My advice to my 21-year-old body – from my 35-year-old one….

by Lauren WhitbyThursday 6th October


I was in the gym today training pretty hard, sweating heavily, my hair all raggedy in a top knot like I’d been in a UFC fight and my face as red as a baboons bum, when I noticed this young girl who must have been about 18, training next to me.

I looked at her in her leggings and crop top, abs exposed, doing squats and lunges and I thought to myself - that was me 15 years ago! Tight bum, 10% body fat, visible abs, no cellulite, no back fat and no hips!

Then it got me thinking to how I remember feeling about myself when I was young. I remember thinking - then - I was fat. I thought my legs were chunky and my arse was huge. My Nan always used to tell me I had a juicy bum and I hated it!

I didn't know the difference of having a strong muscular build and being fat. I thought they were the same. I didnt think an athletes body was anything I would ever achieve or want to achieve for that matter. Female athletes were just too masculine I thought. It was all about being skinny like Kate Moss.

Even when we were going on girls holidays to Ayia Napa I still remember thinking I was fat when clearly I had nothing of the sort!

It just goes to show we are NEVER happy with our bodies, even when they are at their juvenile peak!

Every year I look back on holiday pictures and remember worrying at the time I was fat. But looking at these photos makes me realise how deluded I was. My body was amazing then!

Don’t get me wrong; my body is a COMPLETELY different body now and one that I love. One which is strong, one which is weathered, one I understand, one which tells a story and one that is now slightly more tattooed!

So it made me think about what my 35 year old body would say to my 21 year old body now…here’s what I think…

1. Please, do not think you are fat! That is just skin. When you can feel it all shaking when you run up stairs, talk to me.

2. Step away from the wheat & dairy – it doesn’t agree with you and it will save you 10 years of stomach-aches.

3. Your bum is not fat, so stop trying to cover it. Own it!

4. Always work on your legs & glutes. Do heavy squats, lunges and deadlifts to keep you strong & legs lean.

5. You don’t have cellulite. Cellulite shows you have lived!

6. Stop eating shit! You can’t expect to eat cakes, chocolate, cheese & biscuits and it not affect you in 10 years time. Not only will it become a habit, it will start the building blocks of insulin resistance. You have to work 3 times as HARD when your 35 to get rid of it!

7. Eat some vegetables! They will give you the taste buds of an adult. This will save you embarrassment at future boyfriends parents houses and help you enjoy a lot more food in restuarants.

8. See a physio and get your underactive piriformis working efficiently! This will save you lots of knee pain! Diagnosing any muscular imbalances early will make you train better.

9. Get regular leg massages for your tight calves, this will save you more physio fees and painful shin splints that stop you from running for months.

10. Join a local gymnastics club or athletics club and see what you can really do with your body.

11. Forget drinking & clubbing. You’re wasting so much time with hangovers you could be using to live the rest of your life.  Nothing ever happens past 2am. Or if it does you wont remember anyway.

12. Train hard and eat more protein. You have the building blocks of a strong body. Support it and nurture it! Be a badass in the gym! Not a lardass.

13. Don't be scared to go onto a gym floor. Be brave and try different ways of training. In 15 years time you will be lifting more than most of the blokes anyway.

14. Don't spend hours doing endless cardio, you will burn all your muscle away and could have used the time to go shopping or something. Or sleep.

15. Sleep is important but don't milk it. Get up and get out. Be more active.

16. LOVE YOUR BODY! Be proud of it.

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