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Fitness and Body Standards – Year 2020

by Tanya Agarwal

My mother was born in 1957. I ask her – who did you want to “look” like when you were young? ( the question itself is perhaps pretty loaded). She didn’t get my question and didn’t know how to answer this one. So I pulled out my instagram account and showed her pictures of gazillion women whom the world wants to ape! She finally got it. Her immediate reaction to that was, “Oh wow – I can’t remember more than 5-6 women in my life of 63 years who influenced me with their looks, body, cooking, maternal and mental abilities, and here you are seeing at least a million women everyday working on your influences”!

The word ‘influence’ and ‘instagram’ are actually inseparable! So much is talked about how to look, how to get that look, how to eat for that look, how to dress up for that look, how to spend for that look! That look! The Perfect Body that brings that ‘look’! We are all intentionally and unintentionally guilty of that ‘talking’.

Infact the ‘Perfect Body’ has always been changing, much like fashion and that is a pity!

For decades the ‘perfect body‘ is/ was small waist, big booty...

For decades the perfect body is/was the big boobs, long legs…

For decades the perfect body is/was extremely skinny

For decades the perfect body is/ was hourglass

For decades the perfect body is/ was boyish

For decades the perfect body is/ was full, curvy

When was the perfect body, a healthy one? A strong one? Any idea? Through what decade did women perpetuate that image of fitness, health and body on women?

How many of us prefer to look just as we are? How many of us want to work on making our body least dependent, ready and strong?

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The beauty, fitness and body standards have truly been cruel and Instagram has done everything to solidify the cruelty! So if the real me is the perfect body ( which I am told is this and that), what is the role of health and fitness is my life?

I am taking the liberty of mixing ‘looks’ and ‘body’. Since my focus is always and mostly – health and fitness, I do end up seeing coaches, fitness trainers with different bodies and different mindsets! and honestly – everybody promotes a body type – everybody has their version of ‘fit’ and I am not here to fight that. But I can’t help observe how aggressively these body standards are presented to people. “Followers’ lose their sleep over them, some embark on their journey of fitness, some stay confused. Am trying to present a more optimistic view of the body standards. My view is biased and the one I like and apply on myself. And hence I chose to call women on this blog -whose vibe matches mine, here and there! Do expect Part 2 of this blog.

Anju Mudgal Kadam

Founder & Director – Webtv.in, Founder & Chief Nurturer#100sareepact 100sareepact.com, Speaker – Ted.com

I’ve said this often, your exercise, nutrition, mental well-being translates to happiness. Don’t just aim for six packs, aim for a better blood report, aim to walk up seven floors when the lift isn’t working, to squat when you don’t find a chair, to lift a suitcase and haul it to the ledge, strive to sit silent and calm in the midst of chaos. Exercise so you can roll with whatever life throws at you and come back stronger. Fit, Healthy, Happy are the new riches we must each have. The outcome of all that I do – it translates to this – laughter, love, life.  A fuller life. 

Now, more than ever, we will be tested for our agility in mind, our normal has changed forever and how we negotiate a new life post Covid-19, will define who we become. Being fit in mind and body has never been more important than now. A pandemic is teaching us to look after ourselves better. Teaching us what really, really matters. Food, nutrition, sleep, exercise, family. 

Not designer clothes, not fancy meals, not great photos of expensive holidays, it is being content with what we have and a strive to better everyone’s lot along with our own that is taking centerstage. And only if one is “all together” can one look after oneself and others. 

Fitness , kindness, compassion, positive thoughts, good deeds & hope…have no mould, no limits, no form or shape. The more there is of each, the better we become. 

Terri Peri

Terri is from Southern California. She is a Director with KPMG, US and supports a team of tax professionals in Bangalore and Kochi. In July 2012, Terri was diagnosed with thyroid cancer but two weeks post surgery was participating in athletic events. She has participated in over 50 events, including sprint triathlons, full marathons and open water swims.

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Exercise is Medicine! Taking care of yourself has never been more important.

I’ve been traveling to India for over 15 years, most often twice a year.  Over the last 5 years, as an ambassador to a huge woman running event, those business trips have become more personal in nature.  As a seven year cancer survivor, I have talked to hundreds of women about the importance of taking care of themselves:  in fitness, healthy food habits and regular medical check-ups – all in the name of cancer.    
Then 2020 happened, bringing with it a global pandemic that the world has not seen the likes of, in over 100 years.  Taking care of yourself has never been more important.

Exercise is medicine:  For all of us, young and old, regular physical activity is important for staying healthy! Compared to just sitting around most of the time, moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Regular physical activity can help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.  Incorporate exercise in your “new normal” daily routine.

Make health and nutrition a priority for keeping your immune system in top condition.  Minimize your trips to the store and stock up on nutrition packed foods that stay fresh for a week or more; grains, beans, eggs, cheese….to name a few.
Most importantly, this is the time to find time just for you.  15 minutes, 30, maybe even 60 minutes.  Have you wanted to try a yoga class but too nervous to take your first?  So many are available online during the lock down you can take them in the privacy of your living room or balcony.  Wanted to try and workout in a sports bra?  No one is watching, give it a try 🙂


Sourima is Crossfit L1 certified. Kathak dancer, Belly dancer, a certified Make Up artist, is also TRX certified, a painter and a Techie by profession.

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My Fitness is based on the 10 principles: Strength, Endurance, Power, Speed, Agility, Flexibility, Stamina, Coordination, Accuracy and Balance.

My fitness journey started way back with Kathak and Running at School. But back then, there was very little awareness of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Now, after almost 25 years later I actually got a hang of it. I started lifting weights almost 8-9 years back and there has been nothing better, nor more satisfying ever since. I have been a CrossFit athlete for over 5 years now with an L1 certification and I SWEAR by: “The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provides a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity.”
Fitness to me is making you ready for anything that this life can throw at you. 
And as CrossFit states, my Fitness is based on the 10 principles: Strength, Endurance, Power, Speed, Agility, Flexibility, Stamina, Coordination, Accuracy and Balance.

Being Fit is being able to check all the above 10 boxes. Being Fit is not Skinny nor Bulky. Being Fit is keeping your Skeleton happy without overloading it. Being Fit is a result of being aware of what you eat (which doesn’t mean every food you pick up needs to be healthy all the time!)Being Fit is Gender independent. I love my Biceps (I wish had more :p) and my Quads as much as I love a flexible Spine.

Being Fit is being able to Front Squat with Double your Body Weight and be graceful with you arms when you Dance at the same time.
And if at the edge of 70 or more, if you can still hike for 10 hours or Deadlift 3 times your body weight or just climb a tree – you would know that you have done something right when you had the chance. 

Tanya Agarwal

Runner, Blogger on www.wellthyfit.com, Speaker – Tedx.com

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Fitness, to me, is Energy + Mental Resilience


I have looked like this most of my life. Through school, college, two pregnancies. Turning 40. Overall my weight has fluctuated 3-4 kgs here and there. Am not a fitness trainer, coach or nutritionist. But I do run Marathons, half marathons, workout regularly, raise two kids, and work.
In the last 6-7 years of living an actively fit life, to me fitness has boiled down to two things – energy + mental resilience.If I lack the above two – then I am not fit, no matter how thin I look to the world.To me – fitness is not in the looks. Looks are looks. They don’t tell anything about my fitness levels.Right now I feel healthy! Eating home cooked meals only. Working out regularly to keep away that extra weight that makes me feel sluggish. To keep myself toned. To fight the age related bad hormones. Drinking lot more water. Feeling good on the inside. Can I just say – I feel fit. I may or may not look it to you because I don’t confirm certain standards ! But I am!

Am constantly working on my energy levels. I have set goals for myself that go far beyond body standards and achieving them keeps me going like anything. Resaying this, fitness is not about looks. As cliched as it may sound – even physical fitness to me is not about looks ! Balls to people who make you believe that! .

That’s why I call it Wellthyfit! How you live. How you feel. And ultimately good health – physical and mental – is your only everlasting wealth ! All transformations can be see – even the ones that are internal ! Sometimes in your smile, sometimes in the way you deal with people, sometimes in the way you live every 24 hours given to you !

More articles on Body Image on wellthyfit.com

Women and their Running/ Sports Attires


  • Tanya Agarwal
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    Welcome to Wellthyfit.com! Wellthyfit is my ‘writing venture’ on health and wellness and a constant reminder that health is our only everlasting wealth! Who am I - you can read here. But at the core of it all, I’m a mom who loves to run!

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