Fitspiration. What is it?

According to Google: Fitspiration is any message (usually in the form of an image with a quote included) that encourages one to “persevere,” “push,” or even “suffer” through exercise for the sake of achieving change in one’s physical appearance.
Really? Because exercise is all about looks now? I guess when we live in a culture that pushes looks over what actual healthy benefits that come from proper exercise, fitspiration in this form makes sense. Let’s look at some of the offenders.

The Quotes:

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Seriously? Have you tried fresh strawberries? Sweet potato mash? Goat cheese and caramelized pears? They are all pretty dam fantastic. Are you trying to promote anorexia? Food is fuel for the body and not eating is not healthy! Both exercise and diet play a huge part in fitness and without one, the other suffers. (And Lorna Jane, you should know better!)

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What type of pain? Because all pain isn’t that same. Pushing through an injury could lead to serious side effects or long term problems. Exercise isn’t always comfortable, but there is a huge difference between being uncomfortable due to a hard workout (out of breath due to burpees) and being in pain due to injury (torn muscle due to improper form).

Excuses

Again, listening to your body is a good thing! Learning what is good (I can’t do this because I haven’t been taught how/are not ready for that progression) and what is bad (I can’t do this because I don’t want to get off the couch) is a big thing. Yes, exercise can be a mind over matter deal, especially when it comes to endurance. Getting proper coaching and building mental toughness can be a big part of athletic training.
And it is really all about women’s flat stomachs? Because that what the photos are leading me to believe. That I can’t be a “fitspiration” unless I have a flat tummy and/or the makings of a six pack. I could put a plethora of women showing off their stomachs here.

Is all these examples okay? No! Is there something that can be done about it? Yes!!!!!! A thousand yeses!

Make your own posters! Use advice that actually means something.

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Take the short sighted “flat stomach” idea out of it. Work to be stronger (because who want to do two trips of grocery bags?) fitter, (lower resting heart rate) and healthier (eat less sugar, more fruits and veggies.).

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Music can be a huge motivator! Why not remind yourself to listen to an awesome playlist! I love listening to Hedley or a great dance mash up, anything to keep me on the move.

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This one is one of my favorites. Simple and to the point. I know I can keep going and achieve my goals. I know I can feel healthy and be strong. I know I can do this.
Set a goal for yourself (run a 5km race in 3 months, eat less sugar, learn to cook better.) and use that. This is where rewards can also be a great thing. My favorite is new workout gear or something fitness related. For me, having a fitness reward makes me want to keep going and work even harder. What’s the point of a great new tank without going to the gym to show it (and all the hard work) off? (Not that I am a show off). Alternatively spa days, new classes or anything else that promotes health and wellness are great rewards too.

So go forth and concur! Inspire yourself! Because you are beautiful, strong and fabulous on your fitness journey!

-SB

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