Serena Williams’ Body Isn’t Fair And Neither is Yours
The US Open wrapped-up and unfortunately Serena Williams didn't capture the elusive Grand Slam. She was so close to an almost impossible feat. Nevertheless, she's had a fierce season. Put another way: she has been whipping everybody.
She won the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon. And made it to the semis at the US Open.
Many commentators believe she's the greatest female tennis player of all time. Her body and talent enable her to actually be the best in the world at something and earn a living based entirely on physical prowess. Not a lot of people can say that.
You'd think that someone in this position would be nothing but thankful for their body. Yet even Serena dealt with negative body-image issues for years, wishing that her body was different from what it was.
What? A world's best physical specimen was in a mental war with her own body? How can that be, you ask.
Growing up, Serena thought her physique was too thick and muscular. “It wasn’t very easy -- growing up,” Williams told The Huffington Post in an interview. “Venus was like a model. I was thicker.” She said it took time “to come to terms… with loving myself.”
Reports suggest that Serena loves her body now, but for a long time it wasn't the body she wanted. Chances are you've felt or still feel the same thing - that there's something about your body that you just can't accept.
This brings us to the point of the article: your body isn’t fair.
It’s a bit of a bummer, I know. And it’s something that doesn’t get talked about a lot in the fitness industry.
Here’s the truth: some people can put tons of work into changing their body through training and nutrition and never see the results they dream of. Genetically, you just might not have what it takes to be a world class athlete or have the most shredded abs on the planet. And just the same, you can't control if you naturally have a thicker build or a skinnier build.
Despite the many fitness professionals who promise miraculous transformations in 4-6 weeks, not everyone is a high responder to nutrition and exercise. Not everyone reaches their ‘ideal’ body, no matter how hard they try, and there’s no magic pill or insane workout routine that will change that.
Other people are gifted with crazy genetics and they don’t have to be as consistent to accomplish their goals.
Most people are in the middle.
We’re all dealt a hand in life and that's the only one we can play. It’s not based on merit or effort or goals.
Maybe you're naturally more muscular like Serena and want to be more slim. Maybe your body tends to carry a little more fat than you'd like. Or perhaps you are really skinny and it's hard for you to gain muscle.
Serena Williams is muscular and powerful, but she never lifts weights. It's just the way her body goes. Another woman could lift weights for years and not develop that physique.
What we all need is some perspective and more compassion for our bodies. After all, it's the only one we’ll ever have and it allows us to experience all the amazing aspects of life. When you think of it that way, even if it’s not your dream body it’s still pretty awesome.
Take a lesson from the fact that a lean, top-of-the-world professional athlete like Serena can struggle with the fact that her body isn't "fair”. Even she doesn't have total control when it comes to developing the body that she "wants". And neither do you.
Don’t get me wrong. We can all improve (a lot) regardless of where we’re starting. The fact that your body isn't fair is no excuse to do nothing but watch re-runs of the Sopranos and eat Doritos.
The good news is that everyone can become healthier, fitter, leaner, and feel better. You can lead a better, more energetic and happier life no matter what your body's predispositions are.
We all know a few people who swear by a certain diet regime and can’t help but trumpet it to everyone who’ll listen: low carb, low fat, moderate protein, high protein, lots of small meals, just a few meals, and the list goes on.
Keep in mind that what works for someone else might not work for you right now.
Don’t be limited by expectations of what your "perfect body" "should be" or focus on what someone else is doing to have success. Be focused on whether your health and fitness makes your life better, same or worse than before.
The bottom line is: do what works for you and keep some perspective about your body.
After coaching hundreds of people in fitness and nutrition, here’s what I can recommend:
Imagine that you treated your own body the way you'd take care of a small child. For the most part, you’d make sure that he/she got enough rest, play, quality food, and did its homework most of the time. But you’d also cut loose sometimes and let him/her have cake and run around naked without feeling guilty about it.
It's the same with nutrition and fitness. You don't have to be perfect all the time, but do try to nurture yourself and find a balance that works for you between how often you choose to be healthy vs. going buck-wild on an ice-cream sundae.
Answer this question honestly: does your current level of health and fitness ultimately fulfill what you want out of life right now? If it does, awesome! Keep it up. If it doesn’t, get some help to determine what changes you need to make. Getting there might be easier than you think.
Serena’s body isn't fair and neither is yours. But, you only have one body. Accept it, treat it well, and recognize that while a healthy body is one important key to your quality of life, your body-type doesn’t define you or how awesome you are.