Why sport is so important for women (and it’s not about weight)

Real Women Real Adventures

Jul 27

Over the years, I've seen it in myself and I've seen it in the women around me.

Women positively thrive and come out of their shell when they discover endurance events.

I'm convinced it’s because endurance events force you to open the door to the parts of your personality you've hidden over the years and dig out your determination, attitude, self-belief and spunk - and remind you who you are, what you love and just how strong you are.

Leah Gilbert is one person who encapsulates this message perfectly.

A plus-size endurance athlete (and one of our #10kStrongWomen) Leah is on a mission to transform the way women see their bodies and their strength (with sport as the vehicle).

Although we've connected on social media for months (and I'm honoured to be writing for the next edition of her magazine, Athena Multisport), we only met for the first time on Sunday when we bumped into each other, and then had lunch, at the Australian Triathlon, Endurance and Cycling Expo.

Leah describes herself as a "body-positive" athlete and it's a term that's being thrown around a lot lately without a solid definition (what can I say - I'm a lawyer by training - I love definitions!). So I asked Leah how she defines "body positive" and loved how she frames it:

"I define body positive as identifying with the notion that another person's body is off-limits to my conversation, judgment or scrutiny. All bodies are amazing machines who function for each individual and should be celebrated accordingly. From a fitness perspective, it is the idea that fitness and sport can represent an exploration of your physical potential, not a form of punishment or 'fixing' yourself."

Interesting I was telling Leah on Sunday that for a while I would never have described myself (or SpartaChicks for that matter) as being "body positive". But after following Leah's work for the last few months (and reading her definition above), I've since realised it's a message I've been preaching to anyone who will listen for the last 10 years.

So I was delighted to open my laptop this morning and find this video of Leah on Upworthy. I think you'll appreciate her message, passion and love for the power of sport as much as I do as.

Plus I'm sure you'll recognise in your own journey the power that sport has to change how you see your body, what it can do -- and how you see yourself in the process.

Enjoy!

To follow Leah and her adventures, follow her on Instagram @leebee2321