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Exercise to be healthy, not just to look good

What does a fit and healthy body really look like?

The past couple of weeks I've talked with lots of people whose situations are all quite different, but are all in the process of transforming their body.

The optimism and enthusiasm they display towards achieving their goals is amazing to witness, and I wish them every success in their journey to achieving them.

However, a thought always niggles at the back of my mind when I speak to someone whose only goal or focus is to achieve a certain aesthetic look.

You see, the truth about having ‘a banging body' is probably not what you think.

So how does it really feel to be that person with the washboard abs and the lean, tight physique?

Our body-beautiful obsessed culture would have you believe that they've got to be the happiest people, right? Well, up on a pedestal, you're often afraid to fall, and I can assure you, a lot of those people who sport the ‘perfect body' are just as insecure as the rest of us.

Working in the fitness industry and being a physique competitor, there is often a certain expectation for me to look in peak condition more or less all the time, anything less is considered a weakness or failure.

In my opinion, this viewpoint is very wrong. Whether you are a fitness professional, a sports competitor, or anyone for that matter, no one should have to feel the pressure to look a certain way.

Health and fitness does not come from looking physically perfect, and nor does having the ‘perfect body' necessarily mean you are fit or healthy.

I can assure you, there are many people out there who look fit and healthy on the outside, yet are anything but — they abuse their bodies through extreme diets, extreme training regimes, or a concoction of supplements and drugs. And, aside from everything else, looking a certain way — having that banging body — won't necessarily make you happy, not in the long term anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all the super-fit and lean-looking individuals out there are miserable and unhealthy, but that perhaps we need to shift our mindset away from purely striving for aesthetic goals.

Focus on feeling stronger, more confident in the body you have now and what that amazing body is capable of doing. Think about how exercise makes you feel accomplished and how good nutrition fills you with energy and lifts your mood.

I'm not naive enough to think that people just pursue fitter, healthier lives for a feeling of wellness, though.

I know that vanity plays a massive part in the motivational process. But I want to emphasise that in the end, when you've achieved ‘the body of your dreams' that it's quite possible it won't make you happy, or perhaps not as happy as you believe it will before you ‘arrive'.

That's why it's so important to enjoy the journey to becoming fitter and healthier, as well as everything else in life that happens along the way.

It's also important to understand that it's not just a six-week or 12-week process and it's done. You don't get to pack away your sneakers, you're in this for the long haul!

Whatever exercise and nutrition programme you choose to follow, it should be something that's sustainable throughout your life and something that you enjoy because it makes you feel good and not just look good.

So, love the body you have today, love the person you are now, enjoy the journey you are on to becoming the best versions of you.

Focus on building the total package, let your commitment be to creating a fit and healthy body, and let one of the by-products of that process be how you look.

Becky Wright is a qualified personal trainer, nutritional therapist and international bikini fitness champion. She has worked with various clients worldwide, including royalty. Becky currently works at Alchemy Fitness: www.alchemy.bm. Contact her at becky@alchemy.bm.

Fitness journey: Don't get caught up in working out just to get a ‘banging body' - do it to be healthy

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Published January 28, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated January 27, 2015 at 11:39 pm)

Exercise to be healthy, not just to look good

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