Spending the afternoon at the beach is one of summer’s ultimate pleasures. We wait all winter long in the cold and rain here in Vancouver, and when spring finally rolls around we’re desperate for those warm, sunny days where we can spread a blanket out on the sand, drink in the sun and maybe indulge in some adult beverages — all the while bronzing those summer bods we’ve worked so hard all winter for.
Right? Nah, not this kid.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not really a beach person. I have ADD and am also hyper-conscious about wrinkles from harmful sun exposure, so the idea of baking in the sun in a bikini for an entire day sounds like literal hell to me.
Now, don’t get me wrong — I love getting outside, socializing with friends and taking advantage of the great outdoors once nice weather rolls around. But if I’m being perfectly honest with you, there’s something about the beach in Vancouver that rubs me the wrong way. I’ve lived in this city for my entire life, and I have spent more than my fair share at Kits beach. Yet it always surprises me at the absolute scene it nearly always turns out to be.
As a personal trainer, I can absolutely appreciate the six-pack abs and perfectly toned pecs that are strutting around everywhere at Kits Beach on a Saturday afternoon. I know how hard they’ve exercised and understand the dietary restraints they’ve put on themselves all winter and spring to achieve their perfect beach bods. But it irks me because I often sense an attitude enshrouding these bodies, a judgement towards the rest of us who maybe haven’t achieved that near-impossible physical perfection that elevates them to a higher social tier based on their physical appearance alone.
One thing I struggle with is knowing that wherever I show up in a bikini, my body will automatically be judged because I am personal trainer. My body is my portfolio and my business card, and I’m always self-conscious and hyper-aware of how it looks because I worry that people will think I’m bad at my job if my own body isn’t perfect.
The reality is, no one’s body is perfect! As I’m sure you’ve come to know, I take a lifestyle approach to exercise. Yes, it’s my job, and yes, I work out a lot. But I refuse to starve myself or let myself spiral to a place where I become obsessive with my appearance. And for this reason, some months my body looks better than others and I’m learning to be okay with that.
If you’re panicking about bikini season, I want you to know that you’re not alone! Every single woman I know does too, myself included. I have conversations about this all day, every day. I completely understand that it’s far easier to accept your flaws in a sweater and jeans than it is in a bathing suit. That being said, I encourage you to start looking at your body not as a state, but as a process.
If you’re trying to get in shape for the summer, this is the first thing you’re going to have to accept. There’s no quick fix, and you’re not going to magically lose weight and gain a ton of muscle in a few short weeks. I always advise my clients that the best way to get results is to create and stick with a workout schedule. Make workout sessions appointments with yourself, and keep them! They need to be a priority, without fail. You can’t expect to workout three times and see amazing results. Instead, you need to make it a part of your lifestyle –and the results with follow! I find that on average it takes me clients about 6 weeks to start noticing results.
Believe me when I say that you’re your own worst critic. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately see results! If you’re working on a bikini body, shift your goals from achieving a supermodel body to become healthier and more fit. Isn’t this a better mindset to live in than constantly comparing ourselves to models who are genetically blessed and heavily photoshopped?
So for all of you on a journey to feel better in your own skin, I’ll leave you with this: there’s more to life and more to fitness than showing off your six-pack and perfect bum at the beach this summer. If swimsuit season is lighting a fire under your ass to get motivated and work out, then that’s great! But please don’t make this your entire end goal. I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be a bikini model, and I hope you will too. Comparison is one of the central roots of all unhappiness, especially when it comes to our self-image.
I know that self-acceptance isn’t a place we can get to overnight, but please know that we all struggle with this from time to time (even personal trainers, and yes, even supermodels!). You are on your own fitness journey, so don’t let how you look in a bathing suit define how you feel about yourself. I’m here for you along the way — so if you wanna ditch the bikini and the beach, let me know! You can throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and come meet me on a patio or in the park somewhere. I’ll be the girl sipping a summer cocktail… with her clothes on!
Until next week,