Thanks so much to David for making the time to share his differing viewpoint.
While I still firmly believe FITSPO is harmful to our girls—I will concede to almostkindasorta being swayed to his perspective.
When I first read Carla’s two headlines about how she hates fitspo, I couldn’t think of a reason why.
I don’t particularly care for or seek out the images myself, but I understand the reason they exist and the motivation it brings to other people, as seen on social media timelines everywhere.
What I found after reading the posts was not so much things that I would consider as underlying problems with society and our still sometimes lacking of acceptance towards women empowerment, but more so, issues that are typically personal projections to what can be perceived as the former.
It doesnt motivate me.
Fair enough. Seeing chiseled (male or female) bodies doesn’t do it for everyone, but that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it. Or that people that do find those images motivating are wrong either.
I, too, am/once was/kind of still am/sort of a trainer, and I have girl-friends that send me pictures of women they’d like to look like.
Not in a, “omg I want to look like her. I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I can’t I’m going to fall into complete depression and hate my life for the rest of my life,” but in a “she has great abs/shoulders/arms/butt, I think I’m going to add <insert body part of interest focused movement> into my routine and see how it goes!”
But that doesn’t mean it’s not motivating.
In my natural state, I am lazy.
Super lazy. Yet I still have an internal desire to be fit and functional so that I can go do the things I want to do once I finally decide to leave the couch. And those things are physically demanding. So while I have an internal desire, I still need an external stimulus (when thinking about my hobbies just isn’t enough).
As mentioned, based on social media timelines, the belief that hardbodies are not inspirational, is the minority.
And that doesn’t make society wrong. This is a personal belief, and people have the personal choice to mute the hashtag, not search for the hashtag, and remove those from your [online] life that continually use it.
FITSPO is frighteningly close to PRO-ANA* draped in muscled clothing.
I cannot speak on behalf of Carla’s experience with bodybuilding, but I do know that a lot of one-time physique competitors project this belief on others because of their own personal experiences.
There are a lot of bad coaches out there that make clients do a lot of really damaging things to their bodies and psychologies. Physique competitions are/were not my area of interest as a trainer, but being in the industry long enough, I know this is fairly commonplace.
If the client later stops doing the competitions and sees how damaging it was to them, it is not uncommon for them to take the side of seeing things as pro-ana, even if they’re not.
If anything, orthorexia seems to be the most likely culprit.
It’s an illusion.
I can’t argue with this one. The online “posters” that are produced by professional photographers with professional models, are most definitely just a snapshot in time at their peak physical condition. But consider the source.
A search on #fitspo will yield results of real people too. Not models. Not pro athletes. Real people like Carla that have adopted health and fitness as a lifestyle.
I assume people have legitimate, safe reasons for wanting/needing to do so. (I consistently have low bodyfat to help me rock climb harder.) I assume they are educated in how to make this their lifestyle in a healthy manner. I assume they’re eating eggs, bacon, ice cream, candy bars, broccoli, broiled fish, and sweet potatoes as part of a sustainable (mentally, physically, biologically) overall nutrition plan.
It’s not until I’ve actually met the person and listen to their story that I start forming an opinion.
To do so before that is just judgmental.
In the end, I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to try not looking at #fitspo with such a negative light.
Projecting and assuming things like, “it’s fake; it’s a snapshot in time; it ‘shames’ people for where they’re at instead of where they’re going,” isn’t fair to the person posting.
You don’t know their background or history or how they achieved that body.
I encourage you to look at the positive side of that coin:
- It IS motivational.
- It IS a celebration of one person’s journey from fat to fit.
- It DOES inspire people to keep pushing towards their goals.
And if you just can’t get past it, you’re always in control of what you choose to see.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Carla for letting me post on this topic on her website, and thank all of you for reading.
If you’d like to know more about me, how health and fitness is part of my lifestyle, my past as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, my present as a sponsored athlete Id love to hear from you.