Giving Up the 'Skinny' Dream Is the First Step to Getting in the Best Shape Ever

woman lifting with kettlebellWe all face pressures to achieve the perfect body, but how we get there is a matter that's been up for debate -- especially in recent years. Is a workout routine devoid of strength training and focused on being thin really the best way to go? Girls star Jemima Kirke doesn't think so.


Jemima may play wild child Jessa on the popular HBO series, but in real life, she's a mom of two who lives in Brooklyn and who, four years ago, was on the hunt for the perfect workout. She wanted to get and stay fit after having her baby, but wasn't having much luck with popular workout classes like Pure Barre and the Tracy Anderson Method. As it turned out, both a new workout and new outlook was the answer.

Jemima's featured in the New York Timemagazine, T, this week discussing how she now stays in shape: by training twice a week with Cadence Dubus, at Brooklyn Strength, a Pilates and fitness studio in Brooklyn Heights and also by going to 50-minute Pilates and kettlebell group classes. Think tricep extensions or lat pulldowns with a Springboard, stretching, bumping up her strength, mobility, and cardio with kettlebells, and foam rolling.

More from The Stir: Only Clueless Women Would Rather Be Skinny Than Strong

The other key: shifting her thinking to prioritize her overall wellness over being "skinny." Jemima explains:

The concern here is with your health — it’s not about ‘Lift your butt! Squeeze those thighs!' It took me a little while to accept that I could get a tough workout and not be suffering, and be okay with certain annoying bits that just aren’t going to go away.

What's more, the new practice Jemima has adopted has benefits that extend far beyond just being fit. Cadence tells T, "When we work out, we want to be practicing how to have a more efficient, graceful, strong body, not just lift heavy things or pulse tiny movements that are not connected to regular daily activity."

In other words, a routine that focuses on being strong vs. skinny is far more practical and useful for every day life! If instead of slaving away for an hour on an elliptical, you're zeroed in on how to engage your core while lifting with a kettlebell or holding a plank in the proper position, you're actually training your body to stave off injury when you do things like pick up heavy groceries, carry your baby, chase your toddler, etc. Not to mention that strength training is proven to spark continuous fat burning and metabolism boosting.

When you start to think about fitness routine in these terms, it's almost impossible to go back to the old way, the body shaming way, the idea that you should hit the gym and beat yourself up there only to drop pounds and get a skinny "bikini body."

No wonder Jemima's keeping up with this kick-ass routine! And given that she and the rest of Brooklyn seem to be on the cutting edge of what's trendy, fingers crossed this is a sign we're all on our way to prioritizing strength over skinniness.

What do you think about Jemima's workout? What sort of strength training do you like to do?


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