Don’t Buy into the Propaganda

“Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate.

The world wasn’t formed in a day, and neither were we.

Set small goals and build upon them.”
-Lee Haney

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**Trigger Warning- there are thinspo images contained within this post**

A few days ago my trainer posted the photo above to Facebook and tagged me in it.  I both agree and disagree with the sentiment conveyed.  I used to be someone who was very into Fitspo images and the idea of pushing through every workout regardless of how I was feeling.  However, I like to believe I have grown as a person since then.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to use these images to motivate people to get off the couch and push themselves harder than they would have otherwise.  The part I don’t agree with is the idea that we should all do so at all costs regardless of the potential for over training or injury.  It’s the all or nothing  sentiment that bothers me.  That’s not how real fitness should work.

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Instead of focusing on pushing ourselves at all costs, shouldn’t we be striving to be healthy?  Because all or nothing is not a healthy way to train.  Rather, it’s sure fired way to get injured, burnt out, or both.  This is not what we should be inspiring pressuring ourselves and each other to.  Instead, why aren’t we all focused on simply doing our best?

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We should all take into consideration that life happens: illness, injury, family needs, cheat days, unexpected emergencies… they all happen.  Guess what? That’s ok because we are all human.  I think sometimes we forget that… especially in the case of women.  We think we should be super heroes, able to take care of everyone and everything, and what’s more, to do so perfectly.  Not only do we expect to take care of every need of those we love, but also to eat perfectly and exercise religiously when we try to “get fit”.

When we don’t do these things perfectly (because it’s damn near impossible) we feel guilty and beat ourselves up.  Everywhere we look we see images like this:

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Sore or Sorry? As if there are no other options? And yes, yes I do want that cookie… In fact I might just have two or even the whole package if I feel like it.  PS. I won’t feel guilty either.

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  I’m already hurt but keep going?  What a healthy message! How about if I take some rest instead to avoid a more permanent injury.

“I don’t care if it hurts..

I wanna have control

I want a perfect body,

I want a perfect soul”

Where to even start?  First, any person who truly feels this way needs therapy, period.  Trying to take control of life by restricting eating and attempting to create a “perfect” body sounds a lot like an eating disorder to me.  This a great message to offer to impressionable teens…

Also, if your body is healthy and functional it’s already perfect.  Don’t waste your time striving for an ideal of beauty that only exists in digital editing suites…

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels“?

I am not sure what you have been eating, but I can think of LOTS of things that taste better than being skinny feels. Especially since skinny isn’t even healthy.  Furthermore, if you are FIT there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to an occasional aforementioned cookie.

My point is fitspo is great if it inspires you to get into your running shoes or to the gym when your motivation might otherwise wain.  However, I strongly disagree with the idea that there is one right way to get fit for everyone.  It’s not a cookie cutter process, and you need to take the path that works for you.  I also disagree with the get fit no matter what mentality.  The emphasis should be on getting healthy not skinny.  Skinny and fit are not the same thing… Not even remotely.  Bottom line, you need to do what works for you at your pace.  You also need to do it for yourself, not because you feel guilted into it or want to win society’s approval.  Getting fit should make you feel strong and empowered.  It’s an excuse to be selfish.  Instead of abusing yourself the way suggested by fitspo, you should take care of yourself and listen to your body.  Remember you are already strong, capable, and beautiful, now you’re just getting fitter.

For more anti-fitspo reading check out the following links:

Getting Down With the Panache Sports Bra <– Written by Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed

Fitspo Sucks: 5 Reasons Photos of Hot Women and Catchy Slogans Are Ruining The World <– By Remodel Fitness

Does the Number on Scale Really Matter? <– By yours truly, in case you missed it

PS. Today is your last chance to enter for a FREE 2014 SPARTAN RACE ENTRY!!!  Don’t miss out!

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6 comments

  1. “I don’t care if it hurts..

    I wanna have control

    I want a perfect body,

    I want a perfect soul”

    These are lyrics from Creep by Radiohead. Not exactly a song people should be using for life mottos or anything.

  2. I really love your take on this! I, too, used to think that it was all or nothing… I think what it’s really about is finding a healthy balance. Thank you for this post!

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