Misanthropic Meanderings

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Location: California, United States

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In Praise of the Chubthlete

I was enduring my tri-weekly exercise program at the pool when I noticed one of my fellow swimmers preparing to jump in. I’d notice her before, in fact, watched jealously at her ease and speed in the pool as she did a number of endless, Olympic length laps. She, like me, carries a lot of extra in all those areas women bemoan themselves about. We don’t fit the idea of athletic, workout junkies. The ones you see sweating away on a treadmill at 6 am at the local gym. The psychotic taking a swim in 75º weather, long after the sunbathing types have given up on shorts and tans. We may workout like stars, but we’re not going to be mistaken for them anytime soon.

Confession time.
I’ve been pretty darn near to giving up on my 6x a week workout routine. Who cares if you can do 12 Olympic laps, walk 4 miles or leg press 250lbs when you can’t fit an arm into a size 8? Nobody gives you credit for it. If you’ve ever seen a twenty-something male gawk at the fact that you: a) know how to work a weight machine, and, b) set it that high; you know what I mean. Only you can feel the power of your toned abs, hidden beneath an, ahem, cushion. Same goes for those pumped arms and legs of yours. They give a mean hug but that snooty sales clerk who tells you they don’t stock your size doesn’t deserve one. What’s a gal to do? Give in to the stereotypes? Lie about snacking on butter sandwiches and twinkies, the way the rest of the world thinks you do? Just lie back, let those muscles sink back to being undefined from your flab. Forget it. I like my muscles. If fact, the more I exercise, the more I like every part of me. Seeing your body perform, feeling muscles, sinews, heart all doing their utmost is simply, fun. Maybe it’s runners high, maybe it’s self-hypnosis but I wouldn’t trade my workout hour for anything.

There’s more than just an endorphin rush, however. Recent studies have found that an exercising fat person is in better health than a sedentary skinny person. Now there’s a wonderful thought to roll around your mind. We, the sweaty yet hefty, are healthier than a slender couch potato. Our workouts matter where it counts–at the doctor’s office. Let’s coin a new phrase for this phenomenon. Chubby + Athlete= Chubthlete. Chubthletic. Ok, it’s probably not a sweatshirt slogan. All it’s got going for it is accuracy but there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about it. It conveys a sense of no crazy eating regimes, just an honest, healthy acceptance of what your best body is going to be. When you go shopping and your hand reaches for a dreaded size 14 (or 16 or 12 or 22), you’ll never say, “I may be fat but I exercise” again. Instead you’ll smile, appreciate how many clothes your pumped arms can lift and say, “I’m a chubthlete and I’m proud!” At least that’s what I’m going to do. After my morning walk.

Post script: I wrote this post waaaaay back in 2005 or 6. I am now about size 8/10 and shrinking. I still feel this way about exercise and health, but I am now being asked to apologize for losing weight. Screw that. I like myself and the body I exist in.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abdominal exercise equipment and accessories and try just about everything we can think of to work these stubborn muscles.

4:53 AM  

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