Oh fitspo, the cool mashup word that’s been all the rage in online fitness circles. In case you’re not good at being hip, fitspo = fitness inspiration. Well, theoretically it does. And okay, I’m sure some people find these entirely motivating and not the least bit damaging, but I’m not a fan of the messages.
With messages about never giving up and pushing through the pain, and with phrases like “strong is the new skinny”, fitspo can be a little pushy. When those messages are then paired with images of headless fitness models, flat stomachs, and asses without cellulite, it gets overwhelming pretty fast. I understand the idea of pushing yourself and wanting to be better, but the constant barrage of the body parts of “ideal” women juxtaposed the inspiration not to give up is telling me things I’m not interested in hearing.
You can have this flat stomach if you just work harder.
You can be this skinny if you just work harder.
Eat better. Train harder.
Skinny is sexy. Strong is sexy. Fitness is about being sexy. Always make sure you’re sexy and desirable to other people.
I’m pretty over fitspo.
And I’m not the only one.
In the great technology age where women and men alike are constantly being reminded of what the perfect body looks like and how we should all be working toward that, fitspo can often do more harm than good. You may never have a flat stomach or buns of steel. These bodies we idolize are the result of specific eating patterns, exercise patterns, and genetics. The frames and the shapes of these bodies may not even resemble yours in the slightest. And that’s a good thing because we weren’t all meant to look the same.
What the hell is with separating women from their body parts anyway? I am more than my stomach. I am more than my ass. I am a person, I am working on me every single day, and I do not deserve to be boiled down into one body part as a reference for my level of fitness or my sex appeal.
I will no longer let a stranger’s flat stomach be my personal motivation.
I will probably never have a six-pack and I will always have cellulite. I can’t eat an incredibly restricted diet because it is both mentally and physically taxing for me, in ways that aren’t healthy.
I won’t work out for hours a day because my family, sleep, and my DVR are all important to me. I’m going to eat chicken wings and drink beer and get that big container at the frozen yogurt place. And I’m going to do these things guilt-free because I enjoy them and because I know I work hard to eat healthy often and exercise when I can. I won’t ever have the fitness industry’s perfect body but I can learn to appreciate my own. I can figure out where healthy habits and a healthy self-image meet to make the body in which I am most comfortable. I’m happier with that.
And so, I created my own alternative images to fitspo (click on the images to get the bigger versions).
We could all use some more love and kindness in our lives. Be good to your body. Be kind to your body. Love yourself. Love yourself no matter what you look like, no matter how many pounds you want to lose, no matter how many cookies you ate with dinner. Be your biggest fan instead of your worst enemy.
Try to be the happiest and healthiest version of you that you can be, whatever that looks like. And encourage others to do the same. Think of all of the things that your body can do today and think about how great those things are.
Be good to your body, it’s the only one you have; and treat yourself with kindness to encourage others to do the same.
You are more than a quote over a body part.
You are awesome. Just as you are. Today. Right now.
And one more, for good measure, because I see you over there, looking all good…