We all know beauty standards for women change depending on the country, ethnicity, personal preference, even which celebrity happens to be most popular at the moment. However, no matter where you go there tends to be a specific unofficial checklist of agreed-upon “hot-girl” qualities. What I mean by that is there are certain areas of a woman’s body that the majority focuses on more than others in terms of fitness. I call these vanity muscles.
Judging Women for Being “Vain” Hurts us All
The focus of fitness has shifted for a lot of women in recent years. Instead of working out to fit into the social standard of beauty, women are embracing fitness as a way to feel their best and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is an amazing shift in mentality BUT I’ve seen women get pretentious about it. I’m going to say here and now: you’re not better than someone else because your reason for working out is what is “in” at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best.
A lot of women like to get fit for events like prom, a vacation, or a wedding. Sometimes women who are working out for an event (i.e. with the purpose of looking good), get called out on not being body positive. A woman can be body positive and still want to build herself a booty.
Body positivity is an amazing new idea in society that has really improved a lot of lives. Body positivity gives girls courage to be themselves and have confidence at any size and shape. But when we accuse women of being body negative, we hurt women as a whole. It’s okay for people to have opinions about their own body. It’s not a crime if someone wants to do some pushups to tone their arms. The problem lies when someone is openly criticizing someone else’s body. Yes, that still happens, but I’ve seen women get attacked on social media for wanting to lose weight before their own wedding. And thats’s wrong. We have no right to tell someone what they can and can’t do.
So, what are the vanity muscles?
Abs are number one on the list. The most common area of focus I see women asking about is their stomach: how do I get a flat stomach….how can I shrink my waist….what can I do to tone love handles….how can I get (insert celebrity name here)’s abs….are stomach rolls normal?
These questions are SO common that it’s almost impossible not to have seen one in your lifetime. You’ve probably even asked one or all of these questions to yourself or in a comment section.
Abs are the most sought after badge of fitness that a woman can get. But it isn’t all about toning them in the gym. You’ve probably heard by now that abs are shown in the kitchen. This means you need a healthy diet full of proteins, fats and yes, even carbs. You simply cannot balance out a bad diet with exercise. Now please don’t ever think I want you to starve yourselves to get abs. It’s never about eating less, it’s about eating healthy! Follow your recommended daily calories but eat healthy. You’ll find you actually end up getting to eat more and your abs will still show up because by choosing the right foods, you beat bloat and lean out.
In recent years, more girls seem to want booty gains! With the peach emoji flooding social media it’s hard not to want that “juicy” behind as well!
First of all, don’t be afraid to squat. In the past, I would avoid squats because I build muscle very easily and mistakenly thought my legs would bulk up. When I finally started squatting, this was not the case. My legs actually looked longer and leaner and my booty got some serious lift. Second, work the hamstrings! Hamstrings are often avoided because, again, girls don’t want to bulk up the back of the legs. Seriously, girl, this is a game changer. Do some hamstring curls and you won’t be sorry! Third: stretch! You need to stretch after every. single. booty. workout. This will help your muscles recover and give you the lean look you’re looking for.
The last of the so-called vanity muscles is long dancer’s legs. I’m gonna be real with you: if you’re 5’2 and long past puberty, you’re probably not going to grow taller. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still tone your legs and give them the appearance of being longer.
One of my favorite workouts for legs is barre. What better way to get a dancer’s legs than a dancer’s workout? Though I personally don’t find barre an effective workout for much else, I think it’s amazing for legs. Ballet Beautiful by Mary Helen Bowers was by far the best barre-style workout I’ve ever tried. This celebrity trainer/ former prima ballerina is credited with training Natalie Portman for Black Swan as well as some of the most famous of the Victoria’s Secret Angels. For my leg routine I usually just do her free workouts on Youtube but I also own her first book, entitled Ballet Beautiful. I was honestly not expecting so much intensity from a ballet workout.
So there are the top three areas that women tend to focus on. Though not every woman is after a tiny waist, big butt or long legs, I find that these are the most common on the collective fitness wish list. Remember that there’s nothing wrong with working out to look good so please don’t bring another woman down for taking an interest in her appearance. She isn’t shallow, body negative or any other negative you feel like it’s your place to say to her. If you find yourself becoming obsessed with a certain look, please step back and really think about your goals and self-image. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an exercise addiction, help is available.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what body part is your favorite to tone and comment if you have anything to add to the list!Follow Me: