We've seen a surge in body positivity and body acceptance in all forms of media. #bodypositive has over five million posts on Instagram. More brands are featuring women of varying sizes and shapes. Yet, the underlying message remains, especially in relation to the fitness industry, that to be considered fit/healthy, you must look a certain way. Most fitness programs aimed at women are linked to aesthetics. Get that beach body. Work for the perfect round butt. Develop goddess quads. Get rid of belly fat and sculpt your abs.
I don't have six pack abs and I don't want them. But I feel like I'm expected to.
Fitness goes beyond appearance. We know this. Yet, aesthetics is what large portions of the fitness industry use to drive sales. The hard, shiny bodies and exposed toned torsos are what is equated to being healthy and fit. It is what we are supposed to strive towards.
Let's say no. Leading a physically active lifestyle and engaging in a purposeful exercise program is about MORE IMPORTANT THINGS.
We exercise because:
Many other amazing mental, emotional, and physical benefits aren't listed here. Once I started exercising because of the way it makes me feel and the health benefits rather than chasing after specific body part shapes, I found it much easier to get moving. I stopped making as many excuses to skip planned exercise. As a result, my body did change and I ended up with some of those specific body part shapes after all.
So go for a walk. Dance. Lift weights. Do yoga. Move your body. Do it for yourself - not because you are trying to change to fit some sort of “ideal”. Create goals that work for you and your body. Your fitness journey will be much more pleasant if you do!