Dear Fitness Industry
Dear Fitness Industry,
It’s time to resolve this love-hate relationship I have with you.
You see, I actually love and care about you deeply. We go way back, and I feel like I owe you a lot. You came along at a point in my life where I was really low, and you did more than just pick me up. You showed me that there was more to life than I had been living, and that there was more to me than I had ever realised before. You helped me have fun, you taught me how much my body is capable of, and you connected me with some of the most amazing friends I have ever met.
But you know I have hated you at times too. You can be arrogant, superficial and fickle. You change your mind like people change clothes, flipping between different trends and approaches on a whim. You churn people through your doors without understanding who they are or why they are really visiting you. You don’t seem to care about the people who drop off your radar, and – this one really hurts – you seem to care more and more about how people look instead of how they feel.
I don’t know if you were always this way? Maybe you were and I just didn’t notice. Maybe you showed me your best face and drew me in, leaving me feeling betrayed and confused when I saw the real you. Or maybe what I see now isn’t the real you at all. Maybe you’ve been running with a bad crowd and have just let yourself be influenced over time.
Whatever the case, I still believe in you. You’re almost like a wayward child that I cannot help but love and support – except I didn’t raise you, you raised me. The time has come for me to remind you of all those things you taught me during my fitness upbringing. Values like health, vitality, kindness, connection and compassion. Ideals of a better world, a place where people can express themselves, where they not only value movement but also value the body that allows them to move. A place where personal growth and self-care are not only by-products, but the aim of the game.
I’m not going to beg you, but I ask – sincerely – that you make an effort for me and all the other people who care about you. I know you can step up to the plate and be the driving force behind well-being that I fell in love with. I ask, more for the sake of others than myself, that you stop this preoccupation with social media images that are nothing more than sweat-dripped soft porn. I ask that you stop comparing people to each other and start celebrating our differences, our diversity and our divinity! I ask that you let go of your ridiculous perfectionistic standards and stop demanding more, more, more of us. That you stop provoking anxiety in people by telling them they’re not strong / small / big / ripped / good enough yet.
Please let us move at our own pace again, steady and content. Please let us be happy in our own skin, without making us feel that we need to look like somebody else. Please bring the laughter and fun back to movement instead of making it a chore. And please help us see exercise as a joy instead of a punishment.
I know you, Fitness Industry – I know who you are, and I also know who you can be. You are far more amazing than you give yourself credit for, and the potential you have for positively impacting this world is enormous. Let me help you get back on your path again, because together we can be stronger and happier than ever. More than that – together we can make the world stronger and happier than ever.