Counter-Cultural Fitness: Isn't it time to say "enough"?!

Megan Dahlman
April 12, 2019

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Counter-cultural fitness

it gave me a jolt when i saw the comment on my youtube video...

...I thought it was a joke at first, but then I realized she was dead serious. I forget that people talk like this and think like this. And I often forget that women, especially, believe deep lies like this about their bodies. It breaks my heart.

It was an entirely random comment from someone I’ve never heard of on my Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat video. (You can watch the video here). This is my hands-down favorite lower body exercise that trains your legs like nothing else can. It works single leg stability, quad, glute and hamstring strength, core strength, flexibility, and power. It’s a huge “bang for your buck” exercise. Mastering the RFESS says a lot about what your lower half is capable of. Serious strength.  

But then this comment. She said: “I'm not trying to be rude or funny but if this builds a butt then how come her butt is still flat? I need a big round beautiful ass and nothing is helping.”

OK, what? Wow...

The problem with social media like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, is that you just put yourself out there for pretty much everyone to see. And when you have a business, that’s the point. You WANT a lot of people to see your content. But with that comes a lot of weirdos. And honest souls, like this poor girl.

Sucked into that realm. Take a guess at what my initial thought was after reading this comment. “Hey! My butt’s not flat! Are you kidding me?!” Having a flat butt has NEVER been an issue for me. It’s pretty much the only thing round on my body, since the rest of me is straight and flat. I’ve had some body image issues in the past, but they have never been about my glutes. I’ve got sprinter’s glutes and that’s just a fact.

But hold up. I then realized these tiny sentences she wrote had immediately pulled me into her realm. They flung me over into the other fitness arena and it made me feel ill for her.

What lurks down in this realm? Vanity. Self-absorption. Narcissism. Absence of wisdom. Disregard for functional fitness. Misunderstanding the body. Comparison. Jealousy. Folly. Obsession. Slavery.

With her few words, I could tell that this girl was wrapping up her identity and all her worth in having a “big, round beautiful ass”. She was on the hunt for that prize and nothing was helping. I could tell that her workouts were engineered toward shaping and sculpting her body. I could tell that she probably spent a lot of time in front of mirror, one minute happy about her image and the next minute disgusted.

I don’t know her, but perhaps God designed her body to be like an ectomorph’s, that is long and slender and has a difficult time building muscle mass. Or perhaps she already does have strong glutes that work well and keep her back, hips and knees free from injury and pain, but she can’t truly see what she already has. Or perhaps she is just de-conditioned, feeling out of shape and miserable in her body, and she thinks that sculpting and shaping her figure will be the answer to her woes.

I don’t know this girl, but I do know that her heart is bent. It’s bent toward finding value, love and acceptance in what others say about her. (You don’t say things like that if you are already basking in love, value and worth.) If she ever does find that bodacious booty, she will still feel empty and lost. The enemy has gripped her heart and deceived her, telling her that she can “be loved and important” somewhere, anywhere, other than in the arms of Jesus.

She’s not alone. I see a world of women enslaved to their bodies. I see sisters at war with their flesh, trying to tame it into submission. I see moms deflated and dejected because of the way their bodies look. And I see an enemy that is thrilled with all of it.

You have probably seen the Strong Momma’s motto: “learning to be strong and healthy in a vanity saturated culture”. What Strong Mommas is doing, what I have taken up as my mission, is to be so crazy counter-cultural in one of the hardest industries. I want to see the love and light of Jesus rush into the dark, enslaving realms of the fitness world.

Counter-cultural fitness. What does this look like?

  • This looks like women understanding that their value and worth is far, far more than the shape of their bodies.
  • This is women learning about true strength, power, and grace.
  • This is moms being set free from the tangling lies that say “you’re not good enough”.
  • It’s seeing my sisters realize that working out and eating healthy has very little to do with fat loss, and far more to do with stewardship and gratitude.
  • It’s seeing women understand that God has a purpose for every aspect of their lives, even their bodies.
  • It’s about becoming a force to be reckoned with...an entire army of women that realize their true potential.
  • It’s all of us women standing together engulfed in the love of God while resisting the enemy, saying “Enough of this!”

This. This is exactly what that woman who commented on my YouTube video is truly craving. I pray that she reads this, along with thousands and thousands of other women trapped in the dark realms of fitness, putting all their hope in a big, round, beautiful ass. 

Counter-cultural fitness. What does this look like in your life? How are you letting your mind be transformed? How are you seeing your food differently and approaching your sweaty workouts differently? How are you viewing your body differently? Where does your identity lie? 

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

Please, please share this post. I would love to see this message of counter-cultural fitness spread to as many women as possible. 

let's continue the conversation

If you found yourself saying "yes, yes, yes!" while you were reading this, you would love
​The Strong Mommas Podcast. 
​The Strong Mommas Podcast is for Christian moms that want to be equipped with practical ways to eat right and stay fit while still keeping your focus on Jesus. 
Click here to start listening now!


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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
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