Guess my sports? How my athletic pursuits affect the way I look…

I often say, as a reason for wanting to lose weight, that I want to look like the fit person I am. (See Fat, fit, and why I want to be leaner anyway and also Do I want to lose weight?)

I don’t think it’s a great motivation.

In an older post I say about the desire for weight loss, “Finally, there’s  bad motivation, one of which I try to be wary. And no, it’s not looking good naked. Like Tracy, I’m pretty comfortable in that department. I don’t have a lot of body image issues. I’ve often wondered about why that’s so. I’ve got some thoughts about my resilience in that department, fodder for a later post, I think. (Short answer: Thanks spouse, thanks feminism, thanks queer community.) Sometimes I want to look like the very fit person I am. There are days when I’m weary of fighting the good fight, challenging our notions of the size and shape fitness takes. Sometimes I want people to look at me and see who I am and what I do.For example, I’ve got incredible abs. You can’t see them as they are under a layer of fat but they do amazing things. I’m very strong in my core but it’s like they’re a secret super power, my invisible abs.Not being seen for who I am is a bit of a struggle on my life on a few fronts. (You can read some of my work on bisexual invisibility here and here.) So sometimes I’m sick of it all and want to be seen as the athlete I am.”

Sports Illustrated used to have a feature, maybe they still have it, called “guess the sport” where they profiled athletes in underwear and you guessed what their sport was. Here’s a version of it from photographer Howard Schatz. And among elite athletes it’s true. Sports select for types. See Are athletes really getting faster, fitter, stronger?

Among us everyday recreational athletes though you can’t necessarily tell what sports people love and play by their body size and type.

However, it’s not that there are no clues. Here’s some from my life.

Moving beyond weight, if you know what to look for, you can guess how I spend my spare time.  First, there’s some obvious things:  cyclist’s quads, short wash and go hair, shoulders that make it obvious I lift heavy things, my Aikido bruises.

But there’s more.

Tan lines: You can tell from my tan lines that I do something that involves shorts and gloves. I’ve been asked before if I golf because of my glove tan lines. There’s also my very white feet from spending lots of time outside in cycling socks and shoes.

Clean feet!: Although it’s summer and I’m barefoot a lot of the time, my feet are often cleaner than you’d expect. Why? It’s an Aikido thing. We play barefoot on mats that we need to keep clean and clean feet are a must. We also kneel so dirty soles of feet are obvious.

Short nails: I have short nails for Aikido too. No scratching allowed.

Shaved legs: In cycling, both men and women shave their legs. I’m no exception.

Callouses: I have definite Aikido mat callouses on my feet.

Bike grease: I often have bike grease on my calves in a distinctive chain ring pattern.

How about you? What are some tell tale signs (other than size and shape) that you play the sport that you do? 


10 thoughts on “Guess my sports? How my athletic pursuits affect the way I look…

  1. I can almost always spot a fellow OCR participant or CrossFitter by the scar on the front of their left shin from climbing ropes. After races, there are also fairly distinctive bruises under the arms at the triceps, from wall climbing. (Or sometimes inner thigh – but it isn’t like people see those!)

  2. Sometimes you can tell a male badminton player if they’re Asian, somewhat lean with strong quads and a spring-y gait. The way someone holds their racket says alot about their grip technique.

  3. I have a very silly runners tan at the moment. Looks like I’m wearing shorts and vest all the time, Garmin line on one wrist, sweat band on the other. I’m into long enough runs for compression socks now as well so it’s due to get even sillier!

  4. I’m a road cyclist… so when I walk along a crowded sidewalk and want to move over, I shoulder check out of pure reflex…! 😀

    That and a *really* silly collection of tan lines, most years.

    1. Love it. I’m much better shoulder checking as a driver after a few years of track cycling

  5. Bruises and short nails from climbing and BJJ, climber’s forearms, and overall evidence of weight training. And does anything other than climbing give you a noticeable shin muscle?

    1. Trail running does. Or at least it has for me. Gotta pick up your toes to avoid all those roots!

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