fitspiration gone wrong
When fitspiration is BS

I teach fitness. I sell nutrition supplements. So, I’m surrounded by people giving their opinion on these topics all day. All day. Where I work, on Facebook and other social media sites, in my email inbox. It’s starting to get really annoying. And you know why? Because everyone is in it for themselves. Oh, not to get the best results, but to look/feel/seem better than you!

I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately, and I’ve held my tongue. But when the BS hits a certain level, my tolerance stops. And then, I share my thoughts. Take it or leave it, but here’s what I think about some of these “fitspiration” quotes making the rounds right now.

1. “Stop wishing it were easier. Start wishing you were better.”

Um, so if I find something hard, or difficult, I’m a bad person? No way. There are many things in life that are hard. Their condition has nothing to do with your condition. You’re not a bad person, or a lazy person, or even a mediocre person, if you think something is hard. The only problem I see is if you let something that’s hard stop you from pursuing it. So instead, “Stop wishing it were easier, and just take action.” Action is what whoever said this was originally going for, I’m sure. So just get to it.

2. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” – Kate Moss

nothing tastes as good as skinny feels

This sentiment has been around for decades, but was recently popularized by supermodel Kate Moss. But there are a couple things to consider before quoting Kate Moss as a fitness role model:

  1. Kate Moss is genetically pre-disposed to her body.
  2. There’s no way to know if Kate Moss’ eating and exercise habits are healthy or sustainable.

Eating one piece of chocolate cake doesn’t doom you; eating pasta doesn’t ruin your figure. Your body is the sum total of your choices – both nutrition and exercise. Your body was not created at one moment in time. So instead, try saying, “Nothing tastes as good as making good choices. And that means moderation, because I can sustain that.” Not as catchy, but a damn sight more effective.

3. Anything along the lines of “Push past the pain.”

push past the pain

Please don’t. Pain is a signal that something is wrong. Learn the difference between “work” and “pain.” Lots of people, especially at the beginning of a new workout program, still have to learn the difference between a muscle exerting itself and a muscle that’s about to pull or tear. I encourage work. I also encourage stopping when there is pain… preferably before there is pain. So, instead, simply “Listen to your body.”

4. Anything in the “No Excuses” meme.

If you’re sick, tired, injured, see number 3.

5. Anything in the “What did you do today?” meme.

what did you do today

This goes for people posting their crazy workouts, such as taking three classes in a row, or posting pictures of heart rate monitors displaying calories burned. This is also sometimes related to #4.

Many of these people are not posting for fitspiration – they’re posting for recognition, for accolades – frankly, to show off. Be cautious about joining their ranks, and examine why you’re posting your stats. If it’s to self-motivate, great – but if it’s to feel superior to your peers or to fish for compliments, then it might be time to step away from the social sharing. It’s time to get back to lifting others up, rather than focusing solely on your own achievements. If fitspiration is meant to inspire, to encourage, then do that. If fitspiration means patting yourself on the back, let me out. Ask instead “How can I get you closer to your goals today?”

Which “fitspiration” quote gets under your skin? How could you turn it around to make it the inspiration it was meant to be? Leave a comment! And be sure to tell me what you think of these!

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Comments

  1. werundisney@gmail.com'

    What a fantastic post! I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately and find myself taking more and more breaks from social media.

    Reply
  2. cabarretfit@gmail.com'

    Thanks @StacyandMissy and @Christine ! Glad this resonates with you! I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling this way. Now, to change the message!

    Reply
  3. laf.freelance@gmail.com'

    This is a great article, Nicole. Way to encourage hard work and healthy and discourage narcissism and superiority.

    Reply
  4. etoiledusoirboutique@gmail.com'

    “What did you do today?” Ugh! Sometimes I just don’t feel like getting off the couch. I eat right. I work out 3-4 times a week. Stop posting your what did you do memes… Let me have a curl up on the couch with hot tea, a book, and no kids without the guilt, puh-lease!!

    Reply
  5. Nicole LaBonde Post author

    @Rae- exactly! While we choose to interpret these things in a way that cause us to feel guilt, I’m equally as certain that they are posted to do gain a feeling of moral superiority. We should be encouraging each other, and kind. Not looking to create guilt and shame just to feel better about ourselves. I find this meme to be incredibly selfish.

    Reply
  6. laura.schaefer1@gmail.com'
    findingmystrong

    This is so good! Fitspiration is great…but constructive and good for your body!

    Reply
  7. ERIKAGARZA100@GMAIL.COM'

    Thank you for clearing this up!! #2 is really laughable especially coming from Kate Moss. My goal is to be strong and healthy with a sustainable plan, not just skinny. Lets aim to be inspiring not degrading.

    Reply
  8. Nicole LaBonde Post author

    @Erika- right?! Although, the truth is, we don’t know Kate’s struggle. Maybe every day it’s an immense struggle for her to not eat an entire chocolate cake, so this is what she has to tell herself to get through. But that’s sort of the point- we don’t know ANYONE’S story. So let’s stop judging, one-upping, and generally not taking care of ourselves and encouraging others to do the same. You get one body. CARE for it. Don’t beat it, degrade it, starve it, etc. Prime operating condition comes with care.

    Reply
  9. runnermom1018

    Thank you so much for this post! I recently made a similar statement on my page. I feel the line between “fitspo” & “thinspo” is becoming very blurred. It should be about embracing who you are, in shape & mind, & being the very best “you” you can be. Not being made to feel fat, weak or lazy.

    Reply
  10. shoppingqueenbee@gmail.com'
    Kris

    #5 with the posting of the Garmin stats. Yeah, I get it, you run fast. You run 6 to 10 miles at an average pace of 8ish minutes. It’s really disheartening and not motivational in the least! And the inundation of “motivational” quotes are just not motivational anymore. Too many! You pin it and then never look at it again.

    Reply
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  12. One I saw this week- “Workout early in the morning, before your brain knows what you’re doing!” WHAT?!?!?!?! Engagement is key to fitness! You actually get a better workout when your brain DOES know what you are doing! It’s scientifically proven. Ugh!

    Reply
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