28 Nov Four reasons why you need to ignore FITSPO
‘Fitspo’ or ‘fitness inspiration’ is something we can’t ignore. A simple search of ‘fitspo’ can produce over 35,000,000 results and most are doing damage to you and your exercise habits.
No pain, no gain. Sweat is fat crying. Be the fit friend not the fat friend. Sore is the new sexy. If you don’t focus on your ass, no one else will.
These are just a few of the top results you are bombarded with when you sweep through the results.
These messages can cause more harm than good and are creating a culture of shaming individuals on their looks, rather than focussing on their health. We look at the key reasons why you should ignore fitspo and stop the cycle!
Four Reasons Why You Need To Avoid Fitspo
Research has shown that viewing ‘fitspo’ or ‘thinspo’ images can have a direct effect on our mental health. One study found that acute exposure to fitspiration images led to increased negative mood and body dissatisfaction and decreased state appearance self-esteem.
Images of muscles, lycra and gyms are simply not attainable for everyone and lead to us feeling ashamed and guilty for not looking like the photos we see online.
The majority of images found online depict individuals with very low body fat and developed muscles, as well as having undergone extensive editing to produce the ‘perfect’ image. This ‘ideal’ target is simply unrealistic and damaging, each body is unique and it can be physically impossible to reach the standard as depicted by these images.
One key element of successfully achieving your physical activity goals is to set targets that are realistic for you and your uniqueness. If you can reach your goal, you are more likely to maintain your physical activity and enjoy success.
Supporting the Culture of Shaming
Fitspo images support shaming individuals – if you aren’t sweating, panting and generally hating exercise then you are not doing it right.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Carly Ryan, explains.
“Exercise should be enjoyable and something you can maintain across your life, not making you feel guilt and bad about yourself. One of my favourite quotes is: Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.”
“We call this type of exercise extrinsic motivation – meaning you are only moving to achieve targets set by factors external to you, e.g. you feel you have to exercise to lose 10kgs to look like your friend. This type of motivation is in complete contract to the more successful intrinsic motivation is essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.”
“If you are exercising under duress, or because you think you should, then you are starting off on the wrong foot. Exercise is about living a longer, healthier and more fulfilled life – not about who can have the skinniest arms.”
“A scary statistic from an American study shows that one third of boys and girls are ‘dissatisfied’ with their body, this shows that the images we are currently exposed to is perpetuating a culture of shame and unhappiness with the bodies we have. Every time you share a fitspo image, think about how that could affect someone else’s opinion of themselves.”
One Size DOES NOT Fit All
Fitspo images take no account of you as an individual.
There is zero focus on the specific mental and physical attributes of each human being and they use a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to exercise.
You must be this weight, you must have noticeable abdominals and you must be in pain to achieve anything. This is simply not true and can also be deadly for those who take on extreme physical activity without consulting the appropriately qualified exercise professional.
Fitspo images never show what happens ‘behind the scenes’ and conveniently leave out the support network of those involved in the photos. If you are tempted to up your weights, sprint faster and change your diet, we would strongly advise you speak to the right person.
Fitspo is an unfortunate product of society’s need for perfection and the media continue to support unrealistic ideals – so please, delete and block and surround yourself with powerful messages that support a happier, healthier you.