Fellow sweaters unite!
No, not the knitted kind. Please, put away that crazy, blingy beaded Nutcracker sweater that your Aunt Ruth gave you last Christmas. (In fact…just burn that thing.)
I’m talking about people who sweat: REALLY sweat; and do it with unabashed pride!
I often wonder why sweating has gotten such a bad rap, and what the heck the stink is really all about over something that is so incredibly awesome? Why do people insist on reinforcing the negative image of sweat with expressions that conjure the vulgar and the ugly, such as: sweating like a pig; Blood, Sweat and Tears; “Never let them see you sweat;” and (dare I go there) Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies?
In the 21st Century, women shouldn’t be saying things like: ” I don’t sweat; I glow.”
Well, if that’s the case, then slap my face and call me Chernobyl, cuz if sweating is wrong….I don’t want to be Right Guard.
I’ll admit that there are a few cases where sweat isn’t welcome.
But for the most part, if a person takes care of themselves, eats right, and has good hygiene….sweat is clean, pure and magical. And I’ve got the sticky note to prove it.
Sweat brings positive and wonderful things, and should be worn like a badge of honor. You did something fabulous for your body and soul to have earned it -so why not embrace it and flaunt it proudly?
In grade school, I was the only girl who played with the boys outside at recess. I shared their determination and verve to make every second of their freedom from the classroom count.
We took recess very seriously, and couldn’t let a single minute go to waste with standing around. So, I tore it up with them, in my plaid jumper and sneakers, playing “Kill the Carrier” or racing to see who was the fastest runner, because being faster than the boys gave me power and respect on the playground, which, back then, meant everything. It also meant that when the bell rang, and it was time to go back to our desks and sit still, my body let the flood gates open. While some of the other kids had red cheeks, and a dampness to their brow, I appeared to have jumped into a swimming pool.
Sure, a few people may have called me a Sweat Hog, but I took it as a compliment! I loved the Sweat Hogs (they were endearing, funny and cool), and besides, I felt electrified – and no amount of sweat dripping onto my fractions worksheet was going to dampen my spirit. (I hated fractions anyway) I was onto something that made me feel good and brought a sense of calm and cleanliness to my often chaotic and cluttered mind. The sweat seemed to wash away all the heaviness in my heart and my head, and replaced it with a joyful and light-hearted feeling that I couldn’t wait to experience again after it began to fade.
I had reached an epiphany at my desk as my white cotton blouse clung to my body: sweat is GOOD!
Now that I’m a “grown-up” I know that not only is it good, but it’s also good for you, and pretty damn sexy too.
I’ll take a fit, sweaty body over a lump on a log any day of the week. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Michael Bergeron, executive director of the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance says, “The reason why a sweaty body looks attractive to people is because the image implies: active, fit, tough and resilient.”
(Well, that about sums me up in four words.)
Yet, lots of people still hold onto the myth that people who sweat a lot are out of shape. I’m going to serve as a myth-buster on that one, and not just because I am a self-proclaimed, DYNAMITE Sweat Hog, either!
Here’s a quote from Neal Pire (hey…even his last name evokes heat) who is a New York-based personal trainer and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He says, “It’s people who are the most in-shape who will sweat the most, and the most quickly, because their bodies are conditioned.”
When you work out, your muscles generate heat when they contract, and people who exercise regularly are better able to handle the heat than those who don’t bust a move as often as they should. A fit person starts sweating sooner because their body is extremely efficient at cooling itself, since it’s programmed to recognize the need to do so. In addition, the “sweater” has a 20 percent higher blood volume than the “glower” – and since blood is what carries oxygen to the working muscles, it provides the fluid for the sweat to flow more freely. Ahhhhhhh. I feel refreshed just thinking about it. Really…unless you earn your shower daily….why bother taking one.
Rock Stars sweat, movie stars sweat, professional athletes sweat. Sweat is vital, beautiful, powerful and awesome. I know it -and you know it now too….but I still have a hard time convincing the girls in my Girls With Sole programs. I think that might be one of the biggest challenges I have with them: getting them to embrace the beauty and necessity of a good sweat.
I won’t give up trying, though. One day they will have their own epiphany. In the meantime I shall continue to serve as a deliriously delighted and drenched example.
I don’t think I’ve made it through a single program session without hearing various observations, such as: “Miss Liz!! You’re sweating!!” “Miss Liz …you’re so nasty!” “Miss Liz…what is that? You have something in your hair” “OMG..You’re SO sweaty!”
To which I always reply: “I know, isn’t it awesome!?” Usually their answer is a resounding, “No!” but I stick to my guns!
When that doesn’t work I resort to humor.
Many times the girls will be running or playing games, and when they begin to sweat, it’s like a siren goes off in their brain that tells them they should stop what they are doing immediately. They don’t want their sweat to flow freely, and instead, would rather keep it bottled up and hidden from the world. It’s as if they have been “conditioned” to keep themselves from sweating at all cost.
One young lady was running around in programs the other day, having a blast and enjoying the exercise, until she realized that her Ugh-boots were making her feet begin to sweat.
She stopped what she was doing immediately and ran over to me, explaining her plight as a reason why she should sit out. I just smiled at her brightly and told her that my feet were sweating too. Upon realization that I had confused this predicament with something that was remotely close to a good thing, she explained that she had fuzz in her shoes, and that I did not. So, I continued to smile and told her that I had fuzz in my shoes too! I asked her if she had ever seen the bottom of my feet? For all she knew, I might have a grotesque fuzzy foot condition.
It worked! She laughed it off, and went back to what she was doing. She was OK, for the moment, with her sweaty feet, because someone else’s feet were sweating too, and it wasn’t a bad thing.
It’s my mission to teach the girls to embrace their sweat and let it flow from their bodies with blatant disregard to what anyone might think about how it looks as it creates bologna slices under their pits.
A good sweat is like a tidal wave that knocks out stress, clears the cobwebs from your mind, and washes the dust from your soul. I want this for each of them, and I know once they “get it”…they’ll never let it go.
We are the only ones who can reward ourselves with this liquid gold ~ and each of us should feel worthy of the rewards that it brings. So, let them see you sweat!
Don’t be afraid or ashamed!
It’s beautiful- and you will be too (inside and out) if you do it!