I’ve got a bone to pick here. Let me begin by saying, anybody with half a brain can look through Instagram, flip through Snap Chat, and press the “like” button on Facebook can see just what a booming business the fitness industry has become over the last 5+ years.
For anyone first stepping foot into this world, it’s a confusing and scary place. I’ve been there. All of us have.
Over the last 4 years, here are my 4 biggest problems I’ve encountered with today’s fitness culture:
1.) Narcissism, insecurities and social media
Well my friends, a lot of different specifics come into play here. For one we live in a culture of narcissism, now don’t get me wrong, if you got it flaunt it, that’s cool. But how much is too much? Where do we draw the line of self-absorbed? Where do we let ourselves be ourselves without filters, lighting, and waiting on those likes to roll in?
I myself can easily admit I was insecure, and turned to social media for support. We are all human and most importantly we all make mistakes.
Looking for support from a fitness community is one thing, the other dark side of the spectrum is looking for constant attention to appease your insecurities is just digging yourself a deeper hole into lack of self-confidence, depression, and loneliness.
It doesn’t help that our day and age are addicted to social media. Plain and simple.
Put the phone down and go for a run for the love of god. This is what I do to get my head out of “what’s the next best fat loss secret” bull shit streaming through my feed.
2.) Pain and suffering = results
I don’t know how many times I’ve come across examples of people working out for 2-3 hours a day plus 30-45 minutes of cardio, eating less than a grazing new born calf.
Pushing yourself to the brink of exhausted death to get results is quite possibly the stupidest idea I’ve ever come across. To have someone tell me this is balance because they’re allowed to eat a donut one day a week is absurd.
I get it, different goals, different training. That doesn’t mean you need to be miserable and zombified into a lifeless, starving, sweating lump of uselessness.
Any coach who encourages a client that almost all foods aside from tilapia and asparagus are bad is not going to lead you on a path of a healthy relationship with fitness. (Just an FYI)
Hear me out, having sore legs the day after leg day, that’s normal fam! Making yourself feel like you’re about to pass out from a ridiculously long unnecessary work out? not cool.
Being able to have a life outside of achieving a six pack is completely possible. Find what works for you, not what a cookie-cutter program tells you to do to lose 20lbs in two weeks.
News flash, you need rest to grow and perform better. You want that piece of pizza? Fuck yes, feed your soul and keep yourself curbed from binge cycles. You prefer a salad? ain’t no judgement here, do what makes YOU feel the best.
3.) Creating unrealistic expectations
We all have seen women and men on social media with photos of their chiselled abs year round. As great as it is to create goals for ourselves building off of these photos, let’s get real. A lot of these people are showing you the highlight reel of their peek point during their day, you know, waking up in the morning looking lean AF. Why not take a snap of that tight core? Once again, most of these photos are HIGHLIGHT REELS, you’re not seeing the other 100 photos they flipped through to pick the best one, add some contrast, crop and a hint of airbrush.
A lot of your fitness idols use photoshop. Sorry to drop that bombshell, but when you’re advertising for big brands, or even branding yourself, that’s the big ticket word BRANDING. Not everyone uses photoshop, but a lot do. They are trying to catch your eye by creating the “perfect” idea of what you would want your body to look like. #goals amaright? Think of it this way, you’re scrolling through a feed and you see a picture for 1-2 seconds and you like it. Did you really even give your brain a chance to observe this photo? No. Some advice, take a good hard look at these people and really think to yourself. Don’t get caught up in that crap.
There are many athletes who are year round tight, however this has taken them a number of years to achieve. They found what works for their body and you too can one day be there, if you wish.
What we need to realize is that social media is like a fogged mirror. You can only see what is in front of you. Don’t think for a second that someone’s fitness post isn’t well plotted out prior to sending it out to the million followers base they have rolling. #fitfam
Fitness shouldn’t brainwash you to believe you need to achieving a certain look, weight or category; Fitness should be more focused on making progress in the sense of achieving strength and performance. I can’t begin to explain how excited I was to pull a 285lb dead lift for the first time, or the time I had hit my personal record for pace with running a certain distance. I wasn’t worried about the scale, or how many inches wide my waist was. I just wanted to work on my power, aka a “non-scale victory”.
4.) Do this – Don’t do that
Ever watch Dr. Oz? Better take that raspberry ketone or you might die 5 years earlier.. or some shit.
Do eat broccoli, don’t eat white rice. Don’t lift heavy, or you’ll get too big. Don’t mix cardio on days you lift. Do cardio on days you lift. Stand on your head; touch your finger to your nose. Sing the alphabet backwards. Who the fuck knows where to start?
In all honesty, start with where you feel comfortable. I found the best way to find my balance was test the waters with different approaches to programs, diets, and workouts. Read the shit out of everything. If you absolutely hate something you’re trying out then move on, find something that makes you feel like you’re progressing in YOUR own manner.
It is all based on what your goals are at the end of the day. Personally slow and steady wins the race in my eyes. Get your metabolism in check, find what works for you, keep upping them macros, eat your greens, eat your donuts, do your squats and make the world spin you bad ass bitch! Do your research. Test the waters. Fuck what anybody else thinks, it’s your life, your body and you make the rules. Ask yourself why you are planning to step foot into the fitness world, set smart goals, realistic expectations and most importantly do your own thing.
Don’t concentrate on what everyone else is doing, you’ve got your own story to make.