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Fitness Vanity

There are dozens of reasons to work out. I mostly work out in the hopes that I can carry a trillion pounds of groceries upstairs in one trip. I want to have the strength to lift a huge skillet with one hand while cooking and be able to drink a glass of wine or two without guilt. I want stamina, energy, strong bones, a strong heart and good health.

And while those are some very noble reasons for working out, I also have a few superficial ones as well. One of which is that I don’t want to have to shop for new clothes. I defy my womanly genetic makeup and don’t love to shop. Gasp now, that’s fine. It takes me a million years and many headaches to find jeans that fit me justright. It’s better for my sanity to work hard and maintain my weight and size than to go up a size and have to shop. I’d rather not shop any more than is needed to keep me a functioning member of society who doesn’t get arrested for indecent exposure.

Another superficial reason? I want to look good, of course. And I’m sure that most people who regularly hit the gym have this reason on their list. It might even be most people’s main reason for working out. We like to see progress in improving our bodies; we like to see new muscle definition.

Which is why it hacks me off that paleness isn’t conducive to showing off muscles.

You know how the camera adds 10 pounds? Well, it’s a little-known fact that paleness also adds about 10 pounds AND hides muscles. At least, I just made it fact. And seeing as how I haven’t had a tan in a good five years, I feel like my muscles don’t get to show off like they deserve to show off.

I refuse to hit the tanning bed for fear of oh, cancer. And sadly, also-pale Jenn and I suffer from an identical affliction that is a bizarre allergy to anything that claims to be a tan in a bottle. (I told you we were freakishly the same person.)

So I go pale. And while it slightly peeves me off that I don’t look as strong as I could with a golden glow, I deal with it. Because I know those muscles are there. Plus, I’m not sure the toxic orange glow like Muscle Man’s above would agree with me. —Erin

Self Challenge Update
I got my challenge under way Feb. 19. I did enjoy the strength workout Self has planned this time around, mostly because there were no Turkish Get-Ups. Although it took me 30 minutes rather than the 15 the magazine said, I was sweaty and got worked from head to toe. Plus, I was definitely sore the next day. In my first short week I got in 59 minutes of cardio and logged 40 minutes of strength.

Also, be on the lookout next week for FBG’s first podcast with none other than the ripped and sassy reality TV star Jackie Warner!Photo grabbed from roonb at Flickr.

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  1. Meg says:

    Good for you for not succumbing to the tan-pressure! I am also freekishly pale (although that has more to do with living through last summer on a night shift) and cannot bring myself to use self tanners (I lived through the 80’s when those things really DID turn you orange!)

    I would also like to note that I too am a woman who would rather not shop. In fact, I often resort to ordering things online that are the exact same thing that I already have to avoid shopping!


  2. David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts says:

    I’m still stunned from the revelation that you DON’T like to shop. Wow. I think you’re right about the whole pale thing too.

  3. kjl says:

    I actually like to shop, but I’m a super cheap bargain shopper and only buy stuff on clearance. So when all of my pants started getting a little snug just after the first of the year I made a few eating changes (no more sweets, no eating after 8) to try and fix the problem so that I didn’t have to go buy all new pants! When that didn’t do the trick I went hard core with the workout, and am now BRINGIN’ IT with P90X–week three. I’m now getting up at 5:30 a.m. and working out for an hour plus 6 days per week just to avoid having to buy new pants!!

  4. {cher} says:

    I’m a whitey white girl, and don’t like shopping either! lol.

    I have to admit I’ve gone to a tanning bed or two, and even got a spray tan for my wedding. (never again, stained my wedding dress and now it’s RUINED!)

    I don’t do it for others, I do it because I was hidden under clothing for so long in my “fat suit” that I wanted to do/try something that I had never done before.

    On top of that, I wish they just had lil chambers like that withOUT the bulbs. Just a nice warming feeling, streaming music, and tranquility. If anything, I like going for the peace and relaxation!!

  5. Lori says:

    I think reasons for working out are mixed with just about everything you mentioned. Mine have changed over the years and I’m not going to say that it was once to look good and is now health b/c that is not true. It still is partly about looks for me, good or bad.

    I feel you on the pale thing. I’ll be honest and say despite health risks a tan strangely makes me feel better about my looks. Never been to a tanning bed though. Just could never do it. Oh well, at least you’ll be better off in the wrinkle category. 🙂

  6. tfh says:

    I definitely have vanity levels.

    Vain enough to prefer having muscle definition? Check.

    Vain enough to court skin cancer or coat my body with tan in a bottle? Nope.

    What doesn’t help: when I do get tanned, not-on-purpose, everybody saying, “You look so healthy!”

  7. Tish says:

    am i seriously moving towards the dark side…because i didn’t know paleness added 10 pounds lol…la demands my tan!

  8. Michelle says:

    I use the gradual tan lotion when I want to get some color, then you can look tan w/o the skin damage. If you like that sort of thing…

  9. MizFit says:

    Im not a big shopper either which makes for a LOT of mailing stuff back when I cave to internet shopping.

    and the selftanner stuff? I have had so many disasters with that Ive given up 🙂

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