Dear Fitness Industry, We Need To Talk

It’s been ten years since I first stepped into a gym.

Ten

Whole

Years.

Back in 2008, things were a little different.

We all thought we were super important business people with one of these in our pockets:

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 21.35.19

A Facebook status was reserved for pretty much anything that came into your head at any given moment:

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And I looked liked this:

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 22.36.04

Yikes.

I was fat, like reeeeally fat.

Back then I assumed I was destined for the fat life. Like it was in my genes or something. Of course I never once considered the fact that drinking copious amounts of beer, cider, wine, and eating shit every day, had anything to do with it.

I just had big bones and a slow metabolism, naturally.

But all good things must come to an end, and by the time I’d finished living the life of an absolute pig at university, I decided to join a gym.

It started out great. I’d go max 3 times a week and I ended up losing weight pretty easily. I mean, you saw the pic, it wasn’t exactly difficult.

People would comment on my weight loss, my pants were falling off me, and life was pretty decent… for like… 3 months.

I quickly became impatient and wanted to lose more, so I decided to up the ante and try different things to help speed up my mission to become skinny af.  

Over the years I dabbled with:

  • Calorie counting everything – even like, water
  • Consuming ONLY protein shakes
  • Paleo
  • Insanity – an intense interval training that should be illegal
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Body Coach (carb cycling)
  • Constant cardio
  • Weight training

You name it, I’ve done it.

But I’ll never forget the thing that truly made me become obsessed with working out. It was when I was gifted a Nike FuelBand for Christmas…

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It sets you goals on how much “fuel” you should be burning per day and compares your performance with everyone else who’s got one, which can be tough for those competitive types.. Like myself.

Plus, if you didn’t reach your goal you’d know about it.

So naturally I HAD to work out every single day…cause otherwise I wouldn’t make it on the scoreboard and my performance wouldn’t be in the green and I definitely wouldn’t be allowed to eat.

My weekly routine looked like this:

  • Monday: 4 mile run
  • Tuesday: Insanity
  • Wednesday: Gym (cardio)
  • Thursday: 4 mile run
  • Friday: 4 mile run
  • Saturday: 6.5 mile run
  • Sunday: Spin class

No, rest, ever.

And did it have any impact on my body?

Well.. yeah.. Course it did.

I ended up looking like this:

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(Excuse the cringe lifeguard outfit)

I was literally at the skinniest I’d ever been, grrrrreat right, mission accomplished?

Nope, I still wasn’t satisfied.

Like what the actual fuck?

To get to that weight, which isn’t even like Kate Moss skinny, I had to work out every single day, eat like a fucking monk, and never have fun, ever.

I would miss out on drinks, food with my mates. And if I did have food I would punish myself. It was the most miserable I have ever been.

Not only that but my periods literally stopped. I don’t think I had a real period for about a year and convinced myself I was going through early menopause.

I also fucked up my muscles so bad that I had to see a physio every week.

My obsession with food and exercise was out of control. So fast forward ten years and I gotta say, I’m a little pissed off.

I still can’t do anything without feeling guilty. I’m literally obsessed with two things:

  1. Moving
  2. Eating.

What started as a healthy lifestyle change, turned into a painful obsession that I can’t seem to shake.

And I know I’m not alone in this. I see it everyday in SO many people;

The fitness freak I tried to date but refused to eat or drink around me.

My housemate who creates a giant batch of veggie soup every Sunday and eats that, and only that, throughout the week.

And my friend who wouldn’t go on a date because the jerk-of-a-douche-bag asked her what kind of “shape” she was in.

So what gives?

The fitness industry, that’s what.

The fitness industry capitalises on people’s insecurities.

People spewing out content about what we should be doing to lose weight is everywhere. And I’m not even talking about the bullshit tea detoxes, pills, or shakes that Insta influencers get paid to promote.

I’m talking about the professionals. The ones who use their platform to promote a ‘healthy lifestyle’ change, rather than a quick fix.

Take Kayla Itsines for example…

She often posts stuff like this…

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But then she’ll ALWAYS post herself looking like this: Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 15.52.33

I mean, really?

On the outside what they’re trying to do is pretty decent. The motivational quotes, meal plans and a dedicated workout programme is great if you really do need to make a healthy lifestyle change. 

But who really needs such an intense workout and diet programme that they must gruellingly stick to forever? Nobody.

These fitness routines aren’t for people who need to lose weight. Hell, If I’d started using this 10 years ago I’d probably died right there and then from a heart attack. 

They’re for the people who are already super fit, the ones who want to push it to the extreme…like this:

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I mean, I can’t speak for the person above. She may be really happy with living this life.. and fair play to her, she looks great.

But she looked great in the ‘before’ picture too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not body shaming. They look fucking amazing and I’d love to look like that. But the pain to be able to make it to that point, when it’s not your 9-5 job, is 100% not worth it.

And it bothers me that these personal trainers are creating obsessive fitness monsters out of people who don’t really need it. To make health and fitness the ONLY reason to live. 

So why do we feel the need to look like adonis gods, only for the majority of us to feel like shit 24/7 because we don’t?

Why is the way you look in the mirror such a focus in life?

I started my fitness journey because I needed to lose weight, but the reason I gained an unhealthy obsession, is down to the amount of bullshit that we’re subjected to every single day..

Whether it’s personal trainers on Instagram, the body shaming in the Daily Mail, or the latest fat burner super food that will definitely help you lose 10 pounds. 

The way we should look according to these fucked up societal standards is everywhere, and it’s out of control. 

Am I going to spend this entire blog moaning and not come to any sort of resolution?

Well… maybe.

But, I did decide to unfollow all of the personal trainers on Instagram and started following body positive people instead, And I gotta say, it’s pretty refreshing.

Like this one from @bodyposipanda

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Or this one called ‘I weigh’ that focuses on achievements beyond what the numbers say on the scale:

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If you’re feeling shitty, give them a follow.

Chill out, eat the cake, be content

I wouldn’t say I’m 100% content, it’s definitely a lot harder than it sounds.

But I think as long as you’re not putting your life in danger then a little bit of chub is alright.

If you wanna eat the cake then fucking eat the god damn cake.

Life is too short and you shouldn’t have to spend the majority of your time feeling guilty about enjoying it.  

So let’s stop buying into the bullshit. Unfollow the fitness freaks, the influencers and unattainable celebrities who are paid to look that good. 

Even if you do achieve your ‘ideal body’ I guarantee you won’t be happy until you fix the issues from the inside.

Let’s all just try and be happy with who we are, cause we’re so much more than just a reflection.

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