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It’s not NOT Motivating

Feel the burn.

No pain. No gain.

Hurts so good.

Pain don’t hurt.

Sweat is just fat crying.

Pain is weakness leaving the body.

Don’t it just make ya wanna jump right out of bed and into your next workout? Yeah. Me neither.

These quotes are everywhere: tee shirts, Pinterest boards, social media, bumper stickers, gym advertisements, our own brains. Oh. I know we’re beyond that because we’re in the safe affirming confines of FFF. I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m not beyond that. It still works on me. I like it (except for that sweat being fat crying bullshit) because I’ve felt that burn and gone back for more.

Fitness for Feminists has created space for me to feel that and feel good about identifying as a “person who works out.” Without FFF, I would see those quotes and think that I could never step into a BodyJam class pretending I’m in my own music video, or start boxing training and get as far as actually sparring, or set a deadlift PR let alone even know what a deadlift is. I would have seen the quotes along with the toned, thin, almost always white bodies the words are superimposed over and I would backtrack all the way home. My body and my size don’t exclude me here because I take up all the space I want exactly how I want to.

Fortunately, there is space for me to move freely. When I write, or record a workout and post it publicly, I’m helping to create that space away from the glare of weight loss. I want to feel good. I want to move and flow and I want to do it on my own terms. I can make that space an “iron paradise” (h/t to The Rock for that one) or I can make it as pretty as an Outdoor Voices leggings ad campaign. Because it’s mine.

No more playing small. I am taking up this space because I don’t have a desire to shrink. I will feel the burn how I want, when I want, where I want because I’m driven by something beyond what a glossy ad or poster tells me. I’m driven by the knowledge that my body is amazing in its current state and I can’t think of a better way to stay motivated than by spreading out, getting loud and maintaining forward motion.

Interested in learning more about Suhayl? Follow her on Instagram. Want to email her? You can reach her at

#fitnessmessaging #motivation #takingspace


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