Is the fitness revolution ruining our lives?

One of the first images that pops up on google when typing in "fitness girls." *for reference*
One of the first images that pops up on google when typing in “fitness girls.” *for reference*

I’m a sucker for infomercials. The promises, the through-the-screen eye contact, it pulls me in and I trust the self-proclaimed devotee of the product who’s selling it to me. The tactic is strong and it works. This same selling ploy has seemed to have found its way into the fitness world.

The swarm of radical fitness bees flood our social media channels. The “bikini bodies” and the “do you even lift bro’s,” they’re exhausting, yet somehow inspiring. With teas that help you lose weight, athletic attire that make you look good while working out and the bizarre workout plans that trainers and wannabe trainers share, it’s turned into an entire process of staying physically fit and healthy.

We can keep scrolling and scrolling, but nine times out of 10, your Instagram feed is going to advertise something “fitness.” In our weak moments, maybe we click the picture to showcase more of their unattainable toned bodies, drooling and googly-eyed, we either vow to work out tomorrow or we microwave our last slice of pepperoni and cheese stick pizza and watch Netflix instead. (Theoretical of course…I’ve never done this.)

But sometimes, the people selling the idea of “work out, or die,” actually win us over. We buy the gym membership, we invest in a personal trainer or we purchase the “8 weeks to a bikini body” guide.

Since when did fitness become so expensive and cumbersome? I can remember in the ‘90s when my mother would work out to her $10 Jane Fonda workout VHS tape in the living room. Wearing awkward looking shorts that hit mid-thigh, and a ragged t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, after 30 minutes, she was done. Rejuvenated and confident, she’d move on with her day without having to take a selfie of her progress and send out the Polaroid in a letter to all of her friends.

I mean, that just sounds insane, right? Sadly, this is what society has resorted to these days. Of course, it’s more convenient in our decade. Smart phones basically encourage you to take a selfie, filtered, needless to say, and post it. If you don’t have Lululemon leggings, how could you possibly do cardio and abs? And even if you do have these $60 leggings, how can you wear them without letting all your “friends” know on the Internet? As for guys, your Nike Air Max 90’s can’t be that THAT crucial to your pumping iron.

It’s an impossible web we’ve weaved ourselves into. When we can’t even keep up with fitness trends, exterior or otherwise, how can we possibly keep up with our health?

While it can be in all good and fun, motivating individuals to take care of themselves and stay active, is essential in our lives, but presenting the notion in a do-or-die fashion, much like the ways of infomercials do, it’s discouraging and actually unhealthy to our self-esteem and maybe to our health.

After doing some brief research on what psychologists have to say about social media effects on our mental health, many of them point to users’ experiencing emotions such as envy, loneliness and exclusion. When we include the presence to our exposure of “fitness goals,” one could speculate how it could be destructive to our well-being.

The fitness revolution isn’t solely on social media. I hear people talking about their CrossFit classes frequently. I understand on principal what CrossFit is – essentially, work outs that focus on strength conditioning and endurance that incorporate weight lifting and running, ect. But after taking a look at the fitness program a little further, I found out that CrossFit was actually created for the military and police, with athletes falling third in line. This information was taken directly off of the official CrossFit website.

Military and police? I am a college student pursuing a degree in journalism who works part-time as a server at a seafood restaurant. Much like the required math courses college students have to take, who swear they will never use Calculus equations in real life, when will I ever need to be capable of enduring the same physical ability as our military?

Answer: never.

But, in the instance that you enjoy the challenge, so be it. That’s up to the person who has chosen to take part of such an extensive workout regimen. And if that is you, I applaud your commitment. However, for those of us who choose to go on a light run in the afternoons, take a yoga class or go on a hike through nature, we shouldn’t be put down because of it.

This “fitness revolution” has attached to it unattainable body goals, time that we just don’t have and expenses that many of us either aren’t willing to pay or just can’t spend in the first place. And I’m here to stick up for the majority and say, it’s ok to not fall into the purchase.

It’s ok to not buy teas that taste like ground up yard leaves, it’s ok to buy your workout clothes from Target on clearance and it’s ok to get your fitness in, in your living room, on your dirty yoga mat and not tell a soul that you did 20 pushups, with a break at 10, because who the hell can do 20 pushups in a row anyways? The military, that’s who.

So, is the fitness revolution ruining our lives? It very possibly can when we chose to get down on ourselves for not attaining the same results as the counterpart. It’s the decision of the experiencer. Working out twice a week is no better or worse than the person that works out six days a week, because it’s a choice. If you’re healthy and happy with what you’re doing, then I say, keep doing what it is you do.

Because in the end, it’s your own revolution to decide.

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