I get the blues when I look at a lot of fitness industry marketing that pushes looks and beauty above an actual healthier lifestyle.
When you ask people not involved in a fitness program, what image they have of the industry, you will invariably get the answer that fitness means a six pack and a sun tan.
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The association between fitness and “beautiful people” may not be one that exists within the more informed areas of the industry, but to the man on the street, that’s what the message seems to be.
It’s a trend that is infuriating, as those involved in presenting fitness to the masses have to climb that mountain before they can make headway with new clients.
I can’t recall how many times I have heard people say they don’t want to attend the gym or the class, as they feel they are either not fit enough or not pretty enough to fit in. Suggesting you have to be fit and beautiful to even start going to the gym!
It’s an outlook that affects both men and women.
I know men who feel inferior in the gym to the bodybuilders that hog the free weights and the mirrors, leading to less and less visits to the gym, until they give up altogether.
The answer to this image problem is one that could fill a book!
We are manipulated in all aspects of media as to what healthy actually looks like, so it could take many years of going off trend to get the general public to switch the view they currently have of health and fitness.
The way forward for instructors in the industry, is to understand the requirements of the people they are currently working with.
The way to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is through a proper diet and staying active. That does not mean, for the average Joe, counting the grains of rice in your risotto and completing a 90 day fitness challenge.
For most of us just the smallest changes can kick-start the way forward for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Eating cleaner, getting more sleep, stressing less about the small stuff and doing a bit of physical activity maybe all that is required, and let’s face it, that alone may not give you the bikini body that the media seems to think we all want. But it will make us feel internally better, more confident and less likely to get ill.
I teach a number of entry level classes that are busy and filled with smiling happy people. They enjoy that hour of exercise, be it dance based or simple aerobics and they feel better for the experience.
I have dozens of clients that only exercise with me once or twice a week, and the sessions that they are doing will certainly burn their calories and leave them feeling good, but they also won’t be competing in any body building contest. And they don’t want to either!
They are happy to be healthy and exercising and they enjoy what they do as it makes them feel like they’re doing something that helps them maintain their health and wellbeing.
For many of these clients, they are comfortable with their body image and they attend these sessions as a way of feeling good. If they want more, and decide a six pack and 2% body fat is their ultimate goal,they are welcome to move on and seek that out for themselves.
The choice is always there, and when people reach that point then they will know for themselves that is what they want. They should not embark on that goal because they have watched an infomercial on it and thought it a good idea at the time.
A healthy lifestyle is what we should all be pushing and everything else is a bonus along the way.
There are so many people that want to start to exercise and eat healthy, but are constantly intimidated by the image that is portrayed by the industry marketing machines. It’s a shame that we have came so far in this field, but we are still stunted by what we perceive to be the ultimate goal.
Healthy lifestyle does not have to mean size 8 dresses and bikini bodies. It can mean oh so much more!
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Louie Fecou