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? 


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