I think that the fitness industry is, well… ruining the fitness industry. It seems like everywhere I look all I see are ridiculous pictures of ripped bodies without an ounce of fat, people who haven’t even dared to LOOK at a bagel in the past 5 years much less let loose and actually fucking HAVE one. These pictures, ostensibly designed to “motivate” you to go hit the gym and “crush” your workout with a level of intensity usually reserved for binge drinkers on spring break, are accompanied by quotes like, “Unless you faint, puke or die… keep trying!” Umm, NO, that actually goes against everything you should be doing. If someone is encouraging you to faint, puke or die during your workout, keep in mind the opposite slogan to Nike’s “Just Do It”… “Just Don’t.”
Let me just say before we go much farther that I am a fan of working out at a high level of intensity. I love to sweat, I love to be humbled by the weights. I have also been in this game for a long damn time. I am going to sound like a hipster here… but I was doing CrossFit before you even heard of it. So, I get it… from firsthand experience. But we HAVE to stop talking about fitness in terms of it being “elite.” We need to start speaking to people in terms they can understand… we need to start meeting people “where they are at.” The truth is, all of these pictures, quotes, and “Fitspiration” speak to a very limited percentage of the population and are doing a huge disservice to the majority of the population, the people who NEED fitness inspiration. The people who need to be inspired, fired up and motivated the most, ironically are the people that I don’t see ANYONE speaking to. These are the people who don’t know where to begin… what to do to start, what to eat, etc. The people that need to begin to add movement into their lives. And the fact that adding movement can be something as simple as parking the car a little bit farther away from the store, taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator or walking around the block a couple of times in the evening after dinner. The people who need our help the most are not getting it because we have become too obsessed with posting pictures of our 6-pack abs and how we “destrominated” our last 400 Meter sprint.
I would venture to say that 90% of the population could improve their health by adding 15-20 minutes of movement to their life 2-3 times a week. What do I mean by “movement”? Very. Simple. Things! I am talking about marching in place during commercial breaks. Walking on a treadmill (yes, WALKING) during their favorite TV show. We have totally fucking overcomplicated the process of being healthy. We spend our time talking about macronutrients and bullshit that no one gives a flying fuck about… or even knows what the fuck it means! You know what would make a huge difference to people? Instead of worrying about macro nutrients or making people wonder if they have their kale to quinoa ratio just right… encourage them to eat a few more meals at home each week and stop relying on the drive-thru to feed their family. The people we need to speak to are the ones who can’t run after their kids without having to stop because they are too winded. The people we need to reach out to are the folks who are afraid that if they continue on the path they are on they won’t see their daughter graduate college or their son get married… THESE are the people that we are in this industry for.
For 2015, let’s give a little more thought about our audience, about who we are speaking to and why. What are their goals? what do they NEED from us? Leave the yelling and screaming and stupid shit to reality TV… the reality of some shit is… people want us to treat them like human beings with feelings, jobs and day-to-day stress. We are here to make them feel BETTER and be healthier… NOT to beat them up, make them feel like shit and show them what they COULD look like if they never ate, did steroids and had every photo they ever took airbrushed within an inch of their life.