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Today, Lizzo posted a video on Instagram promoting a smoothie detox. Unsurprisingly, the comments went WILD. So here's the thing. Lizzo has become this sort of icon or mascot of the body positivity movement. When she sings, "Baby how you feeling? I'm feeling good as hell!", I feel that! We love her, she represents more to us than music: she represents embracing yourself and loving yourself as you are. I cried, legit, when she came on the VMAs and told us, "It's so hard to love yourself in a world that doesn't love you back."
But here's the thing, y'all: we don't own Lizzo. We don't. She is a real person, with real insecurities, real goals, real desires. She posted a few days ago, really emotional about her body and feeling unhappy with it. Obviously there is nothing wrong with her body, the problem is the culture. But she was vulnerable. She doesn't only live in our imaginations. She deserves to make her own choices about her body. I might not like her choice, it may be disappointing to me to see someone I thought was a body positive icon making choices that don't align with that movement, but it is her choice to make.
The IG comments turned, a bit unsurprisingly, into a roast. "You are amazing but this saddens me to my core." I don't disagree, but maybe she deserves to make her own choices. "This ain't it sis. So many people look up to you for body positivity. And this is the opposite." This from a white woman, and honestly, this use of the word "sis" troubles me, but that's a post for a different day. That aside, while I agree with the basic points, it is Lizzo's body. A number of people reported feeling triggered by the post, and I certainly was as well, and probably for some people that is a lot harder than others. I just think that we may have heaped a bit of an unfair amount of expectation.
While I am disappointed and bummed about this, I'm not mad at Lizzo. I feel sad that Lizzo felt like this was a good idea, because the noise around us is just SO.DAMN.LOUD that smaller = healthier, that thinner is prettier, that shrinking makes your life better, you more desirable. It's just this inexorable, inescapable jackhammer in the background all the damn time. She was vulnerable, like any of us can be. Lizzo got called to the noise.
Detoxes are dumb. It's a quick weight loss trick disguised as a way to improve the health of your vital organs. Want to improve the health of your gizzards? Drink a glass of frickin water. Then drink another one after that. And another one. And maybe after all that water, you'll have to pee so much you won't have time to worry about roasting Lizzo for getting called to that diet culture siren song and you sure as hell won't have time for any fake quick fixes.
Yeah, it's a bummer for those of us who have been doing work in antidiet spaces, and I get feeling like "We lost one." But we won't get her (or anyone else) with a barrage of bitching, and we'll be here when she comes back. It makes me think a bit of addiction recovery. When a friend has a relapse, it is triggering. That doesn't mean I go get drunk, and maybe I go through some feels, but I don't roast the person. It's an addiction. It's not their fault. I just need to be there when they come back around.
I'll leave you with this. I know some folks probably needed to comment just so vulnerable folks might see those comments and know that a (weight loss) detox smoothie isn't where it's at, but once there were several...plus several more of those comments, did the dogpile need to continue? Let the woman live her life. Commentary on people's bodies works both ways -- just as it isn't cool to fat-shame or concern-troll, we also don't need to chastise people who shrink themselves. It may be disappointing to me, but it is not my body.
If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen my FREAKING AMAZING new home gym set-up! Obviously, not everyone needs/wants a set-up as elaborate as what I have...or maybe you want something more elaborate! A few people asked about where I got some of the components to my gym! I'm going to give a few links to where I got various items and how to get set up without breaking the bank.
When it comes to home gyms, if you have money to burn, the sky is the limit. You can spend a ton of money on a variety of equipment and really go to town. If you're reading this, I assume that is not your scenario! Thus, my first tip is to ask folks if they have any equipment they want to give away or sell for cheap! When I was looking for a squat rack, I jumped on Facebook and posted that I was looking for one, and I found a friend who had one to give away! So if you're looking for specific equipment, ask around. You never know who has gym equipment in their home that they want to get rid of.
If you're just getting started with a home gym, dumbbells are were I would suggest you begin. They are versatile, you can often find good deals (current dumbbell shortage notwithstanding), and they'll last for a long time, so if you want to get rid of them later, you can. I acquired mine slowly over time. Those 3s, 5s, and 8s are probably older than my kids. The rest are more recent. I also have one kettlebell, and I encourage you to look for kettlebells or dumbbells, as a lot of dumbbell exercises can be done with a kettlebell instead. You can buy kettlebells as singles or pairs, and again, there is so much you can do with them!
Since I got my dumbbells at different times, I don't have a pretty matched set, but I got some free from friends, bought the 20s from Facebook market, and had some previously. My Wreckbag is also back there. I was using that a bit at the start of the pandemic, but not as much currently. It's a great training tool if you're in the market for something like that!
Bench, Rack & Barbell/Plates
This bench is so amazing and it is a complete fluke that I snagged it. I found it at an auction from a gym that was going out of business. It is a Hammer Strength adjustable bench. Should you come across one and have the opportunity to get it, I love it. If not, there are a lot of options to take the place of a proper bench. I've used an aerobic step, my plyo box, or the floor for most things that need a bench. For bench press, the problem with the floor is you won't get full range-of-motion, but it works in a pinch.
My squat rack came free from a friend; I don't know a brand or anything on it. It isn't anything fancy, but it holds a bar, and that's all I need!
My barbell and plates came from York Barbell. They're located in York, PA, and we stopped in while we were (sort of) driving in the area. They were sold out of a lot of stuff, so I pretty much just got what I was able. It is a "women's bar" so it is a little shorter and lighter than a regular 45 lb bar. The plates are just standard iron, nothing fancy. When I bought them, they didn't have many options, and the guy working at the store thanked me so much for being nice about it. I was a bit surprised because that obviously means that people had been going in there and being turds because they were sold out on stuff. My friends. Please, be freaking nice to the people working in stores. It is not his fault that everybody suddenly decided to go buy barbells all at the same time. There is no need to be a dick to the guy in the shop.
I would add bands like this to my list near dumbbells for versatility. I know everybody wants booty bands, but you can do so much with these bad boys! I originally bought them several years ago to use for pullup assist, but now they do lat pull downs, seated rows, face pulls, and so much more! These came from WODFitters, and they are great, but you can get bands like this many places.
Okay, you may not think your gym needs a heavybag, but you're pretty much wrong. This is another item I got from the gym going out of business auction, and I love it! I've been working on some boxing in my training, and my kids also like working the bag a bit to get out some big feels (and who isn't having big feels at this point in the pandemic).
Finally, the piece de resistance, the floor. This is a soft interlocking tile floor with two sides. One side is softer, and the other a little more firm. It is great for all my different workouts. If you've been in my classes, you may have heard me share my fear of slipping in my sweat on our regular tile floor. This just lays right on top of the tile, and it gives a great surface for floor work, and good traction for HIIT. The firm side is tough enough for the bench and rack to sit on. We got it at Home Depot.
If you have other questions or ideas on home gym setup, drop them in the comments!
I wrote a post a few months ago about how working out helped me in my trauma recovery journey, and I got a few questions asking how specifically to maximize your workout to heal from trauma. One of the specific ways in which working out has helped me in trauma recovery is that I was able to connect to my body better.
Many trauma survivors have the experience of feeling disconnected from their bodies. This ranges from severe dissociative episodes, to, at the less severe end of the spectrum, lacking in kinesthetic awareness - that's big words for awareness of how your body moves and being able to control it. Movement, particularly strength training, has helped with this. Here are my top three tips on how to tune in to your body during your workout, and as you apply these skills in movement sessions, you'll find they come more easily at other times.
Trauma recovery is a long journey, not a single destination. The cool thing about that is that we can all keep practicing these skills all along the way. If you use any of these tips, or have some to add, I'd love to hear from you!