Gym Face: Skin Shame In The Fitness Industry

Gym Face: Skin Shame In The Fitness Industry

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There aren’t many more powerful places to shift people’s perceptions of their physicality than in the gym. It’s part of the reason fitness was so appealing to me when I first got started. I could give a shit about how many lunges you can do or if you can do them at all. I give lots of shits about your self-image.

As a leader in the space, it’s part of my job to model to you what’s called “good form.” Sure, this means I can show you how to do that proper lunge I don’t give a shit about. But more importantly, it also means I carry myself in a way I hope you’ll carry yourself too. With pride, empathy, and awareness – right down to the skin you’re in.

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When I started teaching fitness classes, I was ashamed of my skin. I saw the people I admired in the industry in ads, on television, in magazines, and on social media, and I felt as if I didn’t look the part. I didn’t feel like I had the ideal body, the coolest clothes…and I most certainly did NOT have that silky-smooth skin I thought everyone else had.

And so I not only doubled down on my product use, I wore makeup to class to cover up my perceived flaws. Spoiler, wearing makeup while you sweat is a recipe for clogged pores and very unhappy skin. So obviously, it just got worse. Not to mention, I was a broke 20something to begin with, and trying to fix my insecurities just made me broker. I felt shame around my skin, I felt shame around the bank account I mismanaged in order to try and pay for the products I used to un-shame myself from my skin. There are a lot of myths around being “someone from Los Angeles”…but I can tell you the stereotype of aspirational skincare is very real. Not only could I not keep up with the facials, peels, and products I believed I needed, but I felt like a fitness industry failure for not looking like the perfect version of health.

It wasn’t until I read Adina Grigore’s book, Skin Cleanse, that I realized that the perfect skin is the skin you’re in. I’d been overloading my system with SO many products over the years and had been wearing so much foundation and concealer to literally mask my insecurities, that I didn’t even know what my skin’s natural M.O. was.

The second I stopped piling on the products and stopped wearing makeup to teach is the second I really truly found my voice and stepped up my game in the fitness world. Coincidence? Maybe. But I’d like to think it had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t covering anything up anymore, literally and figuratively.

 

The perfect skin is the skin you’re in. Click To Tweet

 

I often think about the rise of body positivity in the fitness industry. Yes, it’s FAR from perfect, but it’s gotten so much better than when I started teaching over a decade ago. Body positivity is the norm not the exception, and the idea of working out for happiness, energy, and mental health is becoming way more mainstream. 

But just like anything we spend our dollars on, fitness is an industry. An industry that all too often banks on us feeling bad in order to sell us feeling good.

I wonder, with the skincare industry being as huge as it is, and apps like FaceTune and Photoshop being as accessible and easy to use as they are…will the shape of our skin be the thing the industry banks on in order to keep us coming back?

Will “Perfect Skin” become the new “Perfect Body”?

Is Skin Positivity one of the final sneaky Body Positivity frontiers out there – too subtle to be addressed but obvious enough to make us feel badly about ourselves on the regular?

I don’t have control over an entire industry, but I have control over what I do on my own platforms, literal and figurative. I no longer wear any makeup to teach my classes or to workout on my own. I’m older now, so I’ve got a few fine lines and eye circles and hyperpigmentation.

But if I’m not accepting of myself, in the skin I’m in, how can I ever expect anyone else to be? I’m not in love with my skin all of the time, but I’m too committed to modeling “good form” to let it distract me.

If you’d have told teenage-me I’d willingly get in front of hundreds of people a week with a spotlight on my naked face, I would have shuddered. If you’d have told 14 year-old me I’d be spotlighted on The Cut (bare-faced, in a VIDEO) talking about my skin, I would have straight-up laughed in your face. But I’m so grateful to know my classes and managers don’t care, and so grateful to know there are highly visible pop-culture publications just as dedicated as I am to busting open the myth that the way your skin looks is some sort of indication of how fit you are.


Skin Shame and Skincare Privilege is a real thing – but I’m here to tell you that you do NOT need to spend a ton of money or have airbrushed-flawless skin to glow from the inside out.
Take off the foundation. Let your pores breathe as deep as you breathe during a breathless push or a spinal twist. Model good form. Let’s break the skin shame together.

 

WANTcast 045: On Switching Gears + Embracing Your You-ness with Rachel Winard of Soapwalla

WANTcast 045: On Switching Gears + Embracing Your You-ness with Rachel Winard of Soapwalla

the WANTcast

Rachel Winard is the founder of Soapwalla, a indie skincare brand based in Brooklyn that prides itself on being pure, effective and trustworthy. The all-female company is based in Gowanus in a converted canning factory – so cool. After discovering that she had systemic lupus (an autoimmune illness that led to skin irritations), Rachel started creating products that wouldn’t irritate her skin. Today Soapwalla is a globally sold and recognized brand, and truly one of the OGs when it comes to the world of natural beauty. Soapwalla is proudly an LGBTQ-run business, an active advocate of gay and women’s rights, and works on getting customers involved too.

In this episode we talk about Rachel’s crazy and unexpected career journey from the arts to where she is now, how to advocate for a more inclusive and just world in both business and life, our mutual love for kind of unexpected things (like dinosaurs) and so much more. She is such a calming force and at the same time, so bright and effervescent – a friend of mine likes to say that certain people are like the “bubbles in champagne” and that’s definitely the case with Rachel.

WANT Rachel:



This Episode Is Sponsored By:
4 Weeks To Wellness

The 4 Weeks To Wellness program is a plan that ditches quick fixes and helps set you up for long-term wellness success physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s all about finding – REALLY finding – what works for you, putting your wellness puzzle together, and finding a way to do right by your body without giving up your life. It’s for anyone looking to make healthy changes (but lacking the framework and structure to actually make them happen) is gonna love this. Added bonus, Phoebe has personal experience with autoimmune diseases, thyroid issues, SIBO, Hashimoto’s – so if you do, too, Phoebe might be the accessible coach and cheerleader you need. It all happens online and is completely up to you how fast or slow you go.

Enrollment is open from now till April 20th, so go to thewellnessproject.com to sign up – use the code WANT for 15% off, AND be sure to enter The WANTcast in the How Did You Hear About Us section.

SHOW NOTES:
Soapwalla
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
Rachel’s dino office
ACLU
Call Your Representative
4 Weeks To Wellness

If you liked this epiosde and everything WANT is throwing down, be sure to head on over to the site and SUBSCRIBE to The GOOD Word, WANT’s weekly email love letter where you’ll get all the posts and pods delivered directly to your email doorstep, plus first dibs on events, workshops, and the stuff I’m WANTing each week that I think you’ll love too. Also head on over to iTunes and subscribe, and leave some stars and a review to spread the WANTcast love, I apprecite it more than you know.

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The WANTcast, Episode 011: On Skin Shame, Body Image + Kanye West Behavior With Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics

The WANTcast, Episode 011: On Skin Shame, Body Image + Kanye West Behavior With Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics

Body the WANTcast Work

She had me at “hello.” And by “hello”…I mean lip balm.

Today’s episode is with Adina Grigore, who, if you DON’T know, you’re going to WANT to know after we’re through here. Adina is the founder of S.W. Basics, one of my absolute FAVORITE all natural skincare lines – and the author of Skin Cleanse: The Simple, all-natural Program for Clean, Calm, Happy Skin.

adina_grigore
So, funny thing about me and Adina – I actually fell in love with her before I even met her, and what’s even weirder is that it wasn’t through social media or a podcast – it was because at my former editorial job, someone sent us a pack of her lip balms. You know how sometimes you’ll see someone from afar and think, I need to be friends with this woman? That’s how I felt when I saw the lip balms.

I know. What a weirdo, right? But here’s the thing: there was something so special and unique about the S.W. Basics brand that felt so personal, so down to earth, I knew that could only come from this badass woman founder who was steering the ship. This podcast is actually the very first time we talked, and I think you’ll be able to hear it, she just has this way of making you feel so at ease and like you’ve known her forever. It’s no wonder she’s in the business of making people feel good in the skin they’re in.

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In this episode we talk about the correlation between skin and body image, the trajectory that took her from dancing at The Ailey School to having a skincare line that’s in Target stores nationwide, dealing with skin issues as an adult and the stigma that surrounds it, and why Adina is so passionate about not doing this ONE specific thing that basically everyone does in order to grow their business (hint: it’s kind of like Kanye West’s behavior).

She also gets me being more of a Chatty Cathy than usual, but I couldn’t help myself – she’s one of those infectiously passionate and all around rad people you could talk to forever. (But I did you a favor and kept “forever” to under an hour.)

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Let’s do this thang!

WANT Adina:

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Show Notes:
Instagram
Twitter
S.W. Basics
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
S.W. Basics makeup remover
Skin Cleanse
The Ailey School
Adina’s podcast with Jessica Murnane (and her other one, too!)

Adina’s blog post – “You’re Really Hot. No, Really.”
Womens Leadership Conference
WANTcast on Youtube!

Tweetables:
We don’t realize that what we call problems…are just normal. - @adinagrigore Click To Tweet
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