An Argument FOR Fitspiration: How Health & Fitness Inspiration Can Come In Many Forms
Recently, I read a post from Reembody called The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos. After being a long-time advocate for fitspiration (specifically from Instagram), I was quite surprised and a taken back by this post.
Let me preface this by saying: after perusing the Reembody blog, these guys know what they’re talking about. I’m not going to disagree with everything the author – Kevin Moore – has to say. Some of his points are valid. That said, I had many issues in this particular article. (Really, what kind of world would this be if we all agreed, anyway?!)
Issue #1: Memes Suggest You Push Your Body’s Limits
In Kevin’s anti-fitspiration article, he uses a meme that yes, is a little aggressive toward the human body:
Let me be clear: suggesting that we should push our bodies past their limits is NOT ok.
But I don’t think that’s what these memes are meant to do; they’re meant to inspire you. The reality is that, when it comes to fitness, it’s easy to give up or give in far before you have hit your limit. And there are plenty of memes that give inspiration without seemingly pushing people too far.
The lesson? It’s easy to go too far with a meme. Don’t take them too literally, people.
Issue #2: “Don’t stop until you’re proud” ≠ “Don’t stop until you’re a size 2”
To me, this is post is just as inspiring…
…as this one:
The theme here is really: make your body what you want it to be. If you’re a curvy girl and love it, rock it! If you want to lose a few lbs., do it! If you want to tone up a little, make it happen!
I don’t think you can find an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter profile out there that would put down a curvy girl (like above) for her transformation. And if there is a profile like that, then it’s easy: don’t listen to them!!!!
Issue #3: Commitment to Fitness ≠ Starving Yourself
Show me a reputable fitness community, and I’ll show you the biggest bunch of foodies you’ve ever seen. Eating clean and a promise to being healthy does not mean that you should stop eating or overexercise without consuming enough fuel for your body to function properly.
I do agree with Kevin here; obsession is unhealthy. Dedication is healthy. There is a difference.
And are there those who overexercise and don’t eat enough? Of course. Just like in any industry, there’s going to be people who are doing it wrong.
The fix? Do your research! Follow advice that makes sense and is coming from reputable sources.
Issue #4: Don’t push yourself until you’re crying on the gym floor
Again, just like #1. Know your limits. Work yourself hard so that you can feel it the next day, but not so hard that you can’t walk the next day.
Issue #5: A fit, tone woman is awesome; and so is a strong woman
As a petite woman, I just straight out DO NOT like this one. Kevin’s point (if you have yet to read the article) was that “Strong is the new sexy” (instead of “skinny”) is not true; his reason being that all of the women included in these posts are, in fact, skinny. But here’s the thing…
(To Kevin’s point…) Is this woman a badass? YES!
The thing is: you can control your weight…to a point. You can control what you look like…to a point. The reality is that none of us can control what frame we were born with or the muscle mass we can create.
The reason this point got to me so much is that as a more petite girl with an athletic build, I do everything in my power to gain weight and get stronger. Will I ever be able to lift as much as the first example? No. Do I have her build? No. Am I saying she’s not awesome? Absolutely not. Per Kevin’s argument, should she be showcased in a Nike ad? Yes, I wish she would. But unfortunately, that’s the downfall of our advertising industry, not the health and fitness industry.
The fact that woman are doing what they can to get strong in their own way is every woman’s own prerogative. Because, let’s face it, a naturally slender woman will always be slender. But does the woman in the second example look a lot better at 120 lbs than she does at 106 lbs? Absolutely.
Issue #6: If it hurts then, yes, stop.
Again, just like #1 and #4, listen to your body. Stop when it says stop.
Here’s what it boils down to
I get where he was coming from in this article, but I think even with the selection of imagery that was chosen, I still don’t think you can discount Fitspiration. For many, seeing images, inspirational quotes, etc. helps them with their health and fitness goals…which is exactly the point!
Fitspiration may not work for everyone, and that’s ok. A huge part of having a healthy lifestyle is finding what works for you; and the inspiration behind it is no exception.
I’m interested to hear what you think about this Fitspiration debate. Are you for or against it?