Is the fitness industry open to everybody?

My upcoming birthday has had me reflecting and questioning most things in my life, but especially my own self image and how that fits in to the fitness industry. When I attended Amanda Vogel‘s session on social media and fitness at CanFitPro’s Vancouver FitExpo, it left me all fired up and seriously questioning how the fitness industry (which one would think promotes healthy, active lifestyles), seems to promote tanning, fat-shaming, and rock-hard-difficult-to-attain examples of strict dieting and constant semi-nude selfie-taking. What the hell am I a part of? Is the fitness industry really about promoting health? Is fitness really for EVERYone?Is fitness for everyone_

When I first walked into the fitness world I was young and thin and firm. Now I’m almost 40 and have a bit of a mummy tummy and some spots are softer than I’d like them to be. I’m making a conscious effort to not be too hard on myself and I have some worthy fitness goals I’m digging at (#goaldigger.) I consider myself to be fit but not in peak condition. I can run a 10k without keeling over and I can squeeze out more than a few burpees without barfing. I’d love to be able to do a few chin-ups and turn my flab into abs, but I’m a work in progress and I’ll eventually get there with hard work and dedication.

I’m wondering about all of those newbies to fitness. Those guys and gals dipping their toes in the water of physical activity and who are looking to our industry for guidance. I’m scared that we’re scaring people away with our #fitnessmotivation and #gymselfies (seriously, go search these # on Instagram right now then come back.)  I’m personally not motivated by the majority of these photos. In fact, they reinforce my negative self-talk and make me feel less than.

Think about what you post and what your hashtags are. Who are they for? Are you trying to motivate people or attract new clients? That’s fine and dandy but get clear on who you want your clients to be. Get clear on what motivates them and what their obstacles to achieving better health through fitness might be.Could your rock solid abs be one of them? 

In the coming weeks I’ll be discussing more about the fitness industry and it’s role in body image, how women and men experience body image, and even the topic of fit-shaming. If you have a story to share or thoughts on the topics mentioned, please email me shannon@merakieventplanning.com. 

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