I was watching Brenda doing mountain climbers earlier, and her back was rounding quite a bit. But if she isn't in pain, if she's fit, if she feels great, what does it matter? Marianne Kane and Bret Contreras give constant reminders that there is NOT a perfect physiology, gait, way to perform exercises...that's a myth. People can have what we might consider atrocious form, yet they complete a workout feeling great, without any issues. (For those who are old enough to recall doing this, we all survived those 80's aerobics classes with the form that now makes us gasp in horror, right?)
I have what many consider flawless posture. I'm incapable of slouching. I have a very flexible lower back naturally, am double-jointed, did a lot of dancing as a young girl, a small waist as compared with my hips, broad shoulders, a small rib cage, and long arms. So I can look great doing ab work, planks, leg lifts, etc. My long limbs make upper body work look easy to others. But if you saw me lunge, you'd cringe. My legs and feet and hips just don't want to work together for that! It took me eight months of exercising just to do a partial split squat with some measure of good form, that's how bad I was. My tall-box step-ups are no better. I fought like a tiger just to be able to step up onto an 8-inch step, I have such inflexible knees and weak quads naturally. I'm a big girl, so lower body work is already harder. I fell on my right knee six years ago directly on concrete, and so I can't sit back in Hero's pose to save my soul. Pain in that joint is a way of life, and I have to watch out for meniscus tears like a hawk. Doesn't matter how much I train or stretch, I cannot sit back on my feet, and likely never will. I have the cardio endurance to do jumping jacks and squat jumps until the cows come home, but my knees and ankles don't always comply. I have horrid ankle dorsiflexion and semi-flat feet from wearing shoes too often, too early in life, as I had to be at daycare every day from the time I was born. I also was born with my second and third toes webbed halfway up, which sounds meaningless until one realizes that it causes nerve damage in those toes for some people! Nerve damage sucks when it means you can't feel the step platform underneath you, or need to grip the ground well with my toes to land safely from a jump. Sometimes people attribute my lack of step or plyo prowess to my size, but it's actually a different physiology at work. It is frustrating and painful, but I am so grateful to have a body that allows me to do what I CAN do, which is a whole heck of a lot! My legs may be ugly, but at least I have legs, and so I've made a choice to be happy with them. My flaws are also good for me, because they keep my ego in check!
I completely get what people on both sides of the equation say here about Brenda. I don't think anyone meant to attack. I think we all have a genuine concern that people could harm themselves from using bad form, and we expect people in a workout video to set an example...however unrealistic that ideal might be, it's what we expect. I'm a stickler for good form, too. But there are limits to what one can do with their body. We have such a cultural belief in being able to overcome anything and everything, but that's not realistic. The older we get, the greater the limits we must acknowledge too, at least if we want to avoid overtraining and injuries. Even the finest gymnasts, figure skaters, etc., in the land have innate weaknesses that no amount of training overcomes. And everyone ages. However, they each also have enormous gifts that can't quite be duplicated in any other person. We're all unique for a reason, I believe. I can train until the cows come how, but I have ugly thighs, a crappy knee, aggravating ankles, and odd feet. Oh, well. I look up to Brenda because she does what we're all here trying to do- get up, tie up those shoelaces, and work hard and to the best of our ability. I believe Brenda reaches her personal best with every single workout, and for that she should be considered an inspiring and dedicated lady. She also seems very humble, radiates a beautiful persona onscreen, and is pretty darn strong!
She's stuck with working out over a lifetime, which in and of itself is an accomplishment few human beings ever get to brag about. If I could do HALF of what she could do, I'd be thrilled! I will never be ANYONE'S version of what an ideal fitness model would be, especially my own ideal. But if I ever achieve what Brenda has and stick with workouts like she does over the long haul, then I will be more proud of myself than I'd ever be over having the "perfect" body type, or possessing "flawless" form on every exercise. We can either choose to believe we ourselves are beautiful, and so is everyone else, or we can choose to believe we and others aren't beautiful. I choose to believe we're all beautiful, as that's a much nicer way to live.