Ronda Rousey On Body Image, Role Models & Her Discipline To Stay Fit

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UFC Champ Ronda Rousey is no stranger to being in the spotlight. Considering she was the first female fighter to be allowed to compete in the mixed martial arts league, she already had a lot of pressure with the eyes of the sporting world on her to see if she has what it takes.

If her track record was anything to go by, she didn’t need to flinch. She previously competed in Judo and is the only American to win a medal in the sport in the Olympics. She is the current women’s Bantamweight champion in UFC, a sport which apparently has more fans than major league baseball, roughly estimated at over 300 million.

But she is more that just a heralded fighter, as previous interviews have shown Ronda takes her status as a trailblazer seriously and wants to be a positive role models for other girls and encourage them to follow their dreams, and work hard for it. Her fame has also been called upon by Hollywood, and Ronda has filmed parts in ‘Expendabes 3’, ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and the new ‘Entourage’ movie coming out. Not to shabby for a woman who infiltrated a heavily male-dominated sport.

In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily about her new endorsement deal with clothing label Buffalo David Bitton, she talks about growing up with body image issues, and how sports helped her see a different perspective. The 27 year old who now lives in Venice Beach, California also revealed who her own personal role model is.

“My mother was the first American to win the world championships in judo, back in 1984. She did that working as an engineer, a single mother and getting her Ph.D. She’s the most amazing person I have ever met. When we moved back to California, she visited teammates who had opened clubs of their own. I tagged along and tried out. From the first day I tried it, I loved it, and six years later, I was on my first Olympic team.”

Like mother, like daughter. This admission shows yet again how important role models are, and how living by example can go a long, long way.

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Unlike other sports where it is about the winner scoring more points, Ronda describes MMA in a very different way.

“People have a very hard time seeing the art of it. It’s called “martial arts” because that really is what it is. It’s not just brawling and throwing your hands. There’s a sweet science and a beauty to it,” she said. ” It’s all about trying to outsmart the other person. It’s not really about being stronger or faster.”

“It’s more of a mental chess game than it is about a physical fight. All sports are a metaphor for life, especially MMA more than anything else. It’s not like baseball, football or soccer, where the objective is to make so many points. In martial arts, the objective is always the philosophy and the discipline. Where I come from is judo, where the principals are maximum efficiency, minimum effort and mutual welfare and benefit.”

The philosophical outlook she has from her sport is a great approach to life, and it is easy to see why she is so successful in areas that aren’t a traditional arena for women to be in.

“What I’ve really learned in my life [is] being efficient in everything I do. And you always need that other person, and you’re only as good as the person you train with. So, every single time you throw someone eight times, you need to take eight falls yourself for the other person. That’s another principal that I have always applied to my life. I can’t expect things to be all about me all the time. I give as much as I expect to get.”

She was asked how she maintains her weight for photo shoots, and while she is very conscious of her body image from an athletic point of view she is also keenly aware of how someone like her can be a beacon of hope for other girls struggling.

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“Every single time I do a shoot, I try to do it at a weight I can maintain. With the ESPN Body issue, I got a little bit lighter because ESPN tries to capture the human body at its highest potential. With anything else — like Maxim or the car magazine shoot I did in Brazil that is about femininity and not athleticism‚ I purposefully try to go in a little bit heavier, at a weight I can chill at and not have to cut down to. I want to be looking how I would on any given Wednesday.”

Like any normal girl, she had her fair share of insecurities growing up comparing herself to women in magazines. But as she got older she was able to seek out positive examples in the media. Oh, and she’s a fan of those Dove commercials, like us!

“It’s important to have proper role models and to have proper sexual role models. Growing up, I would see all these chicks in magazines who looked nothing like me at all, and I thought there was something wrong with me. In middle school and high school, the boys I had crushes on were pawing at girls in magazines or just talking about girls who looked nothing like me. I love all the Dove commercials that are about the empowerment of women.”

Her advice to other girls is very timely, and cannot be said enough: live your life as you, not as anyone else.

“The human body is meant to go through seasons. I don’t think I need to look like an exact supermodel all the time. There are days when I need to be in my peak athletic form, and there are days where I’m just chilling and it doesn’t matter. I like to go to photo shoots looking comfortable wherever possible because people should live their lives while being comfortable and not think ‘I have to feel this way in order to look that way.’ Feel happy, look exactly yourself and live the way you want to look.”

Yep, you heard it from “rowdy” Ronda Rousey herself. Don’t follow the crowd, and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t measure up to other people’s standards. If Ronda did that, she wouldn’t be the woman breaking down barriers in UFC today.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Ronda Rousey-Style Advice For Girls: Don't Be A "Do Nothing B*tch!"

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