In fitness as in every other aspect of life, different things will inspire different people.
If you search #fitspo across social media, you’ll find stylized images of mostly very thin, heavily muscled women along with a catchy slogan.
Fit inspiration, or fitspiration, or fitspo. Take your pick.
The premise is that a few motivating words and an image of a strong, healthy body will get people off their arses and into action. And for some people I am sure this is true. For me however, it seems like just another way to tell women, in particular, that until they match some unachievable cultural aesthetic (in this case one related to strength training) they just are not good enough.
Here’s a reality. Just like models in the mainstream media, fitness models are in those photos because they look a certain way. Yes they work extremely hard to look like that, but genetics play a role as well. I could lift heavy and eat paleo and it would not remove my bottom rib or make my hipbones any narrower, and only surgery would give me the breasts we are often shown to serve as ‘fitspiration’.
Here is what a fit, healthy woman looks like.
But you know what? She looks like this as well.
These women may not be oiled up, photographed under soft lighting, photoshopped or posed so as to best display their assets, but they are STRONG. They are runners, they are weightlifters, they are endurance athletes, they are cyclists.
And they are all these things not because their fitness careers demand them to be, but DESPITE the time commitments of working or raising a family or travelling or any one of a million other things busy women do.
To me, that is truly inspiring. A woman who prioritises 3.5 hour training runs in preparation for a marathon whilst managing a highly successful business and raising her children. A woman who works out of home leaving two small people with their Dad and still gets up early to train.
What their bodies do is astonishing, because they choose to make it happen. And their bodies are beautiful.
#Fitspo shouldn’t be about meeting yet another idiotic set of criteria related to weight or perceived attractiveness. By definition, #fitspo should be about celebrating women who choose to make fitness a priority in their lives, no matter their age, their size or their shape.