25 year old USA Track & Field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson became America's favorite body image advocate overnight after ESPN released her photo spread for their Body Issue. "I think it's important to show that athletes come in all shapes and sizes," she told ESPN.
Amanda looks big, powerful, and absolutely gorgeous in the photos that quickly went viral. In the ESPN article, she talks with confidence and humor about her sport, breaking records, and getting kicked off the volleyball team in high school for being too fat.
"I'll be honest. I like everything about my body," Amanda says.
"Whatever your body type is, just use it. There are definitely things that I can do that skinnier people can't do."
We are beyond excited to feature Amanda as this week's Superfit Hero! She sat down to answer a few questions for us.
Can you give us a sense of what a typical week in fitness looks like for you?
I am currently training for our World Championships in August. A typical week for would be train about 3-4 hours a day 5 days a week. Rehab for about an hour a day, and then making sure I get my chiropractics, massages and cryotherapy session.
I know when I say I have to go get a massage people tend to think, "Oh you poor baby, I would love to have to get a massage" but I can assure y'all it is not a feel good massage. Most times I walk out like I got hit by a truck but it helps my muscles recover so I can continue to practice at the best of my ability.
What's your favorite fitness activity? Is there something that no matter how many times you do it, you still just love?
Our biggest activity would be actually throwing. We really focus on the throw and the specific strength that we need to get "hammer strong" rather than overall strength like most other sports. But I suppose most anything could be a fitness activity -- hiking, golfing, dancing, paddle boarding -- they are all fitness activities and I love those too. I love most things that are physical and have to do with being outside. And if there is a competition that goes with it, even better.
Everyone has been re-sharing your quote "I'll be honest, I like everything about my body." A friend of mine claimed it as her new personal mantra. You have clearly come to a state of self-acceptance and appreciation for your body. Can you tell me how that came to be for you? How did your sport play a role in that?
I don't know if it was the sport as much as my family and my close friends. I mean growing up in my parents construction business, my sister and I would go and work with them when we were younger during the summers. I remember I was power cleaning mailboxes before I even started playing organized sports in school and my sister would be in the office filing papers and helping my mom. And when I asked my dad why I had to do manual labor and Morgan got to sit in the AC he said because she could not lift the boxes (60lbs) and I could. I think that was the first time I realized that being bigger than my older sister wasn't a bad thing - it was just different. So while my sister (who had always been smaller than me) was filing and doing computer work with my mom, I was outside helping my dad pour and pull concrete and building boxes because I was physically capable.
I think what my sport did the best for me is it gave me the opportunity to see both sides of the image scale. In what I call the "social world," I am a big girl, and phase II morbidity obese. According to doctors I should be around 140 pounds because I am 5'6" on a great day!! But I am 210 pounds. I have to shop in the XL section, boots that fit over my calves are impossible to find, so in the social world I am too big and people remind me of it. But then there is my world, the athletic world. I am a midget at 5'6" and I am the skinny girl that people tell to eat a sandwich. And believe me I do. The women I compete with and along side are 5'9"-6'4" weighing anywhere from 200-300 pounds and they are kicking ass in their events and sports, and I want to be like them. So being a hammer thrower I get to see both sides of it and it definitely helped me in loving my body. It is all about how you look at it though.
And finally, what's your superpower?
I don't know if it would be a super power but maybe with going with the flow and keeping my eyes open to new experiences. I'm always down to try anything or do anything to make a memory.