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What Is Your “Breakthrough Body Part?”

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Recently I was prepping for a bikini shoot and was tightening up on my diet. I don’t usually change up workouts too much beforehand, I just reign in my eating and make some simple switches to shed water and 1-2% body fat before a shoot.  I was coming down as expected, all the while keeping a close eye on my thighs. They are what I call my “breakthrough body part.” Meaning that they act as my progress checkpoint to gage how well my nutrition and training is working.  I love this concept because all women have “that one body part” that they are semi-obsessed with! Admit it ladies :) Those legs! This ass! My arms! This midsection!

Maybe for you, you know when your diet and training is on track based on how the definition in your arms are coming out, or if the cellulite on your butt has gone away or if your jeans are loose as a result of smaller thighs or, my favorite–every competitor’s breakthrough body part–ABS!  Are they showing? Are they out? Are they poppin??! :) YES!! The holy grail of leanness!

Ode to my thighs

The other day I posted my favorite Nike ad (above), displaying a set of muscular thighs–strong, healthy and fit. You ladies commented that your thighs are your “trouble area” or “will never be small” or  you “have learned to embrace your muscle.” I love that feedback, because me and my thighs have been through a lot together.  Maybe you have a similar story with yours?  In the genetic lottery, I got pinned with what my family lovingly calls “the Coleman thighs,” and years of early sprinting with my male cousins and hours of trampolining while jumping rope packed on lots of muscle early on.

Here are my thighs at 5 years old (having just run my first 1 mile run)–don’t you love the 80s?:

Here are my thighs at 9 years old (don’t mind the old school cut-out bathing suit or 90s haircut):

Here is a close-up at 25 years old (I conveniently avoided all potential thigh photos during college when the freshman fifteen went directly to my saddle bags):

And here are my thighs at the leanest they have EVER been–and still someone affectionately commented on this picture that I was “Quadzilla” which admittedly saddened me at the time, but now I actually embrace it–hell, I’ll be Quadzilla! Why not?! I will dominate the world with these quads! lol!:

I have had a classic love/hate relationship with these gams…when I was young I cursed my thighs while looking at all my girlfriends who had tiny stick legs. Even though I was an accomplished athlete, at times I would have traded it all for thin legs.  I was tortured by them…I stomped and yelled and threw tantrums in my head throughout my adolescence–why me!!? lol! Funny to even recount now, as if I could’ve done anything about it short of literally cutting off my quad sweep.  I remember being the only girl on my track team who had to wear spandex shorts underneath my track shorts or else my thighs would scrape together during training runs leaving a very lovely abrasion. Suffice it to say it has been a turbulent relationship over the years, ups and downs, love and hate, acceptance and denial :)

BUT, what all of this self-consciousness/female-insecurity/useless-fight-with-genetics has taught me is that I can and am doing the best with what I have. We can all work hard to improve our own trouble spots. We are never just “stuck”–we can always choose to train hard, eat well and keep everything tight. I understand now that if I sit on my butt and don’t work them out, they will just become big and flabby instead of big and solid. I will take solid any day.

I am literally “big boned” and my legs will always be heavily muscled, even at their leanest. I will always have a full sweep and noticeable tear drop and will always have to work to keep them tight. And the idea that I will ever have the legs of a runway model or even the ability to train to get them that way is insane.  To hold onto disappoint because I will never have thin legs will ultimately keep me in misery. WTF.

Come to think of it, I have to admit that my thighs have never let me down–they respond to consistent training, they allow me to squat and lunge heavy weight and they allow me to sprint up stairs, down a track or jump up on a bench.  It’s time to admit that they have been pretty darn good to me, despite my cursing them up and down for the past 20 years. I guess it’s time to give them a little lovin’ too.  I will no longer set self-expectations for the way any body part needs to look for me to be happy. I will happily continue to be the best Quadzilla I can be! :)

What breakthrough body part can you learn to love right now? :) Would love to hear from you! ox Jill

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