OMG I am so excited that ESPN chose studly baseball man Prince Fielder as the cover model for their 2014 Body Issue. Far from the typical wasp waisted, v-shaped Adonis types, Fielder’s muscular and substantial physique is a breath of fresh air. While the Texas Rangers star shares some concern about a need to fuel his work with healthy eating habits in this decidedly NSFW video here, he also shares some candid thoughts about how he loves the skin he’s in.
Fielder: You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. A lot of people probably think I’m not athletic or don’t even try to work out or whatever, but I do. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I’m not going up there trying to be a fitness model.
And it takes even more courage to say these things in light of the fact that he’s recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. He talks about the path of his physical therapy and says, “I can’t do much of anything right now. I just have to let the process of healing take place.”
I think I might just be a teensy bit in love with Fielder. He represents so much of what I think is important about fitness. He’s way more focused on what his body can do than how it looks. He understands the need to rest and heal from surgery and injury. He’s lovingly caring for his body so he can get back to using it to do stuff that he really loves. And he’s quite okay with the fact that he doesn’t look anything like a male underwear model. *Swoons.*
While every magazine can always do more to promote body diversity, I’m pretty impressed with the step ESPN took with this cover model. And as long as you make a firm commitment with yourself not to read the comments (no feeding the trolls) I think you will derive a fair amount of encouragement from this as well. Sure they’ve got Michael Phelps. He’s a beautiful athlete. But his body is trained to do something very different than Fielder. So of COURSE Phelps and Fielder are going to look different. That doesn’t mean that they can’t both be beautiful. And as the French say, vive la difference!
Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)