Do these tights make my legs look strong?

I once saw a girl working out in a tankini and wondered how that was comfortable and then I wondered how she had the body acceptance to leave no bump, ripple, or squishy part to the imagination. I usually worked out wearing a baggy tshirt and loose fitting track pants. One Christmas my mom bought me leggings and a crop top and I barely had to courage to wear them lounging around at home.

That was about 20 years ago. I look back on my old gym “uniform” and wonder how I got anything done with all of that extra fabric hanging around. Not to mention how I was much trimmer in those days and wish I had shown it off more;-) Now I don running tights and tank tops almost daily, and I’m pretty dang proud of my runner’s legs, so why shouldn’t I show them off?

I am large chested and no baggy shirt will hide that fact. Once I started running regularly, I realized I needed form fitting tops to help my heavy-duty sports bra out and to feel comfortable through an arm swing. I seriously doubt wind resistance is a factor at my pace, but I know I feel faster and smoother in my skin-tight running crops. The more I comfortable I got with moving my body, the more confidence I had in wearing what worked best for me.

 

activewear
Don’t I look super fast in those running crops?

Could you imagine a cyclist in jeans and sweater? No. How about a dancer or gymnast in anything but a leotard? Can you imagine swimming in a dress? Of course not. I still have trouble wearing a bathing suit at the community pool (you’ll find me with a pair of board shorts on over it) so I get how it can feel intimidating to wear yoga pants or booty shorts. BUT we should be celebrating our bodies not hiding them! Wear what YOU want to wear and be damned proud of it!

How Giving a Stranger a Lap Dance Changed My Perspective on Fitness

I had recently moved to a new city, so trying out new fitness classes was my way to meet people and settle in. I had attended a few barre classes at a boutique fitness and dance studio downtown when I saw an ad for a lap dance workshop being offered at the same place. I’m up for new things so why not try something new and maybe pick up a few skills to take home in the process?

The class had ten people, two of them men, and the instructor put us to work right away. First task was to pick a partner and walk seductively towards them without smiling, (which was challenging because I feel like the opposite of sexy.) I learned how to straddle the chair and flip myself around and off it. I learned that the secret to twerking my ass in my partner’s face was to bounce gently from the toes. I learned that giving a lap dance is harder than it looks, and I wasn’t even wearing those sky-high heels or a g-string.

Could you give her a lapdance_

I learned that pressing my chest in a strange girl’s face awakened a new confidence in myself. I managed to perform a 3 minute dance for my partner without laughing, which means that the silly side of me stood aside to allow a sexy woman come forward. My partner didn’t laugh at me and no one in the class seemed to notice that my dance was anything but sensual. I left the studio that night proud of myself for putting myself out there.

That workshop led to me taking a splits training class at the same studio. You read that correctly: an entire class dedicated to learning how to do the splits. I’m coming up to week 13 and I just might make the goal of doing the splits by my 40th birthday. I’m the oldest person in the class and I haven’t missed a single week. Just like the lap dancing, I’m finding a new way to look at myself and a new way to look at how I choose fitness.

I’m not a trained dancer since childhood like the girl working next to me, but every inch closer to the fIoor is worth celebrating. My instructor reminds us not to apologize for being who we are and where we are. I didn’t feel judged while dancing and I don’t feel judged while practicing my splits. I tend to judge myself when I catch a glimpse of myself in the studio mirror, but I receive nothing but support and encouragement from my instructor and classmates. This lack of judgement from others is teaching me to get rid of the self-judgement. I’m learning that I need to embrace progress over perfection. I need to love my body and love myself. What’s sexier than that?