Caught your attention! But seriously, as a mother of a young daughter, body image is something I think about a lot. My “baby” is almost five but already, I worry about the messages she absorbs from the images on billboards and magazine covers. I know I can’t completely shield her from our skinny obsessed-culture. But one thing my pediatrician made clear to me early on is that I can do a lot for her self image by being mindful of my own. I’ve been advised to refrain from talking about dieting or “feeling fat” in front of her. And it’s a rule I take seriously. This is one reason I was intrigued to interview Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body. Metcalf has been teaching fitness, training clients, and coaching on subjects of nutrition and health for 27 years. Her mission these days is to help people feel good about their bodies and strip away the self-criticism that weighs many down. Metcalf also recently released the DVD set TWM is giving away called Keeping Fit (thanks to producer Acacia/Acorn Media). It’s a combination of strength, cardio and Pilates routines targeted at the over-forty crowd. Here’s my conversation via email with this inspirational fitness guru and mom:
TWM: Why do you think being naked is an issue for many women? How do we fight body image negativity?
After surveying almost 500+ people with the question do you like your naked body for the book, Naked Fitness, women were not as happy as men with their birthday suits… I think it’s because we hold ourselves to media standards that are unrealistic. We have to look in the mirror and find something about ourselves that we love — like my arms are strong enough to hold my children, the groceries, etc. or my legs are great I can walk a mile.
TWM: You are a mom of older kids, how does your life as an athlete help you cope with the stresses and challenges of parenting teens and college students?
Parenting is certainly a crazy job. We want our children to like us but many things we have them do — they dislike us for.. and those are tough choices. But like in sports, we make those calls, for who is in the game and who is on the bench even when it hurts personal feelings. As far as stress of being a parent… it’s good to have a partner or girlfriends to bounce things off of… or a blog to let the frustrations air out.
TWM: What aspects of your fitness regimen do you or did you draw on as a parent? What matters most physically — core strength? strong arms? etc
Discipline. The day to day discipline of keeping on a schedule, keeping consistent with your program like keeping consistent with holding them accountable. What matters most is heart health and then a flat belly works well too! But core strength and total body balanced muscles are most important for keeping the body pain-free, moving with ease and staying healthy.
TWM: When you are time crunched, what’s the best exercise – cardio or strength?
Always a combo.. even on days when I’m on a treadmill I am never just doing cardio.. doing side-walks, crossovers, reverse plank push up on the treadmill… (I’d have to send a picture for you to believe what those are) and even then I’ll do strength moves. I think doing 50 sit-ups on the days you think you just don’t have the time is something… and I’ve done just that some days as well.
TWM: Do you have a power move that incorporates everything? What is it?
Reverse plank with one leg extended and cross-over. Awesome…hits glutes, hamstrings, abs, triceps, shoulders and yes, the core.