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):
- The Swing, by Tracy Reifkind
- Starting Strength, by Mark Rippetoe
- Kettlebell Simple and Sinister, by Pavel Tsatsouline
- Convict Conditioning, by Paul Wade
Want to try jogging and maybe run a charity 5k? Think about starting here:
- The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing, by Philip Maffetone
- Unbreakable Runner, by T.J. Murphy and Brian MacKenzie
- Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall
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:
- Spartan Fit, by Joe De Sena
- Run, Lift, Carry, Climb, by Riley Nadoroznick (shameless self promotion)
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.