My Beef With “Fitspiration”

[WARNING: Contain offensive language.]

OK, these thoughts have been spinning round and round in my head for so long and the more I think about it and the more I see the stupid comments that we (us at the Libero Network) get about this, the more I get angry about it.

If you don’t know what Fitspiration is, it is a movement created by people to encourage others to exercise and get fit.

That’s great! I have nothing against people encouraging others to exercise and feel good about themselves. Exercise is good for the body when done in moderation and for the right reasons.

But when images like this 

and this

are plastered on social networking sites and all over the media, it’s beginning to get too much.

To me, the Fitspiration movement has become more of a cult, encouraging others to feel bad about themselves as they are and strive for this ideal body that, as I said, is being plastered all over the internet.

Not only that, but they chose a name much like that of the anorexic “Thinspiration” movement, which, as many of you know, has disturbing images of skeletal girls and boys standing around looking half-dead. Why would you name a supposed healthy exercise movement that is similar to the thinspiration movement?

I mean, really?

People are fighting back against the Libero Network’s “Stop Fitspiration” movement saying that because we are saying this, we must be fat and lazy, etc. 

No, that is not why are against Fitspiration. When people see these images, they start to feel bad about themselves. They start to feel as though they’re not doing enough exercise or they’re not trying hard enough. Not only is it making people feel bad because their bodies don’t look like those in the images, it’s making people strive for this “ideal” body, which is unrealistic for people that don’t exercise for a career. 

People are being brainwashed into thinking that these kind of messages are good to spread around, particularly in the blog world. 

To me, it’s exercise-addiction masquerading as a healthy message and is very much like “Thinspiration”. In fact, it would appear that Fitspiration is the new Thinspiration.

As someone who went from looking at “thinspiration” on the internet to looking up to ripped people like Jillian Michaels and certain celebrities, my obsession was to no longer be thin but to look toned and lean. And oh boy, did I get carried away with the messages these people were sending out.

I couldn’t go a day without exercising for 2 hours because I was being told by society that it was the right thing to do. I was exercising harder and harder every time to the point where my heart started palpitating during my workouts. it got to the point where I was so injured that every single workout was painful.

It’s been over two years since I gave up my addiction to exercise and began my journey of mending my relationship with my body and exercise and my body is still recovering. Even though I’m at a healthy weight and my body is functioning properly, when I go out for a walk or do some yoga, I still feel pain in my joints. It’s everlasting. I regret those years that I pushed my body so hard. When I hear these messages saying, “You never regret a workout”, I can honestly say that I have regretted many a workout. I have regretted ever letting these stupid messages get to me.

I am still in the process of mending my relationship with exercise and these fitspiration messages are definitely not helping, but when I read them, I just have to laugh because they are so ludicrous.

Let’s take the second image above for example: 

“You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry tomorrow. You choose.”

Are you FUCKING serious? Come on people, I know you’re smarter than that! What message is this giving people? It is telling people that if they don’t exercise, they should feel guilty! WHY SHOULD WE FEEL GUILTY FOR THAT? It’s hard enough having the voice in your head making you feel guilty and now we are being told to feel guilty from external sources? 

Fuck. Off.

Particularly when people that usually get involved in this movement are those that feel insecure already. This is just adding gasoline and butane gas to the already raging fire!

I know I’m probably going to get some pretty bad backlash from this but I don’t care. This is my opinion and this blog is my outlet. If you like Fitspiration then good for you. But don’t try and make myself and others who are struggling with body image and self-love feel bad about ourselves because you do.

/rant over.

Please note: I am in recovery from an eating disorder and is someone who has had much experience with the Fitspiration movement. This is my own personal opinion. Do not call me fat or lazy because I am against Fitspiration. If that’s the only comeback you have, then that really says something…

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Posted on 19 September 2012, in Health, Life, Miscellaneous, Recovery, Stop Fitspiration. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Katy, I just love you. 🙂
    Could not have said it better myself.

  2. Great post, Katy… couldn’t have said it better myself! I never really got in to the whole Fitspiration movement, because like you said, it just reminds me of Thinspiration so I wanted to stay as far away as possible, but I can’t stand that they’re just replacing one unobtainable body type with another. The whole “strong is the new skinny” deal is just a clever way to promote exercise addiction… Why can’t we have some sort of inspirational movement that promotes accepting your body for what it is instead of constantly trying to change it?

  3. Totally agree. It’s ‘too much’, ‘too obsessive’ and so on. It is trading one obsession for another. Fitspiration, health-blogs (which, in my opinion, are rarely ever healthy!), ortho, gluten-free vegan bio organic carbfree sugarless etc diets and whatever else is out there, it’s all way ‘too’ something, and ‘too’ of whatever is never ever healthy

  4. Ha! I love reading real posts with real emotions..you nailed it. Being a dude I see those photos on facebook and twitter all the time and they annoy the crap out of me. It is easy to post that shit, but it is hard to live by your own standards…way to keep it real!

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more! I just can’t see how people who look at these images can think they are positive motivation in any sense of the word!!

  6. I seriously want to hug you because I am SO sick of this fitspiration/fitfluential movement. It’s stupid and I honeslty think it encourages us to push ourselves when our bodies don’t want to or can’t go anymore, which only leads to burnout and injuries.

  7. YESSS! Totally agreed! 🙂 Great post!

  8. I’m catching up on your posts – I love your passion and your message. Thank you for putting it and yourself out there.

  9. Late to the conversation because I just found your blog, but this post really resonated with me. I absolutely abhor this movement, at least within the “healthy living” blog community. It HAS become a cult, a means to compare, and generally just another way to feed the orthorexia so many bloggers have developed. For the most part, these bloggers are Type-A perfectionists who take everything to an extreme. The point of “motivation” and some of these “reminders” is one thing for people who need a little inspiration – but even then, it’s too harsh. Sure, some people need a little tough love when it comes to taking care of themselves, but it’s the opposite end of the spectrum for these bloggers. I’ve noticed, over the past couple of years, that in most cases bloggers are suffering. They’re getting injured or sick, and just generally look unwell. Talk about an argument for moderation and listening to your body rather than abusing it.

  10. I am part of this, what you call “cult”. I couldn’t be more offended by this post. I have never seen anything wrong with living a healthy lifestyle; working out 6 days a week for an hour to an hour and a half is NOT unhealthy or detrimental to one’s body. If someone takes this “fitspiration” too seriously (like you did) that doesn’t mean it’s their fault; take responsibility for your actions. The Fitfam is used as a support system. For example, at a AA meeting, where alcoholics go to meet up, the counselor there isn’t telling them to have another drink, the counselor is there to help them and support them with staying sober. Also, Thinspo is not Fitspo. The pictures and quotes are totally different. Thinspo is for people who eating disorders, Fitspo consists of people changing their old habits for a healthier look on life. As I stated before, don’t blame Fitspo because you developed an eating disorder, take responsibility for your actions.

    • You’re very welcome to be offended. I’m not saying that exercising and being ‘fit’ and exercising daily is unhealthy. I do that myself, in fact. But posting pictures of unrealistic images and using quotes that are usually used as a healthy motivational phrases IS unhealthy. It annoys me that people don’t see this. We need to stop with this ‘ideal’ image of what women and men should look like and just have a healthy attitude towards our bodies. As much as it may work for you, it belittles people that don’t look like that, making them feel like they NEED to look like that in order to feel happy or good about themselves.

      Believe it or not, there are people following the fitspo movement that have taken it to extremes. I know people like this.

      “If someone takes this “fitspiration” too seriously (like you did) that doesn’t mean it’s their fault; take responsibility for your actions.”

      It’s very difficult when you have an obsessive nature and a mental illness that involves feeling the need to lose weight to “take responsibility” for my actions. It was a horrible period of my life and I would never EVER go back there. I eventually did take responsibility for my actions and that made me realise how this movement can be very triggering to perfectionists.

      The obsession with exercise in our society is what worries me. I understand that fitspo may be aimed at people with unhealthy lifestyles, but it’s usually the ones who don’t need to lose weight or change themselves feel the need to exercise obsessively.

      I’m not saying that people should stop exercising AT ALL. I encourage exercise. It makes me feel good! But I will never support a movement that can encourage orthorexic tendencies.

      And THAT is why *I* (and MANY others) feel it should be stopped.

      • First off, you obviously haven’t seen all the pictures and quotes that are on them. Most are pictures of strong women with strong quotes to follow…I have never seen anything wrong with that. A trick that MANY people do outside of twitter who are not associated with “Fitspo” will have pictures of their favorite model on their bedroom walls and/or fridge to remember what they want to become the HEALTHY way. It is possible to achieve the body you want the HEALTHY way. Also, are you blaming pictures of half naked girls for why your disease worsened? I understand an eating disorder, I have been through one, but there are pictures of half naked girls EVERYWHERE! There are billboards, posters, magazines, etc., that have half naked, “skinny” girls on them. If you are going to put “Fitspo” in the spotlight for blame, then you might as well blame society.

  11. Thank you Katy… powerful words that express a valuable opinion.

  12. stumbled upon this from actually searching “motivational workout pics” I have felt like I don’t workout hard enough because I don’t look like those people in the pictures. This has totally blown my mind and it’ll make me think twice about feeling bad over a “fitspiration” photo..Thank you!

  13. To be honest I got highly irrate from Just reading a portion of your opinion. I’m going to go ahead and go off of a base that tells me that fitspiration isn’t something you intentionally looked for; its something you came across on the mass media scattered about the internet. May it have been instagrams most liked or a friend’s post that unintentionally gave this message to you. I say this because fitspo is for people who are striving to be fit. From people who are unhappy with their weight/size; may it be the person who has health conditions due to obesity, or the Ana person as well as everyone in between. The point is, they know where they are at ana they aren’t happy. They know their goal. Now… some people like to visualize their goal to keep their motivation, especially when they’re ready to give up. A lot of fitspo emphasize that results won’t be overnight. Telling someone its better to accept what they’re unhappy with is supposed to be better? Let me use your way of thinking with my aforementioned example. A person who has medical conditions.due to obesity should accept that this is how it is, and they should love themselves for it? When they can change it? Its not about having to change its about wanting to. Its not about conforming. To society’s idea of beauty or sexy. For most Its about making themselves happy. What’s wrong with someone exercising to be happy (even though it means changing to be happy) vs someone keeping bad habits That could eventually kill them? If you wanna say its all about addictions replacing addictions, we could go there too. My mom was finally able to quit smoking after more then 20 years or it by exercising When her body had a craving or withdraw. Replacing a bad addiction with a better one.
    Now for you to assume that this has a negative impact on everyone is wrong. It negatively impacts you because you dont want or Need the inspiration. No I’m not saying that you must be lazy or fat and whatever else you said that others were saying you protesters were… I’m saying that if you dont like it, dont look at it. The honest truth is that everything will do harm where it does others good. If it doesn’t work in favor of you or your opinion it doesn’t mean it Will be the same for the rest of the world.
    I mean opinions are opinions and to each their own but its different When you protest against something thats helping many People. Look at society’s charts. What percentage is obese, malnurished, and healthy? Realistically being either if he first two are bound to give complications and health problems. How someone goes about keeping motivation for their goal in fitness is up to them. Live and let live.
    On another note I might find fitspo as something that works for me but I wouldn’t push my idealistic opinions on others and try and force them to See it my way. If that’s how it came across it is in no way intended for it.

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