When my normal exercise schedule got disrupted last week, I didn’t want to do boot camp two days in a row–that would be a surefire path to burnout for me. Thankfully, comments to last week’s Fit & Active post alerted me to the world of YouTube exercise videos. In live cardio-dance classes, it’s hard for me to follow the choreography, but I hoped the pause button on my TV would help me master the steps enough to have fun and raise my heart rate.

It didn’t–it’s going to take a lot more than a single video session to turn me into a Rockette. Thinking it may have been my choice of video, I browsed a little more and discovered this Jillian Michaels workout. The comments say it’s really good, and I may try it some day, but Leah’s latest Project Runway rant was too fresh in my mind to be able to get past Jillian’s introduction of the women helping her:

I think you can tell by the shape of their bodies, they are the absolute best in the business. I want to have the best always because they help elevate what I do, my work, and they’re aspirational for you and me. I mean, look at these girls. Who doesn’t want to look like that? The idea being, that if you stick with this 45 minute workout diligently and consistently, we’re all gonna look like this in no time. I don’t think anything could be more inspirational.

They DO look AMAZING, don’t they?

jillian michaels and girls 3

jillian michaels and girls 4

But it doesn’t matter how many times I do this workout video, I’m never going to look like them. Of course there’s the obvious difference in bra size, but even if I get a reduction, I’m never going to have their bodies. And that’s fine because I don’t want to have their bodies. I’m happy with my body. I’m not working out so that I can look like someone else.

Jillian Michaels needs to sell her videos, and the Project Runway designers need to sell their clothes. To do so, they believe they must appeal to the most popular conceptions of fitness and beauty. And this is why I am oh so thankful for the internet.  Because of the internet, we’re not trapped by images from the traditional media that lead us to believe we should only want to look one way.

On the internet, there’s room for individuality, risk and authenticity, as I discovered when I continued my search and found this homemade exercise video. The Pinterest caption where I found it states that “[t]his video was created for [. . . ] inspirational purposes only. [. . . ] There are no professional dancers in this video.” I am so much more inspired by the women in this video than I am by Jillian Michaels’ team.  Because I relate physically to the two women on the left (they’re probably wearing sports bras under those tee shirts!), I’m even inspired to believe that I may someday be able to dance as gracefully as they do to this song.

all body types can be in shape and graceful

Here’s another video from the same group. The participants include a grey-haired woman and a young lady who may have Down’s Syndrome. This video makes me want to have as much fun with my exercise as they do!

Here’s what currently motivates me to be fit and active:

  • the good feeling that comes after exercise
  • clearing away lethargy
  • meeting the instructors’ challenges and seeing improvement in my stamina as a result
  • feeling my biceps
  • lower cholesterol and blood pressure

I know myself enough to realize that these won’t always get me out of the house and to the gym. A few weeks of travel or a simple cold are enough to disrupt my commitment and sideline me. However, when I’m ready to start again, it won’t be someone else’s physically perfect body that gets me going.

What gets you going?