I recently read an article in which the author essentially bashed women in the fitness industry. It’s a long, slightly whining article about how the message “strong is the new skinny” is detrimental to women. In the author’s opinion the message is harmful and sets women up for failure since (according to the author) no one can possibly achieve those results. I have to say I was a bit stunned that someone would actually take issue with anyone who is looking to improve the way they look.
On the sister Facebook page for this website I will frequently post pictures of extremely fit women to serve as inspiration for my readers. And every single time I post a picture (accompanied by an inspirational quote) I receive at least one negative, poor-me-I-will-never-have-that-body sort of comment. I’ve had people complain that the photos are ‘pornography’ and exploitative to women. I’ve even been accused of being pro anorexia!
I remember when Martha Stewart and her promotion of “good things” garnered lots of criticism. People used to whine because they just didn’t have time to do all those crafting, organizational and gardening projects. Let’s look at the big picture here. The point of Martha Stewart’s website, books and magazines is to INSPIRE. It’s to hopefully get you to try one or two things that may make your life a little easier, more efficient, more beautiful or more organized. Where did people get the idea that they were supposed to do every blessed thing in the magazine?
Anyway, back to the article. Here’s what irritated me about it. No one said you have to look like those super fit body builder/bikini model types. The point is to inspire you to get into an exercise program or maybe try some new fitness endeavor like running a half marathon or trying out Crossfit.
I do not think it’s detrimental in any way to encourage women to be strong and to work out.
And to those who say that “there’s no way I’ll ever look like that”, well that’s dynamite. With that kind of negative mentality you’ll never achieve anything great – fitness related or otherwise.
People get threatened by these images because it makes them realize how much they’re not living up to their potential. I would bet that the majority of people who have problems with these photos are overweight, not eating clean and certainly not exercising.
I don’t look like the super fit women in those pictures. Would I like to? Of course I would. Right now I’m unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to attain that kind of body. Maybe in the future I will be willing to put in the time to achieve those results. I know how difficult it is to achieve that physique. It takes an enormous amount of dedication, discipline and effort to achieve those particular results. You have to eat in a very specific way and you must dedicate a lot of time to lifting weights and cardio. It takes MAJOR effort. I have such respect for ANYONE who can sculpt their body in that way and who is willing to make those kind of sacrifices. It takes single minded determination and focus and I admire those who set out to accomplish their goals.
It is completely understandable why seeing images of perfect bodies might invoke feelings of guilt and insecurity about one’s own physique. Here’s the good news: if you want it bad enough you can achieve those results too. Just realize that it takes quite a bit of dedication and good old fashioned hard work to get there. In the meantime let’s not promote mediocrity. Instead how about applauding those who work hard to achieve their goals?