Why “Strong is the New Sexy” is a Problem

Instagram is making me sick lately.

Every “fitness” account is filled with half naked people flexing their guns or sticking their butt out.

If these pictures were posted in any other context they’d be deemed inappropriate. But because the account has “fitness” in the name, or there are a few #fitfam or #fitspo hashtags in there, it somehow becomes okay.

I don’t get this.

In defending these posts people will say they’re just proud of their body and are trying to “inspire others”. Frankly, I think that’s garbage. We all know why these photos get posted. Their goal is not to help others.

A lot of these posts have captions like “Strong is the New Sexy” or something along those lines.

And I believe this is a problem.

“Fitness” and “Sexy” Are Two Different Things

I get it. For years we (especially women) were told that we had to be skinny to be attractive. We were sold on the idea that big was bad and small was good.

So yes, it’s nice to see that we’ve changed our minds on this and that the focus has become on building lean, muscular bodies. That’s not my issue – I believe this is a fantastic goal and should be almost everyone’s focus as we age.

My issue, then, is that we are still associating our health and fitness with “sexy”.

And it breaks my heart.

I believe this idea that being fit means being sexy is the reason why the fitness industry is so messed up right now.

I believe it’s the reason why people look for short cuts, try crash diets, and jump from program to program.

When the goal is something non-quantifiable like “to be sexy”, it’s pretty hard to find a clear path to achieving it. So we try diet after diet, workout routine after workout routine and end up going nowhere.

Maybe you lost a few pounds. Maybe your waist shrunk. Maybe you can run a bit farther… but are you “sexy”?

Hard to say. Better try something new.

What’s been lost is what really makes pursuing fitness a worthwhile goal – the improvements we see in every aspect of our life.

We aren’t talking about living pain free and being full of energy. The fact that eating right and exercising are the true fountain of youth never get mentioned. Posts on how fitness makes friendships and family ties stronger are few and far between. Nobody is talking about the increase in self confidence or life lessons fitness provides.

I can’t remember ever seeing a social media post that read, “Finally got that promotion! Big shout-out to my kettlebell for teaching me patience and perseverance!”.

Instead, we get bathroom selfies.

Stop Worrying About How You Look

Health and fitness are not about how you look. Fitness is so much more than physical appearance, and we need to stop equating the two.

Fitness is about living a better all around life. Not how others perceive you.

Sure, most fit, healthy people look good, but not everyone that looks good is fit or healthy. They are not the same thing.

Exercising with the goal of “looking better” is meaningless. You can’t quantify it, there’s no way of knowing if you’re on track, and you’ll never be happy or healthy.

You need to stop thinking about your fitness journey as a way to be “sexy”. And once you do, the results will just come naturally. I promise.

In our Spartan SGX programs we put zero focus on weight loss, muscle gain, or anything like that. We just try to get better – try to become better athletes – and the rest takes care of itself.

Stop worrying about your weight. Stop examining yourself in the mirror every day. Stop following and comparing yourself to weirdos on Facebook and Instagram.

You’re better than all that.

Pick a smart, healthy goal and attack it with everything you have. Try to get stronger, run farther, do more push-ups, or lift more weight. These are goals you can measure and actually achieve.

Enjoy the process and just try to get better at whatever it is you want to do.

Want to be able to carry groceries, pick up your kids, move furniture with ease, and just feel strong? I’d start by checking out these resources (and yes, it’s ok for women to lift heavy weights):

Want to try jogging and maybe run a charity 5k? Think about starting here:

Want to just stop waking up in pain each day? These can help:

Or maybe you really want to have an adventure and try something like a Spartan Race. I’d suggest training with us, but these are good options too:

Whatever you decide to try, whatever goal you choose, commit to it and make it your sole focus. Write a list of all the reasons why achieving this goal is important to you and find a way to make it happen.

But please, once you’re in great shape and have all the confidence in the world, don’t go posting half-naked selfies. Do something positive with your new level of fitness instead.

Help Out With Hill Sprints – 2017

Our Help Out With Hill Sprints challenge for 2017 has officially come to an end, and it was a great success!

Through the month of February, our athletes were raising donations for Carmichael Outreach, a local organization working tirelessly to end poverty and homelessness. To help motivate others to donate, we promised that one of our athletes would run a 50 meter sprint up Mount Pleasant for every item donated.

After everything was counted, our athletes were able to raise an outstanding 2,070 items! From frozen meat and canned goods to warm winter coats and blankets. With every item going to help someone in need in our community, our team was able to do a lot of good through this challenge.

On Saturday, February 25th, it was time for us to uphold our end of the bargain. Our team gathered at the hill at 9:30 am, warmed-up, and ran hill sprints for four hours.

And it was every bit the mental challenge I had hoped for.

This challenge, first and foremost, was about giving back to the community and helping those in need. Giving back is a huge part of who we are and what we believe in. It’s what we choose to do with our fitness.

But challenges like this also help to push our athletes out of their comfort zone. After completing a challenge like this they realize they are capable of much more than they thought they were. This new found confidence helps them not only in their fitness and athletic training, but in all aspects of their life.

And if you don’t believe me, go and run 185 fifty-meter sprints up a 30 degree incline like Matt Yarnton did. Then tell me you haven’t changed a little bit.

By 2:00 that day, the eighteen of us managed to run a total of 2,191 sprints.

We fought through muscle cramps and sore legs, and are still walking a little funny, but it was worth it.

Having the freedom and ability to train and play the way we do is a privilege. Sometimes this is easy to forget. Through challenges like this we try to remind ourselves of just how good we have it.

Sure, running over 2,100 hill sprints is tough. But nowhere near as tough as battling homelessness, living in poverty, or fighting an addiction.

This challenge would not have been possible without the commitment and support of the following Conviction Fitness athletes:

Ryan Holota, Jess Irvine, Samira Nadoroznick, Divyesh Patel, Ara Steininger, Clayton Bakke, Nick Dalrymple, Murray Musqua, Wayne Morin, Troy Gabel, Linsay Kwiatkowski, Cynthia Fiori, Adnan Khandoker, Amanda Isted, Tiff Hersak, Matt Yarnton, Evan Zolc, and Nisa Ahmed.

Another huge thank you to Loraas Disposal for donating the use of a portable toilet during our hill sprints. It was much appreciated!!!