So…. you’re possibly reading this blog because having seen the title, you are absolutely raging and looking to see what utter bull shit I’ve written about something that doesn’t even exist. You are also probably wondering what fad product I’m going to try and sell you with this blog?
OR sadly (and I mean that with the greatest respect) you read this title and were really hoping that you would find the ‘secret to your happiness’ in this post, by way of a step by step guide on how to get a ‘perfect body’.
Unfortunately for the latter, you won’t ever find that in any of our blogs, in fact, you won’t find that ever in ANY blog.
However, either way I have your attention and hopefully, one blog at a time we can try to show you that actually, what you have now is pretty perfect already. You just don’t realise it.
As a women’s health specialist, it’s so disheartening to see how much the fitness industry has been tainted with such negative connotations when it comes to exercise and fitness, especially in relation to women.
This negativity usually stems from mass corporations wanting to sell a fad product and mask it under the guise of “fitness”. The growing popularity of hashtags such as #fitness and #femalefitness could be so powerful, if they contained accurate information, un-altered images of women and weren’t all trying to push this notion of a “perfect body” upon us.
The oxford dictionary tells us that fitness is simply ’the condition of being physically fit and healthy’. Nowhere does it mention what size our bodies should be, or that our skin should be blemish free or that our relationship with gravity (weight) must be below a certain threshold. NOWHERE.
Somewhere along the way though, the true meaning of fitness has been lost (or deliberately hidden) and this new era of ‘fake fitness’ has emerged and I for one could not be more against it.
Reality Vs Insta Highlight reel
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with training for aesthetic purposes. But they shouldn’t be the only goal when it comes to exercise and more importantly, they need to be realistic. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case when it comes to social media and advertising agencies and the messages they portray online.
Having searched #femalefitness on Instagram, I was surprised at how hard it was to find a none – aesthetic based post within the 735k images that it brought up on my feed.
This aesthetic based subliminal messaging, is what is filling our feeds every time we log in and search for well intentioned fitness inspiration. These subconscious messages are slowly chipping away at our confidence, self esteem and more important our perception on reality when it comes to body confidence and what fitness really is.
That’s when the internal narrative begins;
“If 735k women look like this – then maybe I should? How can I look like her? What do I need to start doing? What am I doing wrong?”
The list then becomes endless when we start to compare our reality to the photoshopped highlight reel that is never attainable. Even I sometimes have to remind myself that even the girl in Instagram doesn’t really look like the girl in Instagram.
Morals don’t exist
We become so busy criticising our self in comparison to these images of ‘perfection’ that we often fail to notice that most of these posts are just a cover for a big corporate trying to push a product and sadly, they use “#fitness” as their smokescreen.
They already know that the majority of women will be wondering how they too can look like the woman advertised in these pictures – then boom, they promise to give us a solution, conveniently with their product! Brilliant marketing strategy – just really shit morals!
Take the recent Kim K controversy when she boasted about how she had starved herself for three whole weeks and dropped 16lbs JUST to squeeze into a Marilyn Monroe dress for one hour! WTAF? With a following of over 300 million people, many of which are women and girls, she took toxic influence to a whole new level.
Literally a few months later and the media are using her smaller framed images (and taking advantage of her huge audience) to tell us that ‘heroin chic’ is coming back as a trend……ABSOLUTELY NOT ON OUR WATCH! Do these media outlets not remember the carnage this caused to women’s physical and mental health in the 90’s?
Or do they just not care?
The sad thing is that these are not isolated incidences – I can name far too many celebs, magazines and people of influence who are selling their souls. Promoting #fitness online in the form of diet culture, shakes, pills, wraps, teas and all kinds of weird (unregulated) shit. Trying to convince women firstly that the need to lose weight to ft in with a trend. Secondly that they need to buy their products if they want even a shot at a ‘perfect body’.
A change is coming
How do we (and by we I mean those of us who love fitness for what it really is and want to raise women up and not bash them down). How do we even complete with this?
One by one, post by post there is a community of like minded fitness professionals. Tirelessly promoting fitness for what it truly is – health, happiness, energy, mobility, stress relief, relaxing, challenging, powerful, empowering and absolutely nothing to do with size!
Yes, it can be used as a tool to support weight loss or muscle building. But that’s one tiny facet, it should not be defined by that.
What can we do?
‘Fake fitness’ will keep trying to tell us that firstly we need a perfect body. Secondly will try and convince us that they can sell us a way to get one. Please, please, please if you (like me) are sick of being told these lies then start saying enough is enough
- Stop buying these products – we know deep down they don’t work and most are not even regulated.
- Unfollow any social media account that makes you feel shit when their posts pop up on your feed
- Find your own fitness – don’t be told by society that you should be doing “HIIT” or “CrossFit”. Do them because you love them and they make you feel great. If they don’t make you feel great then find something that does.
- Try and change the way you view fitness – it’s not punishment for food or to drop a dress size. It’s a way to make you stronger physically and mentally, it will help improve sleep, it will release endorphins, it will make your joints move more freely – it will make you happy.
I find that most clients who say they hate exercise and fitness have just never found THEIR fitness. They’ve always done what social media tell them they should or what guarantees the ‘perfect body” at that time.
However, when they let go of this notion of the perfect body and give ‘ real fitness’ a chance. They absolutely love it.