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For Shame: Stop the Life, Sport, Fitness Shaming

Last day to enter to win a full (16-bar) variety box of Quest Bars as well as 2 free Spartan Race entries!

Quick disclaimer: I have included some GIFs in this post that are of a humorous nature, but I truly feel really strongly and very seriously about this topic. The GIFs are merely a chance for some lightness in the midst of discussion.


I’ve noticed over the past year a marked rise in shame-full talk in fitness circles: shaming, and talking about shaming. Fat-shaming, thin-shaming, last-person-to-finish-the-race-shaming, cardio-bunny shaming, meat-head-lifter shaming. Lots of people looking down on whoever is doing what they (the looker-downer’s) are not.

You don’t do speed work/HIIT? PSshh.

You only run how far/lift that much? Psssshhhh.

As well as the other side of the coin:

Wow, you run how far? But I only run this far…. I suck.

You run how fast?? Wow, why do I even bother?

And so on. I’m over it. I’m just flat over it. Enough with the life/sport/fitness shaming.

So, you don’t run 50+ mile weeks while maintaining a perfect diet that you make from scratch (including your own almond milk) and your personal garden. So, you don’t do all of your perfectly prescribed training sessions. So, you don’t go out and have a huge sundae every other night of the week to plaster on social media because you are “Like, YOLO, you guys!!!”

I would insert a gif or something here, but then I would have to punch myself in the face.

Maybe you are struggling. Struggling to gain, struggling to lose. Struggling to find the balance. Or maybe you are the freaking BOSS: speed work is like waking up in the morning and you make THE BEST almond milk. And you have a smoothie every day. And nut butter etc etc.

I don’t care. You = you. And you (yes, you), should be proud of that.

I bring this up for the aforementioned reason (that the topic is becoming increasingly prevalent around media and social circles) because I honestly do think that we should be proud of ourselves, warts and scars and all, but also because of several experiences I have dealt with recently, both where I was put on a pedestal as well as one where I was villified, to an extent.

When you run a marathon, you get a variety of responses. And you get both positive and negative responses from people who have and who would never run a marathon.

Positive Veteran Response: “Good for you! Which one? Oh, wow, that’s fantastic! How are the legs feeling, heheh!”

Positive Non-Runner Response: “Wow, that is so, so cool. I have such respect for people who take that on!”

Negative Veteran Response: “Nice. What was your time? What, that is like a 9:40 pace? You need to do some serious work to get better. And what was the name of the race? Never heard of it.”

Negative Non-Runner Response: “Why on earth would you do that?” also “That is so bad for you.”

At the studio (and loving my shirt!)

At the studio (and loving my shirt!)

So, Sunday. I went to the Body R+D class. And again, I want to stress that I did like the class work that we did. When I got there, the instructor (a middle-aged man) asked me what I did for fitness and exercise, as it was my first time there. I replied that I ran, and before I could also include that I practiced yoga, spun, and lifted weights, he started laughing and in a loud voice (to be honest, typical of how he comported himself) said, “aaaaaaaaacchhhh, you all know how I feel about THAT!” And then as he was sauntering away (I was filling out the contact form) I could hear the good old fashioned “You know it is just so terrible for your knees” etc. PLEASE, like I haven’t heard that before.

Later on, I asked him, “So, how did ‘little runner girl’ do?” And he said “Who?” “Me” “Oh, fine fine, we just gotta build some strength up in you! (patting me. WRONG MOVE).” I say, “well, I used to do quite a bit more strength training, and I’m looking to get back into it now that marathon season is over.” You would have thought I had shot him at the mention of “marathon season.”

mentally

Granted, this guy was totally full of himself, even though he looked like Richard Simmons mixed with Mickey Rourke and was about 20 years too old to even slightly titillate me, even if he was a) attractive and b) not built like a Box Troll. I get it, you’re the expert. I also fully well know that not everyone thinks like this. But a lot of people do.

(Please pardon the rash generalizations that I am going to make, and please know that I am talking about extremes, not many of the people that I know who do these sports and fully accept and encourage others who engage in different sports).

Crossfitters and HIIT’ers shaming on runners and people plugging away on the elliptical.

People saying ballet is not a sport, or that horseback riding isn’t.

Runners scoffing at walkers, and anyone scoffing at anyone else who isn’t as good as them.

That is like hating a person because they are blond, and prefer their hair shorter than longer. Or because they wear makeup every day. Or a dress to work. It is arbitrary and ignorant and just being a d*** for the sake of being a d***.

Want to know why they (the people who do what you don’t like/understand) do what they do?

Because they like it. Because it works for them. Because, for all of the hassle, it makes them feel good. It gets them ready to take on the day, a positive outlook. Because they like Twitter, they like to blog. They don’t like to blog. They like to be up on the news, they like to watch gossip shows.

Someone makes different decisions than you? Ask them why, in a real and genuine way. You have no obligation to change/convert to their ways! Find out why they think the way they do. What inspired them? What have they learned along the way? Maybe you leave the conversation with a new insight, maybe you leave feeling the same way about your previous ways, maybe you question everything you’ve ever known. Regardless, you are richer for it. Make your own choices, but be informed. Seek guidance, but do you. 

But always show others respect.

No one should tell you how to live your life. People can certainly make suggestions, and you should always be open to suggestion and learning. That is how you grow. But looking down on someone simply because they don’t measure up to your arbitrary standards, or adhere to your personal choices?

Now, that is shameful.

Be proud of who you are, but enable others to see the beauty and power in themselves as well. Foster the good in people. You never know where it might take them (and you).

What you should be saying to yourselves right now.

What you should be saying to yourselves right now.

Have you experienced shaming, sport or otherwise, in your life? I’m sure there are a lot of moms who have gotten flack for going back to work, or not. (Mom, I’m looking at you!)

Do you tend to belittle your own accomplishments when around those that are at the “top of the class”? Or do you stand firm and hold your ground?

How do you think that we can work on this societal problem in a real and meaningful way?

But why does it have to be like that

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116 Comments

  • Reply Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness

    Three cheers for this post! And LOL to the 4 types of marathon commenters– thats so spot on i’m still laughing. I think this post is brilliant. Personally speaking there does seem to be an air of if youre not running, your not really working out on blogs. (however growing up in a sports family im completely used to that POV.) thats where humor comes in. i think its usually pretty easy to identify the people who take themselves too seriously. think its too late to get taylor swift to change her song to “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate and the shamers gonna shame, shame, shame, shame, shame…” ??
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…My Inner Athlete PersonifiedMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 5:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Just don’t try to get TS to do it on Spotify…. lol. That’s part of the reason that I wanted to include the comment about ballet. If that isn’t a sport…. good lord they are generally way stronger than just about any of us!

      November 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Michele

    There’s a lot of shaming that goes on because people just aren’t secure with themselves and their own decisions and it seems to be natural (and immature, and mean) for some people to put down others to make themselves feel better. I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon, but spreading awareness and questioning behaviors is only a good thing to hopefully make some people look at their own participation and choose not to judge.
    Michele recently posted…8 Surprising Things I’ve Learned Eating Paleo for a YearMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 5:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      yeah, I don’t think that it is going anywhere, either. But one step at a time, you know?

      November 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm
  • Reply Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants

    Out of the park. There’s a quote somewhere that talks about building others up instead of breaking them down and I couldn’t agree more. I’m obviously passionate about fitness because I’ve chosen to go into the field, and my intentions in it are to always help others create a life (mind, body, spirit) that they love through their hour of training or yoga with me. We all have different goals, struggles, accomplishments, bodies, and lives worth celebrating!
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…Texas TreatsMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Love this response. We need all the “yous” we can get out there.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    I guess I typically belittle my fitness goals around others. I actually am sooo blessed to have really supportive people around me who like to tell other people “she’s ran a marathon” or “she teaches spin” or something along those lines. Even though they are being nice, it kinda embarrasses me and makes me feel like I’m bragging (even though I didn’t say a word – yes, I realize this sounds delusional), so I try to downplay it. In general though, I do get what you’re saying and it makes me upset! We all have different physical boundaries and shouldn’t we all be proud of each other for being active and trying to be healthy?
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Life Goal Complete: Chicago Style PizzaMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:24 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I try to contextualize, rather than downplay, my accomplishments. It is a tough line, but when you figure it out, it is actually an amazing place to be.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    YES YES YES to all you said. I am a firm believer that people should do what makes them feel good and what works for them. I used to be told that running was bad or now since I run I don’t have to do all the other workouts I do….but I like the balance and I like to mix it up plus since I’m currently injured and not allowed to run, I have something to fall back on. Fitness should never be a competition…so silly.
    Annmarie recently posted…Sprinkle a Little Goodness with Kickers! Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I mean–look at how much I’ve gained through all the yoga I’ve done as a result of being injured! And if one thing teaches you to be proud of your abilities in the moment, it is yoga. Sometimes, you just have to know that you are going to be falling over all class.

      November 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm
  • Reply Lindsay

    great topic! i think it’s important for us to focus on what our bodies thrive off.. no shaming needed. And each one is different. some lift, some run, some walk, some swim, some yoga…

    November 4, 2014 at 6:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And look at me–I do all of it! How could I ever say that one is better than the other?

      November 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm
  • Reply Kaila @healthyhelperblog!

    LOVE THIS POST. I love how you touched upon the the different forms of shaming. I’ve witnessed a lot of these and experienced some myself. It’s too bad we live in a world with so much intolerance for other people’s choices and differences.
    Kaila @healthyhelperblog! recently posted…How to Get Through and Injury Without Going CrazyMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know, and thank you. People love to point fingers and place blame. They want to be right. But you can’t be right. There is too much gray area in this world for that.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply Mar @Mar on the Run

    Looooove this!!! This holds true in the fit blog world. If you don’t have xx affiliation or xx page views or work with xx brands, its nauseating. Just do you!!
    Mar @Mar on the Run recently posted…Life After MarathonMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:48 am
    • Reply Helly On The Run

      totally agree!

      November 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh my goodness, don’t you and I both know it. I am now just where I want to be. I don’t take on campaigns that don’t resonate with me, I have affiliations that I feel represent what I am about. I hope I don’t compromise that, ever.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Great post. We should be PRAISING people for getting their butts moving, not criticizing people. And the trainer who did your class? Ohhhhh, i would have totally chewed him out, I’m not sure I could have kept my mouth shut and the fact that he patted you after….grrrrrr.
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Intro to Yin Yoga: Runner’s Recovery posesMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I wish that you could have heard what was going through my mind at that moment, honestly. You would have died laughing.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm
  • Reply Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    Like I have said before. You are your own biggest critique. So you should only compare with yourself and not others. Be the best you can be and that’s all that matters. I always get a kick out of non runners responses such as so how far was that marathon. ..haha.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…The Race Shirts That Will Keep You Warm ( and a Discount Code)My Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 7:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know, and I so hear what you are saying–focus on making yourself better. Then worry about others (psst, you’ll never get there haha!)

      November 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    Awesome post, and I love the way you went about sharing this. I hate that so much shaming happens, and unfortunately I think the people doing it are either dealing with their own insecurities or are just lacking the knowledge to appreciate other peoples’ ways. One thing that is hard for me is that I love learning and reading about nutrition, and when someone tries to go on about how they are eating so healthy but they are really eating a bunch of artificial stuff, I find it really tricky to respond. I don’t want to be like “no actually that’s not healthy” and i don’t want’t to agree with them when i actually feel differently, but at the end of the day we all get to make our own choices. It really bothers me when people shame others who are eating well. Like if I bring a salad to work and people are like “oh another salad…” in sort of a judgmental way. Do they event notice that its packed with tons of veggies and steak and olive oil? Probably not. But anyway, the fitness stuff is similar. As long are you are doing what makes you happy that should be all that matters.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Training FlashbacksMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 7:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I love when people see me order a salad. I get it, I’m small. Does that mean I can’t like veggies? Did you see how many meals I had today? NO, you didn’t. And preach–let’s just be happy and get along.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC

    This is really interesting! I think this totally exists but I honestly don’t encounter a lot of it personally. None of my friends (actual people I spend time with) are like that, and I avoid blogs or bloggers that have an air of superiority about fitness (or anything, really). I’ve changed how I view the blogging world a lot over the past year and no longer read blogs that don’t resonate with me. I think you handled that idiot instructor very well — I would’ve spoken with management as well as let him know his comment wasn’t appreciated. Thoughtful post, lady!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…October Blog Income and StatsMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 7:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks Courtney! It wasn’t worth my time to put him in “his place”–he was too firmly set in what he thought it was. And I am the same way–I have stopped following blogs that I get that whiff of superiority. Some people reek of it!

      November 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm
  • Reply Bri

    As a strength coach, I find there is a lot of arguing and shaming within the industry, too. Though I get some fit pros are trying to “dispel bad fitness advice”, sometimes I feel like all they do is argue about what is the one and only right way. But to be honest, as long as a client is safe, it doesn’t matter what they do for exercise as long as they are enjoying themselves.
    Bri recently posted…Do you feel bloated/uncomfortable after certain meals? Could be the FODMAPsMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 7:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for backing that up (as a strength coach). We all have different things that work for us–we should celebrate whatever that is. Like finding the person that makes us happy in life. or the gift that we didn’t know we had. Without shoving it down people’s throats.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply Rae

    I have a lady at work who is SO NOT DOWN with running. All she ever talks about is how it’s gonna destroy my knees/hips/life instead of being psyched that I’m psyched about it. I try not to let her get me down. She does aqua aerobics, which is totally not my thing, but I don’t tell her that the chlorine is gonna make her hair stringy and dry out her skin…

    I try really hard not to compare myself to others or get down on myself, but it’s HARD. We live in a society that seems instinctively and unthinkingly judgmental. We are constantly evaluating others without even realizing we’re doing it. I have no idea how to get away from it. I try really hard whenever I have an uncharitable or judgmental thought to follow it up with a compliment or kind thing instead, to train myself away from it, but it’s a constant struggle.
    Rae recently posted…Race Recap: RaceVermont Half MarathonMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 7:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Please tell me that she is blond and you can tell her that her hair is turning green. And that is a great strategy to engender good thoughts, not just to punish bad ones and feel even more down.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm
      • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

        That was my first thought, too.
        Blonds who swim a lot have hair that “does green well”
        I don’t think that trying to “live green” should include your hair!

        November 5, 2014 at 6:56 pm
  • Reply Farrah

    Oh my holy amazingness, thank you for this post! I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a while, but ER has taken over m’life! 😛 I’m really not okay with people who shame others for not liking/doing things the way they do it. WHY. Granted, I really suck at running and it’s probably my least favorite sport, but why the eff would that ever give me license to knock down someone else for doing it? That’s kinda like saying, “Oh, you don’t like the color blue? You’re obviously just a mere mortal and beneath me. I can’t be around you anymore. SHUN.” There is no logic to it at all. :[ I don’t get this very much when I’m lifting weights (maybe they’re just scared that I’ll fling a giant plate at em’ ;), but at times with the pole dancing, there’s the “but-then-surely-you-must-be-a-stripper!?!-how-is-that-possibly-fitness?!?” debate.
    Farrah recently posted…Recipe ReDux: Mixed Vegetable Soup [sponsored]My Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 8:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I would LOVE to hear what you have to say–particularly being a woman (and a feminine one, natch!) in a world that people so firmly associate with beasty men. And then you go and do the pole-dancing, which is so feminine. And you are obviously smart (hello med school). If you aren’t an athlete, I don’t know who is.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm
  • Reply Pragati // Simple Medicine

    GREAT post. This ish is rampant all over the internets and frankly, it sucks. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve seen on social media about being a good mom, being a bad mom, being skinny, being fat, doing cross fit, doing marathons, eating GMOs, eating organic. I get that the web and blogs are places for people to share their opinions but there’s a difference between sharing an opinion to educate others and being an asshole. I put Richard Simmons in the asshole category.

    **sorry for the language.
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…Jumping for JoyMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 8:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Exactly. That is preaching, not having a conversation. In my mind? These posts are a dialogue and a way to interact.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  • Reply Sue Parke

    Love this. I really just try to focus on me, my family and my own personal goals rather than what other people are doing. We all have different goals in life, shaming others for theirs is just silly and sometimes I think out of jealousy or their own insecurities. Love the little pic clips too hehe. Funny! Stopping over from FitFluential, btw 🙂

    November 4, 2014 at 8:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for visiting Sue! And I’m glad that you found the pics funny, not annoying. And you are so right–it is just SILLY. Childish.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Yikes! I want to meet this guy. I can’t stand when people react that way to running…or any other activity. I would never go back. By the way I was in a coaching clinic and a former Olympic speed walker was in with us. You know we all joke about speed walking but when this guy mentioned that he trained at an 8 min/mile pace we both about died. That’s faster than half of our long training RUNS!! I practically knelt at his feet 🙂
    Sarah recently posted…Make The Most Of Your MorningsMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 8:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG Speed walking is NO JOKE. I might giggle about it when I see it, but dang if I don’t respect it. And walking a half marathon? Totally tough. That is a LONG time to be out there (trust me, I’ve done it!). I’m going to go back to the studio because of the workout, but you can believe that I will go to someone different.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm
  • Reply Heather (Where's the Beach)

    The one downfall of social media is this very thing. It’s so easy to hide behind screens and say whatever we want without really knowing where someone else is coming from. As a personal trainer, I always ask for my clients to let me know what they actually enjoy doing. If it’s HIIT, walking, running, whatever, as long as someone enjoys it, they’ll stick to it. I’m always just happy to see someone being physically active period.

    November 4, 2014 at 8:15 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Don’tcha know it (the hiding thing). I love that you really try to focus on what works for your clients, and that you take joy in whatever that might be. That is just the right attitude.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    All so true. I have felt the shaming from other people and unintentionally be-litted my own accomplishments just because I felt they were not good enough.
    It goes back to a basic fundamental life point… we all should just be a little nicer. Everyone is going through something! Compassion and empathy goes a long way.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Lemon Ricotta Pasta with ShrimpMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 8:37 am
  • Reply Michael Anderson

    Awesome … just awesome.

    One thing you say is “Be proud of who you are …” and I would just augment that to say “… and take pride in advocating for others to take pride in who THEY are.”

    I think many people are competitive, and they by its very nature gets into a ‘better/worse’ mentality … I see more and more ‘near shaming’ with marathon season, where people who made their goals and perhaps a PR shame their old self, and read blind feel like they are self-boasting and shaming others who don’t meet up to their ideal. Bloggers need to be aware of this …

    Great comments so far as well.
    Michael Anderson recently posted…30 Days of Gratitude – Day #3, Feeding FrenzyMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 8:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I love these posts–they are getting such good responses. I say have pride in who you are, but have enough respect for others to include them in the conversation. And right with you on the marathon runner bloggers. Because their shaming of what they did before? That might make someone feel terrible about themselves. And that is just not fair.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Patty @ Reach Your Peak

    truth!!I love all of this. I had a boss who would constantly tell me how bad long distance running was for me. Worry about yourself!!
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…Tips For Running UphillMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 9:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Um, my doctors have told me that it is good for me to do weight bearing exercise. Moderation and balance. And that is in emotion as well as physical respects.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm
  • Reply Hilary

    Ahh I couldn’t agree more! Although fortunately I am blessed to have some amazing people I interact with at the gym always encouraging me! But I have to admit I get sick of some lifters and how they are just so totally against running, it is quite ridiculous that they can’t just say you know good for you, just for coming in and trying something whether you were here 5 minutes or 60 it is better than a good majority.
    Hilary recently posted…Don’t Be A Negative NancyMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 9:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      like they say: you are lapping everyone on the couch haha

      November 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes

    Preach!! This is so spot on. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me running was bad for my knees and I should stop, I could sign up for all the races! The main reason that I don’t share all of my race times and my training run stats is because I don’t want other people to compare themselves to me. I’m a pretty average runner and I am happy with that! That instructor makes me so mad, I would like to slap some sense into him!
    Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes recently posted…A Different PerspectiveMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 9:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Maybe we should implement that system for funding our racing. I think that is an amazing idea, actually.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    I think we’ve all experinced bashing from someone at some point. In the mommy world it happens all the time. How great would it be if we all supported each other instead of tearing each other apart?
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Warm Fall Vegetable Salad w Lemon DressingMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 10:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know. I kept thinking about my mom when I was writing this–she went back to work and worked until I was 5 and got SH*T for it. Why can’t people realize that we need both kinds?

      November 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    This is great! When I was training for Chicago this time around, I used an unconventional training plan put together by my CrossFit coach. It was awesome. But when seasoned marathoners heard I was running, I told them what I was doing and they totally dissed me! Seriously! Why? Anyways, I showed them with my 1 hour 10 min PR.

    We are all on our own journey. Shouldn’t that be enough?
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Cold weather running=beast runningMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 11:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Such a great parting question. I wish that it was, because I think that it could be! Imagine how much we would learn if that was the case. And HOT DANG girl, you showed them!

      November 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Anna @ Piper's Run

    This is excellent! I actually have a post drafted around something similar. I’ve had a close friend tell me they don’t want to run with me because I run TOO fast for them! I was extremely hurt by it and would rather run WITH a friend at any pace then run alone (stay tuned for that post). We need a little more love and a little less hate/mean in the world.
    Anna @ Piper’s Run recently posted…Stroller Running Mama’s and Papa’sMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 11:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Can’t wait to read your take. And just think–the comment might have been something that could have been such a moment of pride and success for you, but because of the delivery? Totally mindeffed you. And now, you will look like you are patronizing them if you say you will slow down.
      Thinking. More people should do it.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm
  • Reply Kimberly (Manifest Yourself)

    Fitness shaming is so big right now! For me, I start to feel bad for not being a runner. I feel like everyone in my fit circle is trying to run marathons… and I’m over here doing almost the polar opposite by training for a bikini division body building competition. BUT, it’s taught me to just work on me. Worry about my own workouts – and always cheer everyone on no matter what they are pursuing.
    Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted…REVIEW: Arborstead All Natural DeodorantMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 11:15 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      One of the reasons that I wrote this post is for all the people that are feeling a bit ostracized by not being runners. And you pegged it dead on: Worry about you, but lift the others up as best you can. Great comment!

      November 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    All the high fives to you my friend.
    I give zero fucks if you walk, run, do crossfit, or stand on your head 🙂 And I truly hope you at the very least, considered nut punching Mr Box Troll because he surely deserved it after that.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…TYT: WeekendMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 11:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      GOD I LOVE YOU. All caps. Necessary.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:27 pm
  • Reply Jill

    Very well written Susie. I like how you encompassed all kinds of shaming because really people will judge you for anything. Pretty much anything you do that is different than them. I know I’ve def kept quiet when I hear of other peoples accomplishments and know I’m nowhere near them! Which is embarrassing to admit. And although I try not to judge others it can be hard at times to silence just the mental comparisons. I think it’s the ego side of our consciousness that does this and we have to really strive to see others with the truer loving side. Much easier said than done but if you can’t change your thinking about someone it’s best to at least just zip your lips!
    Jill recently posted…Books, Water weight, and Tinder gemsMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 11:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Jill. I don’t think we even necessarily need to silence the mental comparisons. I think that you just need to contextualize them and turn them into something productive. Find the good in it. Ask the questions. Be curious. Be prepared to change your mind, or not. It’s scary to do that, to be open, as scary as it is.
      But not so open that we realize that you are a tool 😉

      November 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm
  • Reply Helly On The Run

    Oh no he didn’t pat you!! Grrrr!!!
    You go sister! It’s weird b/c I’m so good at motivating others and helping them see the good in *them* but when it comes to me, I have a lot of work to do. I constantly get mad at how bad I eat but don’t do anything about it (as I’m scarfing a quarter pounder while typing). Shaming others is a huge NO NO but we also need to stop shaming ourselves. Thanks for a great post!

    November 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh, he totally did. he’s lucky to still have a hand on his arm. It has taken me a long time to find the balance between encouraging others as well as myself in a way that feels meaningful and genuine, and actually benefits me. (Such as admitting that you are having the burger, but knowing that you are also balanced about it).

      November 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Gena @ Life FuelFilled

    Such a great post! I love you be you!
    Gena @ Life FuelFilled recently posted…I’m a RUNNER. Are you?My Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you Gena! That means so much!

      November 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply Heather @Fit n Cookies

    YESSS!!! I read this this morning and honestly shook my head the whole way! For instance, every once in a while I feel guilty that I’m only training for a 10 mile run and I think it’s tough and what not, yet others (uhm, you too) train for a marathon. BUT! Then I remind myself that I thrive off shorter races, and I can’t handle the long ones. That 10 miles is a challenge for me but I love training for that. That it’s OKAY to have different distances be our challenge. Of course, that goes without saying it’s true for everything. Not every fitness activity works for everyone- for me, I don’t think Crossfit is right. Do I think it’s wrong those who do it? No way! If you are up and moving, and trying and doing YOUR best (plus enjoying it) that’s the best thing to do!! Also, I kinda wanna kick that man’s ass (in a nice way of course) that gave you those remarks yesterday.
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted…Fall Into a New Arm RoutineMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      AMEN. In grade school? I was the last to finish the mile run. When I was sick? A mile would send my colon into spasm. I am thankful for everything that my body and my life is willing to give me. I am so proud of your 10 miles, because they are a challenge to YOU. You can change that, but that needs to be your decision. And if you don’t want to? Your decision as well. You want to give it all up and take up trapeze? YOU DO THAT. But know that you just have to do you.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm
    • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

      please let me jump in here–your phrase about feeling guilty because you are only training for a 10 mile run…….what an amazing statement and what a sad and honest one.
      -that you might feel guilty because you’d be perceived as someone who isn’t really going for it? that you don’t have the time to train for a REAL race?
      That kind of shaming just flat grabbed me because I totally understand that kind of guilt. When I did my first half marathon, I was so proud of myself, my getting-older-body that had been through hell the year before. I was in a big running shoe store buying my shoes for training, and the folks were so excited that I was doing a half-marathon……until they found out I was JUST A WALKER…..it was like, well why bother? on to someone who is really going to do a half.
      A half marathon is the same distance whether you walk it or run it, trot it or wheel it. The comments almost negated my joy in being able to try a 13.1 mile event. Then I remembered what I had accomplished to even train for that race. I walked across that finish line with a pride in my body and in my spirit that they would never know.
      There are times when I go back to that moment (in my head) to remind myself that THAT was MY race, and what others thought– didn’t matter at all.
      I hope your 10 mile race is wonderful and fun and makes you proud of yourself. I’m proud of you!

      November 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm
      • Reply Heather @ Fit N Cookies

        Oh my gosh you are the sweetest!! You are amazing for completing the half and honestly, I think walking it is harder!! You are awesome and I’m glad you are proud of yourself over that!! But thank you so much for the kind words! Totally appreciate them.

        November 5, 2014 at 7:24 pm
  • Reply Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill

    I love this post – and so completely agree with you. We should never judge others – and it’s amazing how often people will say that their way is best and try to shame others into feeling that way. it’s okay to think it (maybe) but there is so much tied into how we feel about ourselves, and we don’t need to make anyone else’s self-acceptance any harder.
    Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill recently posted…Win a #2015RunAcrossAmerica tank!My Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So agree. I think that the 2 of us have learned that there is no “right” or “best” way. There is a way that works well for us at that time. And it might change. Thus why I think you should never say never. You might just find that you are that person one day.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm
  • Reply Brea

    This really resonated with me. While I’m hella supportive on social media of my internet friends, I’m totally guilty of being hard on myself by comparing my progress against someone else’s. As they say, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ Thank you for starting the conversation!
    Brea recently posted…All Hallow’s EveMy Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Well, that makes me sad. You have so, so much to be proud of. And I hope that you continue to realize that.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    what a great post!
    I have two immediate reactions to this–
    1) Horse-show moms who throw out any ribbon that isn’t blue. As in, if you didn’t win the class, then you failed. OUCH
    2) the verb I’d use is “one up” as in “she one-upped me by telling me how I’m doing “so well” with my weight loss and soon I’ll be wearing a size __ like she is.”

    We have to learn to be good losers as we grow up–we can’t win everything.
    But we also have to learn to be good winners and that is maybe even more important. If we downplay, or slight, our victories, and we beat you, then we are telling you that you did even worse. We have to learn to say “thank you,” smile and then shut up.

    November 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply Michael Anderson

      Totally agree, and for all of my years coaching pretty much every sport and ‘non-sport’ (Scouts, Destination Imagination, Odyssey of the Mind, FIRST Robotics), it is really interesting watching kids react to things … especially when you also know the parents!

      Kids who are not brought up with a ‘2nd place is first loser’ mentality can actually have fun with events without so much external stress.

      Kids whose parents more or less do project for them (even in things like Destination Imagination and Odyssey of the Mind where there are strict ‘non interference’ rules), don’t seem to care much about the outcomes … it isn’t theirs after all.

      And totally with you on the one-up mentality … and it very often also comes from parents.
      Michael Anderson recently posted…30 Days of Gratitude – Day #3, Feeding FrenzyMy Profile

      November 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm
      • Reply suzlyfe

        I just asked Salt that very question: nature or nurture? I mean, I think that nature plays a roll, but I definitely feel it is nurture to a major extent. I still remember being taught lessons about respect from when I was 3 from my mom. And so interesting the impact of how parents teach their kids about winning/losing/doing the project for them. I definitely agree that people have to learn to do/show rather than tell/be told.

        November 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh yeah, you are so on point about the Horse show moms. SUCH a good point. I just always remember the lessons that you shared with us about starting from a place of respect. What others do with that respect? That is in their court. But you always start there.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm
      • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

        Aretha Franklin said it best with her song R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (and THAT dates me)

        Every one has their favorite passions, be it a sport, a course of study, baking, a country, whatever.
        Just because I don’t share your love of running in freezing weather does not mean I don’t respect your passion.
        We can’t exceed in everything, but if we give whatever it is, our best, then that’s where we find the joy and the pleasure.
        I’m not particularly competitive, I want everyone to do well. Its always nice, thought, when everyone does their best…..and yours is a little better……!

        But, seriously, if you enjoy your passion, then it isn’t about winning or losing, its about being and doing.

        November 6, 2014 at 8:18 am
  • Reply Salt

    Retweeted and a HUGE standing ovation. Everything you said here needs to be said. Probably over and over again until people finally get it. You are a rockstar, my friend. <3
    Salt recently posted…Three cheers for volunteers! {A non-running race recap.}My Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, my dear. It just irks me how little respect people have for each other. Is is nature? Is it nurture?

      November 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Brittany @ Barr & Table

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. That’s all I can say. <3
    Brittany @ Barr & Table recently posted…Link Love #59My Profile

    November 4, 2014 at 10:33 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You’re welcome x3 <3

      November 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Successful Healthy Holiday: Alternative Baking Staples - Suzlyfe

    […] see that my post yesterday struck quite a chord! I’m glad to raise the discussion, though I wish I didn’t have to […]

    November 5, 2014 at 6:47 am
  • Reply Lauren @ ihadabiglunch

    Everyone thinks they no everything in their “field” – people confuse personal experience/education with being a genius. And it’s particularly bad in the fitness world. If I hear one more person say that running is bad for your knees I’m gonna scream. Last week my doctor told me that weight bearing exercises, like running, are crucial for someone my age because it builds up my bone strength for later in life. So……….yeah. Again, the “truth” is relative, apparently. IMO, just freaking balance. Run, stretch, ice, lift, do yoga, try a new class, prancercize, whatever. And unless you have a PHD just keep your mouth shut about other people’s exercise habits
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…metta movement chicago: #100miles100smilesMy Profile

    November 5, 2014 at 8:35 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      YES. Yes. Yes. Yes. To all.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Bagels to Broccoli

    This is so on point. Thanks!
    Jen @ Bagels to Broccoli recently posted…WIAW: I Need To Get Better At This.My Profile

    November 5, 2014 at 8:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for reading!

      November 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Hayley@healthyregardshayley

    Oh YES! My everyday is the fitness and athletics industry and it doesn’t seem to matter what body size or what someone does their is always shaming.
    Hayley@healthyregardshayley recently posted…Natural Cafe Copycat Sautéed TofuMy Profile

    November 5, 2014 at 9:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ugh, I know. If you are fat, shame on you. Skinny? Shame on you. Working hard? Shame on you for not resting. Resting? Why aren’t you working harder? Why can we just try to understand others for just a second? And may, just maybe, to HELP?

      November 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    Posts like this from you are my favorite, you cut right to the point and are talking about something most of us have experienced in our lives. I have experienced it as a mom for my decision to breast feed Ashton for 12.5 months, for going back to work and being in a grad school program when he was an infant, etc. I have experienced it as a runner, it’s bad for your knees, how can running a marathon be enjoyable, etc. the list for that can go on and on I mean, why do people care what I do, especially if it doesn’t have any impact on them?

    I think that people are always looking for ways to cut down, belittle or let their opinions be known for many different reasons and it just sucks. I always find it easier to lift people up and not knock them down, I wish that were a more common mindset. I try to hold my ground on many issues but I also know if I am going to waste my breath and try and smile and walk away because who wants to have a one sided conversation with someone not willing to listen?

    I don’t know the answer to this, but I love how thought provoking it is!
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…A first time for everything–some unproud momentsMy Profile

    November 5, 2014 at 10:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know that people do these things because they are insecure, or d***s, but it is just so unnecessary. I love that you really focus on the lifting, not the pressing down. I think that doing just that is step one on the path to making a difference. But it has to be genuine. And, in short, just come from a place of respect.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply Earl-Leigh

    I’m doing a slow clap, ma’am! I was recently told by a coworker that I was doing Harper a disservice by not rushing out to have another kid. After the shock wore off, I asked her to imagine bedrest, a premature birth that leads to the NICU ($$$) and if she would want to go through that. She said “no”. One of my favorite sayings is “stay in your lane” but there are not enough people who do that.
    Earl-Leigh recently posted…WOW and The Ultimate Turkey ChiliMy Profile

    November 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      EXCUSE ME? ? ? ? Doing Harper a DISSERVICE? You might be able to stay in your lane, but I would have run her off the freaking highway/bridge old school Western style. You are giving the best to your daughter by not rushing until you are ready. To bring a child into this world and not be ready for it? That is doing EVERYONE a disservice.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply My goals for the Pittsburgh 10 Mile Race

    […] matter the distance- we all have our own personal goals. Suze said it the best the other day in her post- go read it if you haven’t. We are all different, and what we do is the best for us. So yes, […]

    November 6, 2014 at 5:00 am
  • Reply Mar on the Run! | Thinking Out Loud – Volume 1

    […] The other day I was reading my pal Suz’s blog and this post which talked about shaming others in all areas of life (though mainly fitness) and why we […]

    November 6, 2014 at 5:32 am
  • Reply Sam @ The Running Graduate

    I had been waiting to read this until I had the time to read (as in not skim) and I’m so glad I did. This is golden! I love every aspect of it, and you are simply so funny. Everything you said is so gosh darn true 🙂
    Sam @ The Running Graduate recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #16My Profile

    November 6, 2014 at 7:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it but also found the pith of it!

      November 6, 2014 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Jenny @ TurtleStride

    Excellent post – spot on! It’s sad but true that we live in a world where we’re spending more time judging and shaming each other than lifting each other up. On a positive note, there are people/bloggers like you who are voicing against it! May we all just strive to be “me” and do what makes us happy. Thanks for posting this 🙂

    November 6, 2014 at 10:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      No, thank you! This really does mean so much to me to hear you say that. I hope that it helps or makes a difference for at least someone. Any progress is progress!

      November 7, 2014 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

    You are pure brilliance! You bring up so many great points – I have dealt with many of them before and am guilty of doing them myself (belittling accomplishments). Thanks for always sharing your viewpoints and for always being you on the blog. I know this because I know you in real life too.

    Also great dinner tonight!
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Stitch Fix #6 – JACKPOT [How to make your next one a winner]My Profile

    November 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      😀 Thank you, Sara. For being my friend and knowing that I am me, too. And yay for tonight!

      November 7, 2014 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Links I Like #3: 11.7.14 - Bagels to Broccoli

    […] For Shame, Stop the Life, Sport, Fitness Shaming via Suzlyfe […]

    November 7, 2014 at 5:40 am
  • Reply Michelle

    What a great post. I couldn’t agree more. Stop. all. the. shaming! So glad I found your blog!

    November 7, 2014 at 9:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You said it, and thank you so much! I’m glad that you are here, too!

      November 7, 2014 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Friday Favorites: Good Reads | The Running Graduate

    […] For Shame: Stop the Life, Sport, Fitness Shaming – SuzLyfe […]

    November 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply Cassie

    SOOOO over fitness shaming. Like I just want to encourage newbie runners!! And I hate whenever people want to judge my times/running… like WTF I’ve been running for 11 years, I THINK I KNOW WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING. Ugh, GREAT post as always, xoxo
    Cassie recently posted…Now Trending – Best Links Week of 11.3My Profile

    November 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahahahahaha yes, but they’ve read all the recent research, so of COURSE they know more than you do!! 😉

      November 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply WELL, HELLO MONDAY… | Burpees for Breakfast

    […] on shaming: ain’t got time for that […]

    November 10, 2014 at 6:31 am
  • Reply Link Love: 11/15 - Cowgirl Runs

    […] For Shame: Stop the Life, Sport, Fitness Shaming via SuzLyfe […]

    November 15, 2014 at 6:46 am
  • Reply The Powerlifting & Pole Conundrum - fairyburger

    […] couple weeks ago, Susie wrote a post on fitness shaming that addressed something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now, because it feels […]

    November 25, 2014 at 5:03 am
  • Reply Janelle Goss

    Amen! Could not agree more! Be proud of you without dissing on others who aren’t the exact same.

    April 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Preach it! Why can’t we celebrate the strengths of others?

      April 30, 2015 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply PSA: It’s Time to Stop the Body Shaming Once and For All - Snacking in Sneakers

    […] Lemmer from Suzlyfe shared this amazing post about fitness shaming, in which she talks about the stereotypical assumptions and judgement made in the fitness […]

    July 23, 2015 at 6:35 am
  • Reply Erin@BeetsPerMinute

    I can honestly say that one of the reasons I do not want to work as a trainer in a gym any longer is because working with fellow trainers and athletes was such a TOXIC environment. I prefer working for myself because I don’t have to listen to the constant negativity and judgment that other trainers make about one another and even their own clients. Not to mention how many mean things were said about me that I would hear. I don’t know why (though I have my theories) this has become so commonplace and out of control, but yes, I agree it’s got to stop. Great post, girl!

    January 17, 2016 at 3:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Erin! And I agree–the big gyms can be be so cutthroat and indeed toxic. That is terrible that you had that experience, though. Why can’t we workd together to help each other out. OH BECAUSE HUMANS ARE LIKE THIS.

      January 17, 2016 at 7:45 am
  • Reply Let’s Love, Not judge! | chocolate runner girl

    […] Susie has been shamed for her running! […]

    September 21, 2016 at 11:56 am
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