If you haven’t heard of THIS GIRL CAN, where have you been? The viral sports campaign has popped up both on and offline with billboards have seemingly popped up all over the UK. This Girl an is a UK wide campaign to get the female population moving and enjoying exercise, regardless of whether they’re the sterotypical gym lithe bunnies in neon spandex or wearing an oversized novelty tshirt and basic leggings from the Supermarket.
This Girl Can’s research showed the number of men out there getting active outweighed the number of women. It’s not because women don’t WANT to get active or because sport is a “mans world”, millions of women and girls are actually afraid to exercise for fear of judgement. Sound familiar?
The campaign has clearly caught a nerve: 13 million people have now viewed the flagship This Girl Can film online which tells a the real life story of exercise. Jiggling, panting, sweat dripping down your back into your butt crack. Women breaking their own exercise barriers and going against the stylised adverts of the sweat free track running women without a hair out of place. With taglines such as “Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox” and “I kick balls, deal with it” the campaign is driving to get women to accept that the sweating, jiggling and red face is all a normal part of exercise. If you ain’t jiggling you ain’t working hard enough.
In collaboration with THIS GIRL CAN, clothing range boohoo who recently released a fitness range and founded the #WeAreUs hashtag, invited a selection of bloggers of all shapes, sizes and gymability levels to talk about their fears and motivations on fitness. We spent an afternoon in Manchester discussing our fitness fears and motivations, learning about nutrition, trying on snazzy fitness gear and even partaking in a Ravercise class.
As part of the day the boohoo and This Girl Can people asked us to answer a few questions re: concerns, worries and exercise blockers. Read on to find out more…
• Do you ever consider starting a new activity or exercise routine?
Every single week. There’s always a new exercise class being talked about at work or some new celebrity fitness craze. Ravercise, Clubercise, Yogalaties, Britney dance classes (yes, Britney dance classes – I can do that in my bedroom with my Best Of.. album!) that I like the sound of.
• Is there anything about that idea that makes you feel worried or concerned?
Not worried or concerned (as I would quite obviously own the Britney dance class). Sometimes its more due to times constraint. One of the last things I want to do when I’ve finished work after a long day is head straight to a class when all I want to do is greet the sofa with my badunkadunk. But needs must.
• What would you say to other girls/women who might want to get involved in X but don’t because they’re worried about being judged for how they look or not being good or fit enough?
Being plus size it can be daunting to embark on a new exercise routine (yes, plus size people exercise too!). The funny thing is that it isn’t the exercise itself that’s daunting, the idea of getting sweaty at the village hall for a Zumba class or pumping some iron at the local gym doesn’t bother me in the slightest, after all, isn’t that the aim of exercise? To sweat, get out of breath and eventually look like Beyonce?
The daunting part for me and other plus size girls has been the self conciousness you experience due to the stares and snide sniggers you encounter just for being plus size and in a gym. In some ways you can’t win, you can be ridiculed by people for being overweight and having thighs that jiggle like a plate of jelly but then pull on your lycras and your trainers and head to a gym or an exercise class and those same people will be the ones pointing the finger and giggling because there’s a fat girl on the treadmill wearing a baggy tshirt with a red face and sweat leaking from their eyebrows. You can’t win.
But what you have to remember is that they’re a small minority of the gym going population, for every idiot sniggering at your expense there’s a hundred other gym goers more interested on how many calories they’ve worked off, what they’re having for tea or looking at their biceps to be bothered by how fat yours arms are or what you look like doing lunges.
I spent my first gym visit convinced that everyone was staring at me and hated the whole experience. The moment I realised the above I began to enjoy the gym and didn’t dread that text to say “fancy a trip to the gym *insert bicep emoji*”. No one is expecting you to have rock hard abs or be able to run the equivalent of a marathon on the treadmill or lift the weight of an elephant. Even if you find you can only do 10 minutes of an exercise class before you feel the burn and want to pass out or can only do a minute running on the treadmill, so what? Maybe the next time you can do 15 minutes of the class or two minutes of running of the treadmill.
Don’t push yourself and don’t feel embarassed. Chances are there’s more people than you think at the gym or in that class with you feeling exactly the same way as you do.
You can read the interviews with all of the other amazing blogger girls and what they had to say about fitness over on the boohoo website.