A story about a girl, her thighs and a mom’s ignorance.
“I want to get rid of this bump” said the girl, not a day over fourteen years old and whose countenance revealed that this ‘bump’ may have been only one of many torments in her young life. She continued to roll up her pants to reveal her thigh and show me the ‘bump’ that was forming just above the knee. “I want it to go straight down” she said sliding her hands down her thigh and pressing the ‘bump’ back in. I wanted to cry. “All of her friends have nice flat legs” added the girls mom. I wanted to throw up.
This young girl was brought by her mother to the fitness store where I worked. They were looking for a solution for the developing quadriceps muscles that seemed to be ‘disfiguring’ the young girls body. Further discussion revealed a possible cause of the ‘bumps’. “She does 45 minutes on the elliptical crosstrainer every morning before school” said the mom, adding that she was lucky enough to ‘never have had that problem…I’ve always been skinny”.
At that point I had 2 options. One, I could turn on the fan and this ‘skinny’ (I say frail) mom would blow out the door and I could rescue this poor girl from her enfeebling family, or I could put on my best customer service/personal trainer/big sister act and try to steer these women in the right direction.
A supportive discussion on how her pubescent thighs had begun their transformation to the thighs that would carry this girl through life seemed to increase the despair of both mom and daughter. “How about this machine” asked the mom clearly losing faith in my ability and pointing to a leg extension machine. “ Will this one help make her legs smaller?” Along with mom’s other misguided beliefs she believed in the spot reduction myth (exercise a specific body part to make it smaller). She was also unaware that the fastest way to grow ‘the bump’ is with a leg extension machine.
Needless to say there were no sales to these girls. Here is what I would love to have told this girl about her thighs, and what all girls and women ought to believe about their thighs.
These are the thighs that will carry you through life. They will move you quickly away from danger, and even faster into the arms of your loved ones. These are the thighs with which you will play the games that will be your life’s best memories. Your thighs will take you to sacred places where you will experience magnificent vistas and soul-changing moments. These are the thighs that will carry your groceries, your children, and your burdens. Train them and strengthen them and give thanks for them, for strong thighs are the foundation of a healthy and robust life.