Our Bodies, Our Swag

dapperQs, like anybody (if not more so), want to feel they look great in what they’re wearing and how they present themselves, which inevitably will include considerations about our bodies. This blog isn’t about having any one particular body- it’s about the swag you gain when feeling at home, comfortable, even empowered in your body. And rockin’ our swag is what dapperQ’s all about, right?

Bianka KosoyBianka Kosoy, Executive Creative Director at Equinox gyms. Image via New York Times

So what? Why this blog?

dapperQs don’t fit into a type, that is a generalized category, that gets spoken to from the “fitness and wellness to feel good and look sexy” industry. We’re not the type who wears tiny shorts to they gym, wears our ponytail high and messy, and has a salad for lunch, dinner, and Thanksgiving. And unfortunately, there’s really only two kinds of people being marketed to from the industry—the uber-femme super-gal, or the uber-macho super-dude. And, we’re just not invited to the party.

Couple at gymIt’s easy to avoid the gym when you don’t feel like you belong. Image via ImgFav

So this blog exists to host a conversation for the advocacy of sexiness and swag through our bodies—whatever way we want to express that. For me, I like having (big) defined biceps, big and toned calves, and some ab definition. AND, none of that is available without me having an overall when-I-wake-up-in-the-morning alertness vitality and wellness. If I’m awake and charged in the morning when I leave the house, my swag’s just gonna come right with me.

So let’s talk about wellness; that which I will define as a state of being well, healthy, and unimpaired. What does that mean for you? The ability of take in the day’s woes and handle them with relatively minimal upset? Is it getting through the entirety of your day without feeling sluggish, beaten, or fatigued? Is it climbing the office steps to get to that meeting and when you sit down at the conference table you’re not huffing and puffing? Look for yourself at what matters for you, and makes a difference in the experience of your body. All of this affects our sense of our own sexiness, and our experience of ourselves.

So this blog will look at some of the challenges dapperQ’s deal with in the wellness/fitness world. For instance: anyone reading this ever been uncomfortable in a ladies locker room at the gym? I know I have. Big Time. Worried other women aren’t comfortable with me in there (cuz I’m clearly gay and they worry I’m going to check them out while they’re changing), worried someone will tell me I’m in the wrong locker room, and my fears always result with my heart pounding- sure any moment the terribly embarrassing moment’s going to happen. (Shudder) This experience colors my whole workout, sometimes my whole morning.

So what do we do? A couple possible solutions: power through it—give yourself a pep talk before entering the locker room; it’s probably not the first time or the last time someone will think you’re in the wrong bathroom/locker room if that does end up happening. OR, use the buddy system. Find a friend you want to work out with and go with them—having them present with you will undoubtedly provide support and comfort. Another strategy is to design your day where you don’t need to spend much time in the locker room—go after work so you needn’t use the shower there. Lastly, screw the gym! You can get an awesome workout without ever entering a gym: Push-ups, core workouts, and yoga can offer you great strength training options right from your own home. Running or bicycling outside will get your blood pumping. These are a couple ideas, and I invite you to post below with your thoughts about averting locker room anxiety.

maria_bootcamp_planksNYC trainer and nutritionist, Maria Fuenmayor, guides boot camp participants. Image via Maria Fuenmayor Fitness.

The point is, just like many things we deal with, exercise is very gendered in our society. And that gendered-ness has an impact, but we can’t let it impact our swag- the swag that’s resultant of our relationship with our bodies, how we care for them, and how we invest in them.

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  • The magic of the interwebs allows the “buddy system” solution to be taken to the next level! Consider the possibilities of having a cheerleader/accountability coach/workout partner you may not know in person… I have found the fitness social network Fitocracy really supportive for finding all kinds of fitness friends based on interests (gym related or otherwise), since I live in a small town and don’t have any workout buddies on hand. Someone to text you a reminder in the morning when you’ve promised to go to the gym, or psych you up when you’re anxious about it, or “compete” in a physical challenge with you, or congratulate you on your progress — Anything to help you get stoked up, and focused on feeling awesome about the work you’re doing FOR YOURSELF!

  • I like to wear my bottom-layer gear under my clothes if I’ll be going to lift/work out later in the day–so, once at the locker room, I’m just stripping down to a pair of compression pants and an extra-strength sports bra. Pull on some shorts over the pants, a shirt over the bra, and all done without having to be discomfittingly naked in the locker room. (I also second making the schedule work so as not to have to shower in the locker room, but at home/somewhere comfortable.)

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