Fitness: Then and Now

bonnie pfiesterI came across this old photo of me on the beach when I was in my twenties. After sharing it on social media, I had several people ask me if I was insinuating I thought I was fat in that photo. One person said I looked like a size 4 there (haha, I wish! I’m not even a size 4 now!).  While I wouldn’t consider that “fat”, I can’t say I’d like to look like that again. Personally, I’d call that skinny-fat. I wasn’t overweight, but I was not fit.

The reason I posted that picture was to just show change – change in me, and change in fitness as a whole. I may have never been obese, but I have gone from a size 2 to a size 12 and back. I know what it’s like to feel fat, to have to diet and to manage my weight where I felt comfortable (because that’s really what it’s all about).

I actually thought I was pretty fit in this picture. The truth about “fat pictures” is we rarely want bikini shots when we are our heaviest, so I don’t have any real “fat pictures” of me. If I had to guess, I was probably a size 9/10 in this picture. I am a size 5/6 now. I probably don’t weight too much less than I did then, I just redistributed my weight by eating less crap, increasing my protein, and training with more intensity and purpose.

The Evolution of Fitness

fat rollerFitness back in the nineties was different than fitness does today. I’m proof of that. Even then, I was going to bodybuilding shows, going to the gym, working out, drinking protein shakes, eating (what I thought was) healthy, etc. I even had already taken my personal training course at FSU. It wasn’t like I didn’t know what to do, I just didn’t know what my body was truly capable of, and I didn’t realize how much control I really had over my physique. Now that I look back, I realize I really was not fit – I just knew how to lift weights and go through the motions. In my forties, I run faster, I am stronger, I am fitter.

Fitness didn’t just change for me, it’s changed period. I remember the “fat roller” machine, like in this black and white photo from the first gym I worked at in Tallahassee in the late 90s. Back then we had a large carpet aerobics room, open to the gym, and we had a few pieces of chrome tubular Universal equipment. I think we had a bike or two, but I honestly don’t remember any cardio equipment at all. I just remember a few weights, aerobics classes, steam room, hot tub and swimming pool. No wonder they called it a “spa” instead of a gym. I don’t know if anyone ever really broke a sweat unless it was in the steam room. ha! 🙂

Let’s look at some popular magazine covers from the time I took that old bathing suit picture, and compare it to jow fitness looks now. First, we’ll start with Fitness Magazine, who is celebrating their 20 year anniversary. From Jane Fonda to Jillian Michaels, fitness just gets fitter each year.

ss_jane-fonda-95  ss_oprah-winfrey-95 ss_gabrielle-reece-95

ss_FitnessFeb2008 ss_marisa-miller-03 ss_FitnessJulAug2011

Even Shape Magazine gets more in “shape”.

shape magazine shape magazine

Muscles and Fitness Hers definitely gained muscle mass over the years, that’s for sure! Geared toward women working toward sculpting their physiques, like Pro IFBB figure athletes, Hers has always has leaner, more muscular physiques.

mher0306 muscfitherscov44muscfit_julyaug07cover

While Oxygen is typically also known for having figure competitors and fitness models (like Jamie Eason, bottom left) on their covers, this month’s issue of Oxygen Magazine features a different kind of fit – and it’s not women training to sculpt their bodies, but training for peak performance.

jamie eason oxygen mag

No matter what YOUR definition of fit is, or what it should be (or what your personal preference of body fat to muscle ratio is), fitness (in my opinion) should mean you you feel (and ARE) healthy and strong (physically fit and healthy) – AND you should feel good in your own skin. This is not something that happens overnight. I am STILL learning how to be comfortable with me, and OK with a little body fat, etc. BUT, one thing I am proud of is that I am more fit today than I was when I was in my twenties. I may not be as fit as someone else, I may be a slower runner, or not the strongest chick in the gym, but I’m better – I’m better than the old me, and that’s the only person I’m competing with. 😉




About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on October 11, 2013, in Fitness News, Motivational, PFIT TIPS, PFOCUS. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Awesome!! I love the comparison magazine photos…so interesting! And I totally know what you mean about being “skinny-fat”. That was the style back then though, right? Now ‘strong is beautiful’…it’s the new skinny!! I actually wrote about this a little while ago..
    You look so amazing now!! 🙂
    -Sammy @

  2. Yup you WERE skinny fat, you looking freakin’ awesome now though. [I also thought the same at that age of myself (I trained hard, but didnt eat very well at all). I’m also 42 now and in the best shape of my life as well]. Ppl are very quick to judge you judging yourself, as if you should be happy being skinny fat becos they would be happy just to be ‘that trim’. Yet we all have different standards for ourselves.
    Well done Bonnie for keeping it up, keeping us inspired, and informed.

  3. Love this Bonnie! I’d gladly take a heavier, but stronger body, over a “skinny fat” body any day!!

  4. Haha, I think I worked in that same gym, only it was in Ontario Canada! I am 52 and getting back on my fitness horse. I think back in the day I looked exactly the same as you did in your photo and I thought I looked pretty good, but yes, my eating was crap and that, as you know makes all the difference. You are my body mentor right now…I want that (or some reasonable facsimile) body of yours…better get to work!

  5. You look amazing!!! Now I know why I love your blog so much – we are close to the same age (44 here) – all this time I thought you were much younger than me!!!

  6. Wowww you look amazing!!!…

  7. It’s great to see woman in their 40’s looking so great! I’m 48 and I want to be the fittest I have ever been. I work in emergency and I have noticed over the years the age of our patients has steadily climbed, so, that seeing very fit and independent men and women in their mid 90’s is not uncommon. I see them in the ER for minor emergencies. I want to be healthy and fit well into my 90’s and looks like our generation is heading in that direction. Thank you for the wonderful motivation!

  1. Pingback: Self Image | sugar sweat and sparks

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