Recently someone sent me a private Facebook message. It was a screen shot of a comment that another person in the fitness/endurance industry had sent them. It was about me.
“She’s gained weight, soft around the middle. What kind of example is she being? She’s supposed to be this fantastic coach, she certainly doesn’t look like it. Disgusting.”
Normally a comment like this would deeply hurt me and I would curl up a sobbing mess. No. This time it made me mad. Downright furious. I have been witnessing so much shaming in sport lately (adult and youth) that I have had enough. Time to take a stand.
Since weight and how I look is thrown in my face a lot. Here is my transformation over the last 10 years:
Picture #1, I had a miserable pregnancy. I gained over 100lbs. My body went on strike. Fortunately the reward was a healthy happy boy who is the light of my life.
Picture #2 I lost over 100lbs was lean and mean and in competitive running shape. There is a difference between racing and competing. I was focused 24/7 and in the gym or on the track 2 – 3 times a day. Nutrition was strict.
Picture #3 I was 15lbs heavier than picture #2.
Picture #4 is where I am today. 10lbs heavier than picture #3. Not as lean and muscular. Well within normal BMI (not overweight). My last physical was glowing. I’m healthy.
I am not competing right now. I am running and having fun. I’m actually running faster than I have in years, not that it is a focus, but it’s happening naturally, organically. I have found balance between running, family, work, and life in general. I am in a VERY happy place in my life. Do I want to drop the 10lbs so my clothes fit a little better? Sure. Am I really trying to, no, not really. It’s not the focus in my life right now. If I ever decide I want to be lean and mean again, I’ll do it. Right now I am ok with myself.
So am I heavier, yes. So what example am I setting? I am setting the example that balance and happiness is important. If you’re happy that matters. I’m healthy, active, and happy. So to the person saying I am setting a bad example for being heavy….tell me how a healthy, active, normal BMI, happy individual is “disgusting”?
As a coach I am committed to helping my athletes reach their goals but to also set a good example in the industry. I try to Be Kind, positive, and professional. I choose to lift people up, not to tear them down.
As athletes we need to Be Kind to ourselves. So often in running groups I see people constantly apologizing for the distance they ran, or pace. If they raced they apologize for not placing in age group or not having a “good finish time”. Seriously stop it! People run all distances and paces, we’re all different. Be Kind to yourself and be proud of you. Quit apologizing and shaming yourself. Be proud of yourself and take note in your own accomplishments.
I see in running and endurance groups where humor has taken a turn to being just downright mean. Groups becoming very elitist where if an athlete doesn’t complete the largest distances or doesn’t podium in their race they are belittled. In some groups where an athlete is being belittled people step up to have someone’s back, they too are badgered to the point they feel the only solution is to leave a group. Since when is it ok to not Be Kind and supportive? It is not ok.
My son is in competitive youth sports, he plays hockey. He has friends who play other sports come to support him, so in turn, we go to their games and support them as well.
I have seen some really nasty behavior in adult and youth sports. Maybe my rose colored glasses just came off and it has been going on all along. I don’t think it has, I just think we have again forgotten to Be Kind.
I began in team sports when I was a teenager, I am now the owner of an Endurance Sport coaching business and we have a team.
1. a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.
A team forms “one side”. They are together. A cohesive unit. They support each other. This is one thing I am very proud of Team KR Endurance. Our teammates are so supportive to each other. It makes me very proud of each and every one of them. I know they are leading by example in the endurance sport and fitness world with their kindness and supportive nature.
Some observations lately in youth sports are really disheartening. Coaches who volunteer their precious time getting yelled at by parents for various reasons. They are not paid for their time, they most certainly don’t deserve to be yelled at by parents. I know this has been going on for a while, but it’s at a different level now.
One of my son’s friend’s team was blowing everyone away last season. The coach is committed to developing the kids and with parent consent moved them up a level for growth. They aren’t winning every game anymore. Witnessing the kids play, they are having a BLAST. You can see the sheer joy on their faces. During one game (I missed this one) the parents start yelling at the coach they didn’t pay money to lose. Cross court yelling and screaming, not behind the bench yelling (to give you perspective on how loud and disruptive this was). The kids were visibly affected. Several started crying during the game. This was the account I was given by a few of the parents and several kids when I asked how the game went.
I am at another game watching kids play soccer. They are clearly having fun and I can hear nasty comments about a couple of the kids from parents. Parents from the same team, not even the opposing team. I cannot imagine how that can be fun for the parent of that child to hear this. Heaven forbid the child should hear these words. They are there to support their child, their child’s team and have fun watching the game, not hear their child degraded by others? Aren’t teams supposed to support each other?
There are by far more kind people in this world than mean people. It is time to stop this cycle. Quit shaming ourselves as athletes and Be Kind to others. My son’s school has “Be Kind” day each week. “Be Kind” shirts are worn. Kids are rewarded when caught being kind. You can feel the kindness and support in the halls of the school. This is how “Be Kind” started:
People show so much kindness and support during tragedy. Outpouring of support. If that ability is there, why can’t this kindness and support be shown every day, not just during tragedy?
I choose to Be Kind and be supportive. I hope that by leading by this example hopefully I’ll make a difference in a child or adult’s life, and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone else to Be Kind as well.
So tell me, what will you do to #BeKind to yourself and someone else today?