Denise Sanger

Denise Sanger

Do you think you need to be a certain size to be fit? To "look" a certain way? If you look at me, I'm quite deceiving yet I can run circles around kids less than half my age (58). Fitness isn't a certain size or a certain look.

This week I want to chat about something that is heavy on my heart. Several times a week, someone is bummed that they're not seeing the numbers they want to see on the scale. Or they feel they've been working out for a few weeks and should be a certain size or look a certain way.

Things don't work like that and the first thing I always say is stop beating yourself up. Take a deep breath. Then I ask do you feel better than when you started? Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time the answer is yes. How about we take the stress off and stop judging ourselves so harshly? We are kinder to strangers than we are to ourselves.

First thing we need to remember is we are not meant to look alike. Each of us is unique and walking our own personal journey. Imagine how boring the world would be if we all looked and acted the same. We are uniquely and divinely made to be US.

Accepting that we are uniquely us takes a little bit of pressure off doesn't it? Personally I have NEVER been skinny. I have hips. I was the girl back in the day that couldn't wear guys Levis. And that's okay because I embrace the way my body is strong. My body has carried two babies that are now adult women. My body can lift 50 pound bags of horse feed when it couldn't 10 years ago because of my strength training and fitness classes. Overall I feel fantastic.

Am I 125 pounds? Nope. I've told you before I'm probably the fluffiest fitness instructor in town but I am strong and my focus for myself and my fitness classes is on functional fitness.

Functional fitness is making sure your body is strong and healthy so that it is capable of doing real life activities in real life situations. Meaning you are strong enough to pick up your kids or grandkids. You can carry your groceries into your house. You can walk up a flight of stairs. 

How does functional fitness translate into what you're doing at the gym? Visualize holding a dumbbell in one hand, other hand on your thigh hinged at the waist then lifting your arm/elbow with the dumbbell in it toward the ceiling. This exercise is called a lawn mower row and is the exact movement you would use to start the engine of a walk behind lawn mower.

In addition to starting a lawn mower, you also use these same muscles when — picking things up off the ground at your home or on the job as a nurse lifting a patient or a carpenter bent over a piece of wood or a mechanic working on the engine of a car. When you focus on keeping your body strong and healthy, it'll look good in clothes as a side benefit.

Tell yourself "I am healthy. And I am happy." And that my friends is where you win the battle. Embrace who you are right now today as you focus on a healthy, strong, body and happy life. Have an amazing week!

To your health,


Denise Sanger is an over 50 health/lifestyle blogger and speaker. Known for motivation, inspiration & loving the BEACH. Certified fitness instructor, Silver Sneakers Instructor, Zumba, STRONG by Zumba instructor, gentle flow yoga, teaches morning classes at Country Strong Gym. Denise may be reached at, 386-292-6105 or

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