It was an ordinary early morning at the gym.
I was doing a side lunge with a DB clean in front of the big mirrors at the gym. As I watched my form, my eyes fixated on my legs and arms.
Visible muscles popped out with every move. Damn. I looked jacked!
Was it the gym lighting or do I really have muscles like that?
There was a time, not so long ago, that I despised my thick quads. In high school, I could never find jeans that would fit past my knees. I rejoiced when boot cut jeans became a thing because the tapered leg was not my friend. There were times that I borrowed my older brother’s jeans just so I’d be able to fit the fabric over my legs. I had to paper bag cinch the waist with a belt and tight roll the cuffs but at least my legs could breathe.
This was the ’90s when waif models, like Kate Moss, were the thing. No one had muscles. Everyone in magazines and TV looked like broom sticks. I wanted to look like that to “fit” in. But my body type is not broom stick. My body type is one that puts on muscle fairly easily. Skinny jeans of the ’90s did not accommodate anyone with visible quads and hamstring muscles.
It took me years to accept that. Even though I’ve been a consistent gym person since high school, I think my mind finally grasped the concept once I became a runner. Before running, it was always about “I’ve got to go to the gym so my legs get leaner” or “I haven’t lifted in 3 days, my arms are getting flabby.” Initially, even running was a means for weight control.
I’m not even sure when my mindset shifted. I know it was sometime after my kids were born eight years ago. Over time, it wasn’t about the weight. It wasn’t even about burning calories. It wasn’t about exercise. It was about how it made me feel. I enjoyed running. The sweat from a run was more than sweat. It cleansed me from doubts, worry, and preconceived notions of who I was. It made my mind stronger. Most importantly, it made me happy.
Now my thick quads carry me distances that most people will never cover. I climb mountains with these stems. My arms are strong and can lift things up, put them down and even throw them like it ain’t no thang. That’s something to be proud of. That’s something that should be celebrated.
It would be a lie if I said I’m perfectly happy with everything about the appearance of my body. I don’t always like things about my body like stretch marks, cellulite or the way my butt looks in certain pants. BUT I will always love my body. It’s carried and delivered healthy twins, it’s endured numerous running injuries (I could do with less of those, btw), and countless other things. It really hasn’t let me down!
My point in all of this is that there’s always going to be someone who is thinner, stronger, faster, younger, older, wiser, richer and any adjective that ends in -er, than you. What matters is how you process that. The grass is always greener on the other side. You may want smaller legs but the girl with skinny legs probably wishes she had legs just like yours.
Every body is different. We aren’t made in a factory with the same specifications. We are all unique individuals with amazing qualities that make us special.
You do you.
Embrace your awesomeness, thick quads and all.