Earlier in the week The Boston Globe had a feature on a local boxer, Wendy Sprowl, who was the first woman from Massachusetts to win an international boxing title. [The feature was in the Living Arts section which made me ask the somewhat rhetorical question: if Sprowl was a man would this story be on the Sports page?]
Sprowl is not fighting professionally anymore though she did indicate that she would return to the ring if the price was right. This speaks to an interesting aspect of her story. She started boxing after she got hurt on the job working construction and had near instant success from the moment of her first fight. She turned professional and one year later won a championship belt to much fanfare--but no money.
So now she does odds jobs, landscaping, trains others, and has a DVD out called "Sweatin Bullets" which is also a class she runs out of a Cohasset gym. The "Sweatin' Bullets" program seems to be pretty successful and I was quite impressed that Sprowl chose to produce it using people who took her class and represented a variety of sizes and levels of fitness instead of the models the production company offered.
It suggests a healthy philosophy of fitness though one Sprowl hasn't always adhered to. The reason she lost her first attempt a world championship was because she decided to drop down a weight category less than two weeks before the fight because her original opponent dropped out of the competition. She lost 14 pounds in ten days and was basically too weak to fight. Interesting how standards seem to differ depending on why and what form the sport/activity takes.
There seems to be a lot of double-sided mouth talking going on in our fitness-obsessed culture. There's the encouraging "you can do it no matter what level of fitness/activity you start at"; a philosophy programs and even gyms (a la Curves) are built around, but we haven't altered our idea of what the end result should be much at all. Beautiful is thin and toned no matter that someone who does not qualify as thin might have a high level of fitness and the super thin body may not be that fit at all.
[h/t to RP for finding me the story]