Should you pin that fitspo?
I was reading an article today about fitspo written by Tosca Reno - author, fitness model and motivational speaker. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a fitness expo here in Sydney last year and she was very down to earth, and looked incredible for her age!
A true testament to clean, healthy eating and consistent exercise.
Her article discussed how fitness inspiration is turning into pornographic images. Simply replacing a sports bra and crop shorts with lacy lingerie and the image is fit for another purpose...
This is not the aim of 'fitness'. Yet, despite this, the desire to look hot in minimal clothing is a global desire. Though what's often forgotten is the taboo unmentionables about fitness, and the extremes both women and men go to in order to look a certain way for competitions, photo shoots and other promotions just like these fitspo images.
Unfortunately, the fashion industry is not the only one pushing their models to the extreme. In the fitness industry, if you're not around 5-7% body fat, have visible veins, an incredible dark fake tan, and symmetrical muscle mass either side, plus a pretty/handsome face - you don't quite fit the bill for being 'fitspo' worthy. If you're lean with a bit of muscle definition - you'll be 'thinspo'.
Women and men endure extreme diets, incredibly tough workout regimes and push their willpower and determination to the utmost limits. I give full credit to these people who dedicate their lives to the sport. But that's exactly it. It's a dedicated lifestyle. Most often than not, these women and men are personal trainers, nutritionists and other health professionals in the health and fitness fields. They make the time and the effort to practically live at the gym, meal prep their strict diets, and say no every time to 'cheat meals', until they reach their goals. Which, they do. Until their deadline arrives, and then they relax a little, only to do it all again for the next competition, photo shoot, or opportunity to feature their very lean and toned physique.
When it comes to finding inspiration to hit the gym, these individuals are very inspirational. Their dedication and commitment to their bodies is remarkable. But there is also makeup, photoshop, and lighting, on top of the extreme diets and exercise plans that for the average person, would be incredibly difficult to stick to, not to mention dangerous for some lifestyles. There is an endpoint, a deadline and a purpose for this kind of lifestyle. Comparing yourself to these images is just the same as comparing yourself to fashion models. It's their job, their lifestyle, and more often than not, their genetic predisposition to looking a certain way e.g. slender build or can put on muscle relatively easily. I'm not saying they don't work for their bodies, but for some, its much easier to look a certain way, than it is for others. I'm definitely not saying that you can't work towards a fit body either.
What I believe, and what Tosca Reno wants you to realise is that fitness is not about how your muscles look in a photo, nor how little your body fat percentage is. It, in her words: "means you can run, jump, swim, play, bend, walk and lift with all parts of your body from joints, muscles and bones to hands and feet, all body parts working in unison. It means that if you had to run 5K to get away from danger, if you had to swim for 20 minutes to save yourself in a flood, if you had to lift a heavy weight out of the way to free yourself, something or someone else, you could do it."
Don't let your 'fitspo' or 'thinspo' turn into yet another comparison of unrealistic proportions. You are not them, your body, your circumstances, your life is different to theirs. Make fitness about fun, movement, and building strength and functionality of your body. Make it sweat, move, bend, stretch and lift like it's meant to, so your daily life and everything you want to do in it, is much more enjoyable!
A certain body type is not worth harming your body over. If you can get something similar to these images then great! If you can't - do what you can with what you have, to be the healthiest and fittest version of you.
Be kind to yourself. Exercise and eat well because you want to treat your body with respect and give it what it needs to thrive. Don't excessively exercise and restrictive eat purely for a pair of denim shorts, crop tops, bikinis or bodycon dress. Wearing a variety of clothes and looking damn good in them is a perk of leading a healthy lifestyle and they will come if you remain consistent and dedicated to looking after your individual body.