#Real Talk: Body Positivity with Natalie

Can you be as sweat obsessed as we are at uforia while still maintaining a body positive outlook? Yes, you can! uforia classes are designed not only to leave you sweaty after a killer workout but to also remind you that moving your body is a fun and empowering way to celebrate yourself. Beyond any fitness goals we may have, we workout for TODAY, not for tomorrow. True fitness results are about mental and physical strength (whatever that means for you), confidence, and self-love.

To celebrate the importance of body positivity, we teamed up with our friend and personal trainer Natalie Carey to learn about her journey with body positivity and her work in spreading its message into her fitness community and beyond.

Meet Natalie:

A California native, Natalie Carey grew up dancing ballet and performing in musical theater.  She began running in college, took up weight lifting while living in Japan, and began pole dancing when she returned to the Bay Area.  She is a personal trainer and lives in San Francisco.  She believes that women are all capable of feeling beautiful, valuable, and awesome. Visit her website www.barbellblondie.com to join a community of women advocating positive body image and to find even more resources for your journey towards awesome. Watch health and positivity in action on her Instagram @barbellblondie

 Check out Natalie’s Story:

“If I just lost 5 pounds, I could wear this crop top.”

This is the thought that got stuck in my head as a young teenager.  If I just lost 5 pounds, that boy I had a crush on would like me back.  I would get the part I wanted in the school play.  I would be more popular.  In college, I told myself if I lost 5 pounds, I would have gotten into that sorority I rushed.  People would be nicer to me.  I could wear that outfit I liked to the party.  In my 20’s, I thought if I lost 5 pounds, my business would be more successful.  I would have better online dates.  I would have more social media followers.  I kept a crop top with the tags still on it for literally a decade because it was so cute, but I was always too afraid to wear it!

I believed that if I could just be 5 pounds lighter, everything would fall into place for me.  I would spend hours in the gym, working way past the point of enjoyment, the taunting words of magazines and media and commercials in my head telling me I still didn’t look right.  I never had perfect enough abs to wear that damn crop top!

The majority of popular fitness trends today are pretty skilled at making you feel like you’re never quite good enough.  Fitness instructors think they’re supposed to yell things at you in class that make you regret what you ate or to think your body is not enough the way it is.  I myself was guilty of shouting these types of phrases into my mic in my earlier years as group instructor and trainer.  I wish there had been more visible fitness role models telling me about how awesome it would be if I could do a few more reps, how great I would feel if I pedaled a little faster, how fortunate I was that my arms could carry me down into a pushup and back up!

The main challenge I’ve found as a Personal Trainer who wrote a book about loving the body you’re in is to figure out how fitness can be body positive amongst an industry that makes its millions off of consistently making people feel bad about their bodies.  I was so excited to partner with Uforia Studios on this ongoing project, since their team also believes in exercise as a way to empower people, not tear them down.  Exercise is something I love that makes me feel wonderful.  I’ve seen it transform people’s lives, give them strength and confidence they didn’t know they were capable of, and to both cure and manage pain they thought they would live with their whole lives.  Movement can be about so much more than looking a certain way and comparing our bodies to a specific standard that is mostly unachievable.  It’s about something so much more important than those 5 pounds.

It’s been awhile since I realized that losing 5 pounds wouldn’t have a major impact on my life.  Gaining or losing 5 pounds makes me neither a success nor a failure at my life, my job, or my relationships.  When I started to let go of making my body look the way I had been told it was supposed to, my life began to fill up with greater experiences and joy.  I realized what a privilege it was to be able to move my body and to feel strong.  Exercise is so much fun when it’s this cool thing your body can do instead of a means to change yourself for somebody else’s standards.

Nowadays, my never-will-be-perfect abs, or lack thereof, are constantly on display.  I realized that I wanted to wear crop tops simply because I love crop tops, and I was tired of missing out because my body just looked the way it looked.  I wish I had saved that adorable crop top from years ago, but alas, I hope whoever found it at the thrift shop got to enjoy it instead.  I hope they got to move in it, sweat in it, and laugh in it.  I hope they know how beautiful they are, 5 pounds lighter or not.

Feeling inspired?

Check out 6 ways you can infuse body positivity into your daily life and community.