A discussion on whether or not certain body types lend themselves to excelling at sport. Perhaps any body can be a runner’s (or lifter’s or swimmer’s or dancer’s) body with a little hard work and determination.
“Do you run?”
“You look like a runner.”
“You must be pretty fast…I bet you run.”
I used to get comments like these all the time when I was actively competing as a distance runner and weighed a lot less than I do now. People would see me, see my body, and just make assumptions about my athleticism or talent in running based on how I looked. I never really thought much of it then, because I did in fact identify as a runner. It was (is?) my passion and my favorite sport. So when people would ask me if I ran, I could answer honestly and say yes.
Now that I look a lot different than I did as competitive runner (and am MUCH healthier for it!), people don’t say that anymore. And I’ll admit, that sort of gets to me sometimes. Not because of the lack of commenting (I hate when people comment on other people’s bodies), but because those comments never should have happened to begin. So it retroactively upsets me I guess.;)
When did it ever become that you were only good at, or could even do, certain sports if you had the “right” body for it? From my experience, the old saying is true: hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Meaning ANYONE can excel at anything they put time and effort into no matter if they’re naturally gifted at it or have the optimal body type.
Go to any race in your city and you’ll see myriad body types, heights, weights and statures taking part. Would you say that only the long, lanky, waif-like ones are true runners because they supposedly have a “runner’s body”? And who defined what a runner’s body is anyways?
Or a lifter’s body. Or a swimmer’s body. Or a dancer’s body. Or a boxer’s body. Or a rower’s body. Or a cyclist’s body, for that matter.
Since when does someone’s body type determine what they are allowed or not allowed to do or be good at in the world of sports and athletics? I for one think it’s time we retire using phrases like “_______ body”. Magazines like Women’s Health stopped using Beach Body…so when will running magazines stop saying Runner’s Body?
When you think about it, what does having a ________ type of body even mean?! I’ve seen obese marathon runners and I’ve seen extremely thin people who can do more pull-ups than Navy Seal. Just because someone looks a certain way does not automatically mean they are great at a certain sport.
Of course, there is no denying that genetics do play a role in athletic ability. Things like muscle mass, lung capacity, and cardiovascular endurance can be passed down through your genes and thus give some people an advantage over others. But as I said above, talent, or in this case genes, can’t compete with hard work, dedication, and determination to improve.
All of this to say…I am SICK of people’s athletic ability (and a slew of other things!) being judged based on what they look like. Just because someone is thin doesn’t mean they are a good runner and just because someone is bigger doesn’t mean they can power lift. It’s wrong to assume anything about anyone based on their outer appearance. Instead, how about getting to know the person for who they are and letting THEM tell you what they like and are involved in?
I know I will never have a “runner’s body” again…and that is perfectly okay with me.
So while I may never be a sub-3 hour marathoner again, I am glad to be able to call myself a “runner” again. I am able to run in this body I currently have, so I consider it to be a runner’s body; regardless of its size or what it looks like.
Anybody can do anything they want with their body. Don’t let societal ideals of what constitutes a certain kind of athlete stop you from pursuing your goals.
Tell me one thing that your body does for you that you’re proud of!Stay connected:Subscribe to Healthy HelperInstagram: HealthyHelperFacebook: Healthy HelperTwitter: @Healthy_HelperPinterest: Healthy_HelperTikTok: KailaProulxBloglovin’: Healthy HelperBuy my BUDGET TRAVEL EBook!Shop with me on Amazon. Favorite products, fun finds, and more!
My body helps me delight in life with all my senses. I appreciate the gifts of eyesight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Thank you dear Kaila for getting me to think about what I am grateful for today!
I love it! Thanks for sharing Nancy!
Have a blessed day. Please check out my latest blog post, Plant-based Food Tips to Make Life Healthy and Lively. The link is below.
I agree. I’m tiny, so most people wouldn’t think that I can lift weights. (Spoiler alert: I can.) For the most part, athletic ability has nothing to do with how someone looks.
Exactly! You can’t judge someone by how they look!
A runners body belongs to anyBODY that runs.
SO true!! 🙂
Kaila, this celebrity-crazed society in which we live is obsessed with “body parts,” it seems. The media love to talk about certain celebrities’ butts and other parts. It’s really rather sick-making. Even little girls of five are catching the vibe and starting to obsess about things that shouldn’t even come up into their minds! I make it a point to never include body comments in any compliments I might give. “You look so pretty” is so much better than “That dress really makes you look thin.” I have never dieted in my life and if anyone asks me I always say, “Temporary diets don’t work.” I eat for health and make lifestyle changes. For example, several years ago I decided my health would benefit from never having more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in a day and that such a limit would be sustainable for a lifetime; I will follow that for the rest of my life. Sometime last year I started studying intermittent fasting and decided in early 2018 that 16:8 intermittent fasting had many health benefits and would be doable for a lifetime. It is something I will do for the rest of my life. Of course, these two things are often adopted by people for weight loss–and I did “accidentally” lose some weight–but my goal is health and that’s what I recommend to anyone who asks me what I think of the myriad of diets, detoxes, cleanses, etc, that are out there.
Thanks Jean! I am glad you’ve found what works for you!
[…] A Runner’s Body Doesn’t Exist […]
I have my whole life been assumed to be the less athletic of two sisters because of my body type. However, despite being shorter and fatter have always been stronger and faster. It’s something I’ve learned to live with. I loved flying past other long and lean runners in my 12km today, short legs and curves and all. I know what I’m capable of, don’t really care what anyone else thinks they know about me by giving me a visual once over 🙂
I love this SO MUCH C!! No one should be underestimated because of the way they look. GOOD FOR YOU! Keep kicking ass and defying people’s expectations.
Thank you David!