Abby Pell, fitness competitor and mother to a six-year- old daughter, has enraged legions of women who wear yoga pants for comfort and not function upon posting an Instagram photo that encourage mothers to hit the gym. My own stomach might not be ready to scrub a sweater, but I'm sick of fit people getting judged for being proud of their bodies.
Pell owns her own nutrition business, and worked hard to get back into shape after gaining weight during her pregnancy. She posted a photo of her daughter pointing to mom's washboard abs with the caption: "I've got a kid, a six-pack and no excuse." Here it is in all it's fit-spiration glory:
Pell spoke to the Mirror about the backlash the picture received. She said she posted the image after her daughter called her Wonder Woman. I love that she is sending the message to her daughter that strength is important, not a number on a scale. And it's awesome that her daughter sees her as a superhero and not a princess.
Most of the negative comments Pell has received take issue with the "no excuses" part of her caption.While Pell herself admitted that she thought the photo would stir up some controversy,she didn't anticipate this much of a reaction. But I love this image and think the haters need to think about why this photo has them all worked up like I am after a good Zumba class.
The reason the "no excuses" rubs people the wrong way is because at it's core, the message is accurate. Yes, we all have responsibilities and things to do that can get in the way of getting to the gym, but at the end of the day, we make time for those things we prioritize. And if someone really, truly wants to be super fit like Pell, they can be - it just requires the time and effort. Pell claims the point of the picture was to encourage other women, and for me, that's exactly what it does.
Being pro-body confidence requires that we support all women and all bodies. If we are going to rally around moms who are comfortable with having a few extra pounds post baby we should rally around those moms who are happy with having fit bodies as well.
The reaction to Pell's picture hits close to home for me because I understand how it feels to be judged for being fit. I just spent the last three and a half months training for a half marathon and while it was really difficult and I'm so thrilled with myself for what I accomplished, I actively limited how much I talked about it on social media and didn't post any pictures of the actual race, because I didn't want my online friends to think I was showing off. And that's ridiculous. Whether it's running 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 22 minutes or having Pell's washboard abs and enviable arm muscles people should be able to share the things that are important in their lives without being made to feel bad about it. Being proud of your body and the fitness goals you've accomplishes doesn't mean you're fat shaming everyone else.
No one gets judgmental when people post status updates about what books they are reading or new recipes they've tried. I've even seen people post photos of awesome Pinterest crafts they've pulled off with lots of likes and a minimum of eyerolls
So if you want to throw darts at Pell's photo because that makes you feel better about yourself, go for it, but I'll be adding it to my vision board as inspiration.