Everybody likes a philosophical chat on their Monday, right? Last night while I was on Twitter I started noticing a bunch of tweets popping up on my feed that really annoyed me. I don’t even know if I ever actually actively agreed to follow these handles (is that what a tweeter with no identity is called?) but it really got me thinking about what the face of fitness is becoming.
Then I realized, on Twitter, this is the face of fitness, because most of the fitness tweets are literally faceless.
It’s a shining sea of endless six pack abs, masculine looking hip bones, and jacked biceps. One of the tweets said “you’re not a dog. don’t reward yourself with food.” Really? I’m a fitness professional, and I definitely admire an individual who works hard to be fit. I do not, however, speak to clients in this manner, in fact, it’s down right insulting and could land you out of a job! This did get me thinking (sorry for the SATC/Carrie Bradshawesque inner monologue) about the representation of fitness in social media; are fitness selfies intimidating people in real life? Is it worse than the pressure from the regular media? Are the people tweeting that you’re not a dog also fitness professionals? Do they really think it’s motivating to see these pictures all day and night? Lots of questions, Daniel son.
I have a friend, let’s call her (for anonymity’s sake) Cheryl. Cheryl is about 35 pounds overweight and a beautiful, vibrant woman. I literally try every single week to get her to come to my spin class, because I know (as well as any of you out there who spin do) that it’s an amazing workout, it’s fun, and let’s face it – it gets results! However, every single time I ask (and I have stopped asking, btw) Cheryl to come to spin she says to me, “I’m too flabby to come to spin.” WHAT?! How can people feel this way? I asked her to elaborate and she said, “I see what people in the gym look like all over my Facebook and Twitter, I don’t need those people making fun of me.” I tried to relay the message that this is not something that is real and that fitness at any size is revered as a wonderful thing! Oh, I could continue to preach and question this until I’m blue in the face, but the fact remains; if Chez feels this way, how can I say she’s wrong? I haven’t always been as fit as I am today. I have struggled like many, many other women my entire life and it’s still a continuous battle, believe me. I thought about it and stored it in the back of my mind, but couldn’t help it this evening as I was bombarded by headless humans telling me to put down the ice cream; is the social media’s representation of fitness too intimidating?
I guess I have convinced myself that fitness isn’t anything to be intimated by, because I am the type of fitness professional that specifically thrives on creating a non-intimidating fitness experience. However, it seems obvious, that people out there who feel and look like my pal Cheryl, and not like Abs Without a Face (sorry, but I mean, they have no name or face!) feel discouraged.
Sleepy Hollow Gym. Always open.
So, the question really is, when it comes to fitness, who motivates the average person? Is it the person with 2% body fat or the gal who shakes her booty at Zumba three to four times a week, who may never have washboard abs, but is beautiful, healthy, and confident just the same? Does it really matter? I say, no, it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter if either motivate; it only matters if either of them discourage. What I believe matters most is regardless of your size or fitness level is whether or not you judge others. Now you may say that I’m judging fit people by saying that they are judgmental, and I’m not. Please don’t misunderstand me. In fact, I’m 95% sure that the people posting those headless selfies are not the people in the photo. I also know that social media has made many, many, MANY people more confident to get fit. Right here and now I’m talking about the implications social media has when it comes to gymtimidation (ooh, I do love a play on words!) I’m talking about the headless, jacked abs telling us to get a straw and suck it up. Why should they tell us …wait, how would they use a straw exactly? Just wondering.
When it comes to fitness it’s more about overall health. It’s not the size of your jeans, the packs of your abs, or the fact that you can eat a dozen donuts without gaining a pound, because we all know that being thin does not a healthy person make. Just remember, fitness is for everyone, regardless of age, size, race, gender, income, or physical capabilities. The next time a member of Sleepy Hollow Gym visits your Twitter or Facebook feed, just remember, nobody gets to determine how you care and feel about yourself. Only you do and you are the only person that matters to yourself. Now, get out there, get your sweat on, and take a face selfie when you’re done and send it to me. Seriously.
I have rambled a bit here, but the bottom line is: don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I don’t know about you, but I’ll sure remember that quote much sooner than I’ll ever remember (or regard) any picture of headless abs.