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Transforming the Fitspiration Concept

By Celi Merchant on 06/02/2015 | Featured Columns & Series

Looking for a quick way to feel self-conscious? Do an image search for “fitspiration.” You’ll be hit with bad advice, false promises and extreme workout demands laid over images of exceedingly toned bodies in very little clothing.

“You’ll get a lot more compliments for working out than you will for sleeping in,” says the headless runner. Do you really want to choose your actions based on the praise of others? Instead, try to exercise and sleep because they are both important to your well-being.

“The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.” I’m confident that getting injured indicates a bad workout. It’s more important to listen to and respect your body than to work out every day.  

Every single body is different, and that’s a wonderful thing.

“You are 6 months away from this.” You know that your skin tone, facial structure or hair texture do not match the pictured female. So, why would you expect to have the same arms, abs, hips, etc.? Anything that tells you that you will achieve a specific look if you exercise or eat a certain way is not being truthful. Every single body is different, and that’s a wonderful thing.

At Girls on the Run, one of our core values is to nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health. When we talk about health, the emphasis is on balance. Nutrition, physical activity and pacing ourselves are key components to a balanced lifestyle. Girls learn that dealing with our emotions in a healthy way impacts our physical health, too. We believe that the larger lessons around confidence, competence, caring, character, connection and contribution enable girls to make healthy choices in all areas of their lives, including their physical bodies. Making healthy choices means listening to your body so that you know what it wants and how far you can push yourself. It definitely doesn’t mean comparing ourselves to others or obsessing over our habits.

So don’t actually do a search for fitspiration, because obviously nobody wants to feel bad about themselves. Instead, let’s transform the concept.

Here are some things that inspire me more than unrealistic “fitspiration” images:

1. Going on an adventure to find new things (right in my own neighborhood)

2. The view from the top of mountain trail (that I just spent an hour hiking)

3. Trying new activities with friends (like whitewater kayaking)

4. My happy dog on a long walk (and getting extra cuddles when we get home)

5. That sense of accomplishment after reaching a long-term goal (I’ve got my eye on you, half marathon)

So, next time you’re looking for some “fitspiration”, ask yourself what truly motivates you to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Celi Merchant

Author

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