If you’ve checked out my About Me (or just looked at the banner above), you’ll see my motto is about health and not aesthetics.
What exactly does this mean?
This means that as a future personal trainer, I want people to put their focus on achieving health and not aspiring to look a certain way. I see loads of the most popular fitness professionals or fitness bloggers creating videos or guides with titles that include burning muffin tops, getting flat abs, burning arm flab, getting a bikini body, and so on and so forth. This is all well and good, but appearances don’t always dictate health. This is why I am so against the fitspo movement. It puts intense focus on appearances versus health. And I, and I’m sure there are a myriad of others like me, want to do something about this.
It is fine if you do want to do something about your appearance, especially if you know it will improve your self-esteem; however, first and foremost, getting healthier should be about how you feel not about how you look.
The reason why I think it is so damaging to put so much focus on appearances is that in these fitspo tags on places like Instagram or Tumblr, you’re inundated with “perfect” bodies, most of these bodies being unattainable because we are not all built the same way. Your genetics determine whether or not it’s even possible to achieve a six-pack. The shape of your hips also determines the extent of your thigh gap. Narrower hips are going to have less of one, while wider hips will have more of one. So genetics do have a say in how you’re going to look, which is what makes the focus on appearances so damaging.
I also want to be about health because I feel as though people begin fitness routines for the wrong reason: to look more physically appealing. This then leads to stress over why someone can’t burn more fat around his or her midsection, or about why someone can’t drop those last 5 lbs. It also leads to following a variety of diets, from low-carb to paleo to low-fat to high protein, which really makes you realize that we as humans haven’t a clue just how and what we’re supposed to be eating. People then succeed on these diets, and then when they return to their former diets, perhaps a healthier version of what they were on, they’re shocked that they’re gaining all of that weight back because the diets they used to lose that weight are unsustainable. So then people eat less and exercise more. Their bodies adjust to the new level of eating, so then they have to eat even less to see results. Then they exercise even more.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Your number one motivation for starting a fitness routine should never be about your appearance, or else you’re just going to get discouraged when the results you want aren’t occurring fast enough. This is probably why so many people drop out of fitness programs; they expect too much in a short period of time and have no one to guide them on the proper path.
Your number one motivation needs to be about your health. Start a fitness routine for this reason and this reason only. Aesthetics will follow, but they should never be your primary concern.