Fitness is NOT about having big boobs, flat abs, a massive booty and flaunting oneself like a pornstar on Instagram. Fitness is also NOT about being super elite and ‘hardcore’. It is NOT just about sculpting the perfect body, and it is NOT necessarily the same as health.
This was the overwhelming opinion from most people I have encountered during my time at fitness conferences, both here and overseas. Attending these conferences reminds me why I became a personal coach in the first place – to help people transform their life.
As a veteran of the industry, it is easy to get disheartened by all the rubbish that I often see – the supplements, the rise of the ‘fitspo’ expert, the over-emphasis on the ‘bikini body’, the unnecessary glorification of ‘photoshoot-ready’ bodies, ‘razzle dazzle’ equipment and exercise fads and the constant bombardment of food photos – seriously just eat the food already (admittedly I have been known to take a few food shots but that’s because it was so pretty; not because I was showing off what I was ‘allowed’ to eat!’).
In all honesty, I am sometimes saddened by how some people view or promote the fitness industry. However, my time at these conferences have reminded me of all the good that is in our industry.
I have seen fitness professionals with a burning desire to help people change for the better. I have chatted with energetic trainers and other professionals who, like me, are focused on seeing a positive change in what is presented in the media, who are focused on changing the definition of our client’s success (this does NOT include focusing on weight or superficial outcomes), and who are ready to stand up and say enough is enough!
I am proud to be in a position where I am both a conduit of change and also a recipient of information. I love that I get to inspire or spark paradigm shifts in people. I am also thankful to have absorbed all the enthusiasm and energy from so many other inspiring like-minded individuals, which has left me feeling refreshed, renewed and reconnected to my original ‘why’.
So with fresh enthusiasm, and the help of some awesome individuals, here is exactly what I believe fitness is:
Fitness is a vehicle for transformation. Being challenged physically and mentally allows for growth, and as Tony Robbins says ‘if you are not growing you are dying’.
Fitness is a vehicle for connection. Not only is this about meeting new people and socialising, it is also about reconnecting with one’s own body.
Fitness is multi-factorial, meaning there are multiple components to fitness – ‘looking good’ is just one of many potential benefits.
Fitness is a journey. Yes, this is super clichéd, but so true. As mentioned in the first point, fitness allows you to learn about yourself as you progress. It forces you to assess your life, to make adjustments and to figure out what your personal definition of success is.
Fitness contributes to health. Without health we have nothing. If we are sick or diseased, the overall quality of life is lessened. We are entitled to thrive not just survive and fitness can help us achieve this.
Fitness allows us to be ready for whatever life throws at us – physically, emotionally, and metaphorically!
Of course this list is not extensive – I’m sure you can think of other ‘fitness is….’ statements, but ahhhhh aren’t those more meaningful and inspirational than pouty-lips and fitness pornification?
Do yourself a favour, and have a detox from social media – if after viewing certain pages you are left feeling crap, disheartened, lacking, or wishing you looked like anyone else but yourself, then you need to hit the ‘unfollow’ button.
Always remember: fitness should never pull you down. Instead, fitness should make you feel good; it should build you up, energise, encourage and inspire you. So go ahead and work out exactly what fitness means to you, and let me know how you go.
Article by Nardia Norman