“Get your best body ever.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that line before. This is what we’re promised if we just stick to training. It’s what so many of us train to achieve. Many of us don't train for purely aesthetic reasons — we also workout so we can feel confident and strong — but the fact remains that the thought of building our ultimate physique is a constant motivator.
And while it’s definitely a solid goal for some of us, perhaps it can do more harm than good for others.
Honestly, I’ve used this phrase myself. I’ve said it to clients, and in the almost eight years I’ve written for BodyRock, I’ve used it here, too. I didn't think much about it until I started to feel the pressure of this phrase on me. I introduced myself in a blog last week, and I've had the pleasure of chatting with many of you in the BodyRock Insiders Group, but for those of you wondering who’s talking here, I'm Hollay, and I'm BodyRock’s Content Manager. I've also been a personal trainer and nutrition coach for over a decade, and, for all of my adult life, until a few years ago, I've battled eating disorders. No amount of professional knowledge can protect you from a lack of personal insight. Just ask doctors who smoke. Or accountants who make false claims on their tax returns.
The point is, despite knowing what I should do, I often didn't do it. Finding out I was pregnant with my first child gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start getting my act together, and today, I consider myself mostly free from the obsessive, lead weight of my eating disorder. I say mostly because you don't really outgrow mental illness: you just learn to manage it. You learn to avoid certain things, people or situations that trigger it. You learn to check in with yourself when something is making you feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. For me, the repeated use of the phrase, "your best body ever" was one of those things.
It was making my brain itch. I thought about why, long and hard. When I first started using the phrase, it seemed like such a massive improvement from lines like, "get the body you've always wanted" or "get your dream physique."
I'd always dreamed of having a figure like Monica Bellucci, but alas, even though I squat, lunge, deadlift and do entire workouts dedicated solely to my glutes, my ass is mostly an extension of the top of my legs and, after nursing four babies, my boobs have the sad, pointless presence of a birthday balloon the day after the party. Working out helps, to be sure — things would be a lot worse if I didn’t — but life marches on, and often, it tramples your once perky C cups in the process.
So, it’s easy to see, I hope, how a phrase that promises you YOUR best body ever seems like a vast improvement over promising a completely unrealistic body you will never, ever have. Or it seemed that way until recently, when my life and family/work schedule had reached such a fever pitch of frantic exhaustion that it was tough for me to squeeze in a workout and eat as clean as I would have liked. That promise of 'my best body ever' felt absolutely. F-ing. Suffocating.
Best body ever my flat ass.
During a 5 a.m. workout, with the crying baby clutching my leg like a ski boot, making it frustrating and impossible for me to complete my interval of jump lunges (which I loathe on the best of days), the damaging implications of this phrase hit me. I pried the baby off my leg and started using him as resistance for squats and presses. He happily squealed and drooled, and I got to thinking: maybe the best I can promise myself, or you next time I write, is that if you commit to training, you can have your best body for now — whatever that now is.
Note: The Pink Thing is an amazing toy for you, not baby. It’s heavy-hitting and lightweight, so I take it with me on my runs and end them with a quick and dirty HIIT interval.
We can't let our inability to live up to our aspired full potential every single day make us feel like shit about ourselves, and that's what I'd been doing. There was no way — there is still no way — that at this point in my life with a busy work schedule and four kids under eight that I am going to be able to have my best body ever. But I can open Sweatflix and squeeze in quick HIIT workouts and work to my best ability that day. I can have my best body for now.
Now, with late nights and early mornings.
Now, with a constant flow of germs that run through my home and leave me perpetually sick.
Now, with living off protein bars and shakes and sometimes forgetting to eat or stress eating one litre of Cookies and Cream frozen yogurt in one sitting cause I'm too tired, too depleted, too apathetic to care. (Seriously, next time you treat yourself, try this fro yo!) This is my now, and while it perhaps isn't the time that will be the most conducive to building my best body ever, now is actually pretty damn amazing; it’s the best time of my life, and all things considered, I’m crushing it. And so are you, so let's honour where we are, and work with what we've got.
We’ve got Sweatflix and 1000s of short, sweet and sweaty workouts. (And if you don’t have it, you can get it for free 30 days, no risk. No BS.)
We’ve got an entire store of incredible gear to help us level up when we’re ready.
We’ve got our FitFam on the Insider’s Group and all the support we need to live better. Healthier. Happier. (You be the measure of what that is for you.)
We’ve got good hearts and open eyes.
Let’s stick to this and always remember: We’ve got this.