By Nicole Marie, @_nd22_ (Instagram)

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We all have a genetic predisposition to be a certain body shape and size... even though we engage in exercise or diet programs, our legs will never get longer, our height will never change and the fact that your body stores fat in your midsection instead of your hips is predetermined.
— Helen Venderburg, Vancouver Sun

Most of us don't just go to the gym, run, or pass up that dessert because we want to. We do it because there's a certain motivation or reward for doing so. While living a healthy lifestyle has its internal benefits, most millennials put more emphasis on looking better to the opposite sex or showing off before a big life event.

Of course, that was a big plus as I started training for figure competitions. I was being complimented more, fit into smaller sizes and my muscles were becoming more pronounced. I stood out from the average looking 20-something.

For those not in the know, figure competition is a type of physique competition where you're judged on your degree of muscularity and leanness. 

When I took an eight year break from competing, I never quite looked the way I did when I dieted to get on stage, but that was okay. It's hard to maintain a competition-ready physique year round. Every Spring, I noticed ads target men and women about getting "beach ready," but that never got me motivated. There’s a big reason why. Even diet down, I don’t look like those people in the media!

Fitness magazines fail to mention not everyone can look a certain way and, while we use those image as inspiration, it can also make us feel defeated if we never reach our goal. There goes the motivation!

I have found the best motivation for me is working with what I have! I don’t have to spend hours obsessing about how to get long, lean leg muscles because I don’t have long legs! And that goes for other body parts that need to be “beach ready.” I found a sport that helps me celebrate and feel good about my body type, which is a short, somewhat stocky body with muscles! No crazy dieting to reach my goal and no unrealistic dreams of being skinny.

So what’s your motivation? Is it a healthy one? You may have heard the saying “strong is the new skinny.” We shouldn’t focus so much on the number on the scale because, let’s face it, we can all lie when someone asks how much we weigh. We should focus on a healthy lifestyle and body image, no matter your size, shape or weight.

 

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AuthorNicole Marie