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Ester Marsh: Accept your body as is

Love and accept what your family genetics and God gave you.

Unfortunately, so many people I meet, especially after the quarantine, are so unhappy with their body. I can completely understand. You are disappointed you didn’t stick with your program and staying at home led many people to eat extra calories and be very sedentary. Today, I want to help you get back in the swing of things and love your body again. Too many times people get stuck to a picture they would like to “look like.”

Everybody has a certain body type that was passed on to them through family genetics. Even when your parents and siblings don’t have that “shape,” most of the time when you go back in your family tree that particular shape will “pop up” somewhere in your family’s past. Someone with wide hips might want to make them smaller, but when you feel your hips, and you feel bones. There is no way you can make that part smaller.

Don’t get discouraged. There are some things you can work on to make your body appear more symmetrical. One thing you are not able to do is “spot” reduce when working out. Especially when you are dealing with bone structure but even dealing with fat, just because you are working that part out does not mean you are losing fat/weight in that particular area.

So sitting on an ab cruncher all day long is not making your abs smaller or eliminate the fat.

A total body workout focusing on problem areas while enhancing other parts, along with lots of cardio and a healthy eating lifestyle, will get you on the way to lose the unwanted fat and hopefully the shape you want, even after being sedentary during the pandemic. A healthy lifestyle now is more important than ever.

Your main focus should be health first, not just the body, but also the spirit and the mind. In my almost 39 years of being in fitness, I have seen magical “body and spirit” changes with hard work, patience and perseverance. If you use the same, you will reach your goals.

Just remember, you can’t “spot reduce” or change the structure of your bones. However, working out with weights can change the size of your muscles and your symmetry. Typically, to make changes such as getting bigger shoulders to make wide hips appear narrower, you will need to have a bodybuilding program for your upper body. That means heavy weights and low reps. Of course, you have to start with a base to get your body ready for rigorous exercise. Higher reps and lower weights will do that. It will prepare your tendons and muscles for a heavier workout. This does not happen in one day or a week!

Have a fitness trainer assist you with a weightlifting program. Add cardio most days of the week and abs whenever it works out for you.

Hard work and determination can get you the symmetry you want, while taking into consideration what your family heritage and God gave you! Just remember, health is first.

Ester Marsh is Health and Fitness Director of JF Hurley Family YMCA.

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