Monthly Archives: February 2013

Body Image, Fitspo & The Dangers Of The Fitness Model Diet



When it comes to fitness and body image, I’ve taken a pretty firm stance. All bodies are good bodies. You can’t hate yourself healthy. You can’t determine someone’s health by looking at them. Comparison is the thief of joy (and pointless). What your body can do is more important than what it looks like. And the needs of our bodies trump the needs of our egos, when it comes to keeping them healthy. (Ego needs are important too, but they cannot be solved with diet and exercise. That’s about attitude and changing how you think and feel about your body).

Along those lines, I don’t post ‘fitspo’ images here. I don’t believe it’s necessary or helpful to compare ourselves to others, and I also recognize that much like the images of very thin models we’re used to seeing in magazines, many fitness models are also photoshopped and represent unrealistic ideals to aspire to. And in my body positive space, there’s simply no room for any of that. 

Don’t get me wrong: I think some of these women are bad ass fitness rockstars. I’m at a place now where I can admire their bodies without feeling negative about my own. But I’m acutely aware that even they don’t look like that in real life. I know that the kind of life I’d have to live to even come close to their bodies is NOT one I want. I train hard. I eat healthy. I like my body. But i have a life outside of the gym. And it includes cake, wine, pizza and sometimes bacon. I need my body in order to live my life, but my body doesn’t rule my life. 

The shift from very thin, emaciated looking role models to the ‘fitspo’ girls seems like a slightly better alternative at first glance. But it’s INCREDIBLY important that we not swap one unhealthy ideal for another. (honestly, we shouldn’t have any ideals). The truth is that many fitness models employ incredibly unhealthy techniques in order to get as lean as they are in pics and in competition. They also don’t look like that all year round.

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OK, I have a few followers now (which is ace!) so hi! Tell me about yourselves!

Do you have any plans to compete, or do you compete already? What federations do you compete in? What totals are you hoping to make?

I’m going to do the GBPF south-east open on April 7th, then the GBPF nationals in October. I might also do the EPA’s all-England championship in August. 


I haven’t been sleeping so well lately, down to my own insomnia & next door’s kids who scream incessantly from 6am. So I wasn’t looking forward to this session much. Still, nothing to be done (I have set gym days) except get on with it & hope I sleep better next time. 

Box squat (parallel) with red bands: 20kg, 5 reps x 3; 30kg, 3 reps; 35kg, 3 reps; 40kg, 3 reps; 50kg, 3 reps;  55kg, 3 reps; 60kg, 1 rep; 65kg, 1 rep; 50kg, 3 reps

I also attempted 70kg twice but was unable to get out of the hole.

Deadlift with black bands: 60kg, 2 reps; 65kg, 6 singles

Concentrating on fast, explosive movement

Seated good mornings: 40kg, 12 reps x 3

Machine rows: 15kg each hand, 12 reps x 3

Glute & ham raises: 10 x 3

Wide-leg situps: 5kg plate, 10 x 2

Cable crunch: 25kg, 10 x 3


#well that escalated quickly


I started off this session with a little talk with Martin; he has been thinking about my poor bench & reckons that maybe we just need to ease off worrying about it. I’m never going to have a big bench, and it seems my time is better spend trying to make big gains on my squat & deadlift, rather than agonising over the tiny gains in my bench. So that feels like something of a relief, as I have been fretting overly about my bench. 

So, on to speed day:

Box squat (parallel):  20kg, 5 reps x 2

Box squat with red bands: 30kg, 2 reps x 10, focussing on fast, tight, explosive movement off the box with perfect form

Straddle squat: 25kg kettlebell, 10 reps x 3

Single-arm dumbbell rows: 20kg, 5 reps x 2; 22.5kg, 2 reps x 3

Band good mornings: blue band, 15 reps x 2

Bench press: 20kg, 10 reps x 2; 30kg, 5 reps; 30kg + 5kg chains, 3 reps x 4

Narrow-grip bench press: 30kg + chains, 3 reps x 4

Dumbbell floor press: 12.5kg, 5 reps; 15kg, 3 reps x 5

Bent-over barbell row: 20kg, 10 reps x 2

Landmines: 20kg bar, 5 reps x 2

Then today, 24th February, I took a long walk around east London, maybe 1h 45mins of slow-ish walking (in the cold!)



Marsha’s Bully Blog
It’s late Saturday afternoon. Friends are coming to dinner. I’m making paella. Checking my ingredients, I realize I’m out of saffron. The local shop in my village doesn’t carry it, so I drive six miles to a larger, affluent town. I park in a small, cramped, outdoor lot, exit the car and begin walking towards the shops. 
I hear a loud blast of a car horn, turning to look in the direction of the offending sound I see a small blue Ford gunning for me. As I hightail it out of harm’s way, the menacing driver hollers out his window “You’re too fat!” 
Most fat people have these things happen on occasion. I’m no different, except I try to get a good photo of the bully for my imaginary Bully Blog.
When I’ve been hollered at before, it’s usually been from a car load of guys whizzing past, so I was a surprised this bully looked to be a lone, elderly man. Whipping out my trusty iphone, I followed his car.
The bully noticed I was following him on foot, as he looked for an empty space to park. He was forced to drive around me twice. I stayed a safe distance from him, as a bully behind the wheel of a lethal weapon is dangerous. I noticed he now had his window rolled up tight and refused to make eye contact with me.
When he finally parked his car, he sat there a few minutes, realizing I wasn’t going away. Staying a safe distance from him, as bully’s are unpredictable and I wasn’t going to allow this one to compromise my dinner party, I waited for him to emerge.
When he finally stepped out of his car, I yelled, ”Aren’t you a bit old to behave like that?”
He ignored me.
I took his picture and one of his number plate, announcing, ”I’m reporting you to the police.” His weeny response was “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” as he scurried away.
I reported the incident to the police. They filed a report on the hateful bugger and said they’d track him through his license plate. She acknowledged the plate was registered in the wealthy town, Sevenoaks, where the bully was driving. I don’t mean to come off ageist, but the nice lady officer said these kinds of incidents are often perpetrated by angry, white men in their sixties. I find that interesting.
– Marsha Coupé
Kent, England