Why Don’t We Focus Fitness Advice On the People Who Actually Need It?
This will be a short rant.
If aliens were to somehow obtain a copy of a fitness magazine, they would assume that our species was a tanned group of men and women with six-pack abs, arms and legs of steel, and perfect hair.
Sadly, we know that’s not the case. We know that over 33% of Americans are obese and over 80% of Americans don’t get their recommended exercise of 2–5 hours per week.
So, our reality is more like this
But when we get advice from “fitness” experts and gurus, they look like this..
and we wonder why people feel intimidated when they go to the gym? We wonder why people feel so ashamed of their bodies as they are, un-Photoshopped and unglamorous.
These images of perfectly fit bodies, consciously or unconsciously, influence what we believe fitness is. We start to assume that fitness is having a six-pack, perfectly tanned skin, and perfect camera angles.
This is a very limited and superficial level of fitness!
While I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional picture of a six-pack as inspiration or a before-and-after photo doesn’t hurt. (After all, I’m still looking for a six pack!) I think the fitness industry has gone too far into a reality that most of will never see.
The Problem With Too Many Six-Pack Abs on Magazine Covers
Right now, I feel that excess focus on physical appearance in the fitness industry is driving away the very people who need the help of the health and fitness industry. Instead of bringing more people in, the focus on looking good, is making people who have been “out of shape” feel like they aren’t good enough to be fit.
Most of us still want to be fit, so we invest in trade-offs. Instead of committing ourselves to long-term fitness, we look for short-term solutions. We look for the diet pill that will give us the appearance of looking thinner. We look for the exercise plan that promises to give us a six-pack in less than 20 minutes a day without changing our diet.
We chase the look of fitness, not actual fitness!
What we don’t see is all of the “hard work” that goes with fitness and health. We don’t want to see the meal planning that has to happen for you to look fit. We don’t want to see the tired evenings when we drag our tired selves to the gym or to our exercise mat to do the final few repetitions of the exercise. These are the aspects of fitness that aren’t so sexy.
Granted, a magazine isn’t supposed to let you see all of that. They just want to sell magazines. Many popular exercise programs don’t want to sell you on the “hard work” of fitness. They want you to sell the sex appeal. I get it. I still believe, though, that the health and fitness industry can do a better job of showcasing more than “Get a 6-pack in just 30 minutes a day while still eating everything you always dreamed of”.
What Fitness Should Really Be About
In my view, fitness should be about a couple of things:
- Nutrition: Eating the best you can with what you have
- Movement: Being able to move with the greatest amount of ease and the least amount of pain
- Function: Being able to achieve your daily duties along with occasionally more strenuous activities when the need calls for it.
- Body Confidence: Feeling comfortable in your skin where it is right now
- Fun: Experiencing pleasure, joy, and inspiration as you reach a new level of fitness
- Community & Purpose: Creating and maintaining the best environment (people, technology, etc.) around with the resources you currently have
In other words, fitness should be about you.
Fitness should be about being the best “you” at this stage of your life.
The Overall Message: Be Fit for Life, Not a Magazine Cover
None of us will keep a 6-pack forever. None of us will have arms of steel (Chuck Norris and a few others, being the exception) for the rest of our lives.
We will have our bodies throughout our entire life, though. Let’s do our best to keep our bodies fit while we’re on that journey.
Originally published at adaptyourawesome.wordpress.com on March 23, 2017.