more to you than your body
“Your friends and family don’t love you because of your abs, they love you because you’re funny, smart, kind, generous… the list goes on. Start making a list of qualities you have as a person. Try and add one thing to it everyday.”
Personal trainer and Head of Gains at Ministry Does Fitness.
Think of yourself as an athlete
“I used to be a runner, I did it because it was headspace, and hopefully if I did it enough and ate less, I would be skinny and more socially acceptable. But when I started CrossFit, we were congratulated when we achieved something physically, based on performance, how heavy we could lift, our cardiovascular engine, how many reps we could complete, and that shifted for me. It wasn’t about what I looked like anymore, it was about performance and progressive and sustainable development. So I looked at myself like an athlete, which I was proud to be. I’ve never looked back, apart from to look at my ass. That’s important.”
You’re more than the number on the scales
“I got to the point where I was adamant that I would be happy when I reached a certain number on the scales, when I got there things would be better, I thought. And it was just a destructive ambition. So when I started lifting weights I fell in love with the feeling of achievement, of getting stronger, of being powerful, and at that point I didn’t care what the scales said. I realised I was more than that number.”
Accept yourself where you are right now
“Accept yourself for who you are now, love your body for what it is, what you have been blessed with, and all the wonderful things it can do. Stop waiting to be ‘happy when...’ you hit these aesthetic goals or numbers on the scales - the reality may be that you make yourself miserable in order to be get there. And who says being 8 stone solves all life’s problems? If you want to change, that’s cool too, but maybe set yourself realistic and achievable goals over a long period of time, enjoy the progress that’s sustainable. Find something you love and get active! Don’t follow anyone else’s path, it’s not yours, be your own!”