‘Fitspo’ became popular by piggybacking on the ‘thinspiration’ (thin inspiration) trend – which Instagram rightfully banned in 2012.‘Fitspo’ was meant to be a motivator for people (but mostly women) to workout and eat healthier. However, this crapshoot of a hashtag has had the opposite effect. With the majority of these images being of women who are thin, tanned and toned, it’s no wonder so many women are feeling demotivated and unhappy with their bodies.
Instead of inspired, many women feel excluded and ignored as their body types are rarely seen in the online health and fitness space. This extends to a huge number of women (and some men), feeling like gyms aren’t welcoming to anyone except for those who already have the ‘fitspo’ look.
At best, ‘fitspo’ parades misinformation and skirts around the truth of what it actually takes to get ‘that’ body.
And at its worst, the idea is downright dangerous. Instagram is the perfect place for unqualified pretty people to dish out advice based on little more than ‘what’s worked for them.’
The Problem with Fitspo
The problem is, even if you work out like someone else, there’s no guarantee you’ll look like them. People are smart, and are aware of this, but ‘fitfluencers’ do a great job of selling their lifestyle as an easily attainable one. What those accounts fail to show is following bad ‘fitspo’ advice can lead to eating disorders, poor body image and injury.
It’s time to put a stop to the notion that being fit means looking a certain way.
It’s time to start seeing more diversity on social media.
It’s time to call out ‘fitspo’ and ‘fitfluencers’ for their exclusionary messaging and the damage it causes.
For you, the reader, I want you to know that being fit truly does not mean looking a certain way or being able to do a cool looking exercise. Rather, it could be:
- doing the vacuuming without your back hurting;
- doing your first push up;
- keeping up with your kids at the playground without getting puffed out;
- being 75 years young and still living a fun and vibrant life.
For too long, women have been taught that our appearance is the most important thing about us – let’s not hurt ourselves more by continuing to subscribe to this destructive ideal.