Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Why 'Fitspiration' Isn't so Inspirational" -- submitted by Kendal Blust

(Kendal I hope you don't mind my putting my two-cents here.  I would love to hear your thoughts and why you submitted this.  What a great site!  I will link it to the blog.)

Check this out--

what has been your honest experience with fitness inspiration images?  It goes beyond what we see at gyms--I've seen these on buses, billboards, in magazines (duh), and in more personal (and in my opinion, frightening) locations-- fridges, bedroom walls, wallets, and bathroom mirrors.  Sometimes they are formal and with a clever "inspirational" slogan.  Some choose the more home-made route, which can just be a picture of an objectified and idealized part or piece of a woman--the message is implicit.  You.  This.  Become.  Whatever.  It.  Takes.

Thoughts?  I don't want to take away from those of you who have found something valuable in these, but in my mind they add fuel to the burning fire of all kinds of wrong thinking about our bodies.  If you disagree, please share your opinion!

I'm especially curious to know whether or not this opened up something for anyone.  Are any of you going to look at these things in a different way now having read this?  Why?


  1. I'm with you. All of the photos are photoshopped, they create an unrealistic ideal. Only about 3% of the population can actually look like that. I'm most annoyed when they have the "You only have to do these 5 exercises a day" with this picture of this hot lady in the background, and there is no way she got that body just doing the exercises they suggest. Anyway, I like this blog, I'm very impressed that you are speaking about these issues. They are so important.

  2. I'm so glad you added your two-cents!! I see these images posted by lovely women all the time... and it always makes me feel uncomfortable. In multiple ways..such as, even though I know it's not real or normal to look like these women (or, usually, parts of women), I still feel discouraged. And I worry that so many beautiful friends of mine are looking at these idealized images as inspiration and want to acheive this lie, and that they will be discouraged or become unhealthy trying to acheive it. Plus, it really feels like a lie- it poses as inspiring when it makes you feel like crap! At least me. Reading this article helped me understand some of why I feel that way and, honestly, helped me know that it is okay NOT to be inspired by those images. That it's normal. I think it really helps to know that you don't need to want to look that way- that it should make us uncomfortable, because it is not (in general) an uplifting message at heart.

  3. I think it's dangerous because bodies are built differently inside and out. The exact same exercise and diet routine will NOT produce the exact same type of body that is portrayed on a lot of these "inspirational pins."
    I did, however have a favorite Nike photo I kept from a magazine. It was a gorgeous picture of a female athlete (fully clothed in pants and a tank-top) jumping mid-air. She did not have the "skinny" body-type, but it was very muscular and I thought her body was gorgeous. The way it was shot was not just to show that her workout clothes looked good (it was an ad after all), but that she could DO something, not just be ogled for being hot...err, I mean fit. None of this "male gaze," effect, just the athleticism of a woman who loves to move her body. To me that was inspirational. I wanted to be healthy so my body could DO things, not just be looked at.

  4. Great comments, ladies. One thing I hate about these ads is that they appeal to the american dream, ie: ANYONE can look like THIS if they want it enough. If you work hard enough, you TOO can look like this photoshopped, possibly starving, taking supplements, surgically enhanced model! Wait...wait a tick.

    I agree, Laurel. The real empowerment and enjoyment comes from what our bodies can do. I love distance running for this reason. I'm not fast, but I love how far my feet can take me. I love modern dance because I love playing with what the human body (and lots of bodies together!) can express.

    Nevermind a body that can see, that can smell, that can walk, that can hear. There are so many reasons to be grateful for and take care of our bodies. But that's not what those posters are all about, are they?

    When I was at my absolute skinniest (and unhealthiest because there was no healthy way for me to get there) I was a size 5 or 6. I didn't even get there. I can't.

    And when we think we can and allow ourselves to want it, it becomes the most important thing. How sad. When that becomes the most important thing. How empty our lives and our souls quickly become.