What is a bikini body?

Everywhere we look, there are trainers, doctors, media personalities, and celebrities, saying: "Do xyz to get your bikini body today!" or "Sign up for my program to make your bikini body a reality!"

But what is a bikini body? My assumption is that the term refers to a body that looks good in a bikini. But what constitutes looking good in a bikini? Looking like a Sports Illustrated Model? Having flat abs? Having big boobs and a tiny waist, with a perfectly rounded butt? Or is it more about how the bikini looks - how well it fits, if it provides adequate coverage, etc. Or is it about you looking like you're having fun in the bikini? 

See, I'm confused. And I don't like the term at all. If a bikini body means looking good in a bikini, there are so many factors contributing to that - not just body fat percentage. I've been on a beach in a bikini numerous times and seen women who have a completely different body type that me - some are overweight, some are very very thin - and they look fantastic! Why? Because they appear to be confident and they look like they're having fun. It doesn’t matter what they ate the night before or how much they exercised - it just matters that they’re rockin’ that bikini! 

When our exercise and nutrition revolve entirely around extrinsic motivation, or external rewards like having a “bikini body,” we set ourselves up for failure. It can take months to see physical changes from an exercise program. If we’re dragging ourselves to the gym three times per week for a body that we aren’t getting, do you think we’re going to keep going?

Heck. No. 

“Bikini body” completely ignores the main benefits of regular exercise – increased strength, ability to easily carry out day-to-day tasks, more energy, improved mood, lowered risk of a whole host of chronic diseases, improved cognitive function, higher self-esteem and self-efficacy. If we only exercise for the way it might make us look, we’re really missing out.

Also, umm, how often do most of us even wear bikinis? I would bet that most of the people reading this work full-time, are students, and/or have families to take care of. Sure, I’m in a bikini several times over the summer, but I’m in workout gear and professional attire far more often.

So we’re told that we should exercise and eat right for months before summer to be in a bikini maybe a handful of times? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t leave me feeling pumped up about working out on Monday morning.

Exercise does so much more for us than make us look good. Let’s exercise regularly because it keeps us healthy enough to do amazing things - like hug, dance, play, create, design, and laugh. And let’s use our strong arms to throw the term “bikini body” out the window.

Now go rock that bikini, one-piece, or pant suit. You're beautiful, and don't you forget it!