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Body Positive and Fitness Industry. Are These Concepts Related?
Quite a while ago, we looked at social media or turned on the TV, saw exclusively slim bodies there, and perceived it as the absolute norm. But over the past five years, the media and society, in general, have significantly changed the idea of a beautiful body. People have begun to promote self-love and frankly exuberant forms.
The popularity of body positivity quickly blossomed on the expanses of Twitter and Facebook, and a little later, plus-size bloggers from Instagram took up the cause. Little by little, the movement seeped into popular culture and spawned what could be called a revolution in body image and self-love.
But is this understanding correct? Or are the representatives of body positivity just excusing their laziness and eating disorders with it? Let’s find out.
What is body positivity?
Body positivity is a social movement that emerged in the United States in the XX century, intending to change people’s concept of physical norms and standards of female beauty. Having formed in America, the ideas of body positivity have found a response among the representatives of many European countries, and now they are actively promoted in the CIS countries.
In the beginning, the body positivity trend’s main aim was to form a respectful attitude towards one’s own and others’ appearance, especially in situations when a person has excessive weight or visible physical problems resulting from illness, injury, etc.
Over time, the boundaries of body positivity have broadened. The term began to be used when talking about plus-size models, people with piercings, tattoos, or unusual hair color. Today, body positivity is perceived primarily as a struggle against the imposed ideas of a slim and trim body, and perfect skin without stretch marks or wrinkles.
The problem of not liking one’s own appearance or the appearance of others is not far-fetched. A study conducted by Dove showed that 8 out of 10 women surveyed had at least once missed important events in their lives, such as a family gathering or a date, because they did not like the way they looked.
The consequences of body shaming can be very serious. One of them is eating disorders. For example, “orthorexia,” is a disorder characterized by a fanatical desire to follow the principles of healthy eating. As a general rule, people with orthorexia feel an acute sense of guilt for the slightest deviation from the rules they have set for themselves, “punish” themselves with sports, constantly keep calorie and carbohydrates, proteins, and fats counts, avoid events where there is no food suitable for them, etc.
In addition to psychological problems related to eating, people with eating disorders tend to become emotionally dependent on exercise. That is, the emotional state of people with eating disorders is directly dependent on exercise, forcing them to move in a vicious circle: “bad mood – going to the gym – good mood – bad mood – going to the gym…”.
However, there are opposing sides to body positivity, which are the consequences of a distorted perception of body positive people:
The number of overweight people has increased
The University of East Anglia conducted a study involving 23.5 thousand residents who were overweight or obese. Scientists came to the conclusion that along with the fact that plus-size began to be positioned as a variant of the norm, there were more people with extra pounds. This is because the British people stopped thinking of themselves as overweight, stopped noticing the problem, and, accordingly, stopped trying weight loss in any way.
Ignoring health problems has become "justified"
Obvious overweight is always a problem for our body. It negatively affects the musculoskeletal system and leads to metabolic disorders. Mortality from cardiovascular disease among obese people is increasing each year. Of course, some people have extra pounds due to severe illness or injury, and this is a separate case when it is simply impossible to overcome this defect. But others face obesity because of an unhealthy lifestyle and eating disorders, which include junk food, exorbitant food intake, bad habits, and a coach-potato lifestyle. But people this way on their own.
Another warning sign is rashes on the face and body. Body positivity teaches us to be tolerant of them, and that is right! But people who suffer from these problems need to realize that they do not appear anywhere. Acne, dermatitis, and other diseases are only external reactions of the body to internal disorders that cannot be ignored.
Aggression toward skinny people has emerged
This phenomenon does not apply to all body-positive representatives, but as a fact, it exists. Although this trend initially encourages to be tolerant of people of all body shapes, at some point, it escalates into aggression toward the extra skinny people. Insulting nicknames, such as “sack of bones,” are just as devastating to self-esteem as the exact opposite. And girls with pronounced muscle relief may be called masculine.
Can the fitness industry and body positivity coexist?
In the fitness industry, appearance is constantly discussed. This is not surprising because many people come to sports just for body aesthetics: a taut stomach, firm buttocks, and a firm torso. It seems that dissatisfaction with themselves is the main motivation for achieving sports goals, and a beautiful figure is a key to a successful career, personal life, and so on.
However, people often neglect their health and internal comfort in the pursuit of ideal good looks, which leads not to better health, but rather to disappointment and depression. Fortunately, these destructive attitudes are now being shattered by a body-conscious culture. More and more companies and media figures are speaking out against body shaming and in favor of body positivity.
Lauretta Johnnie has been working in the fitness industry for several years and is not at all worried about being overweight. On the contrary, she is convinced that anyone can work out and their clothing size does not matter anything. The main thing is to enjoy what you do, and love your body.
Lauretta Johnnie is not much different from any other trainer. She works in the fitness industry just like other fitness professionals and helps her clients to reach their goals and get better every day. Lauretta also knows the main fitness secret: she can inspire anyone to exercise. She is convinced that it depends on the atmosphere.
At the same time, Lauretta knows firsthand how difficult it is for an obese person to go to the gym, and how difficult it is for them to overcome the fear of appearing clumsy and ridiculous in front of the “sports community”. It was this knowledge that pushed the woman to leave her usual job and train as a personal trainer.
Johnnie was tired of constantly feeling like a black sheep among other fitness professionals, and she decided to create her fitness club “Full Figured Fitness”, where women, regardless of weight or level of fitness, could work out and not feel like outcasts.
In Lauretta’s words, her main goal was not to make women’s weight loss, but to teach them to respect their bodies and love themselves, this is the proper manifestation of body positivity.
This woman proves that the fitness industry and body positivity can exist together.
Tips for body-positive fitness
If your client welcomes body positivity, it doesn’t mean that they can’t have demands and aspirations to change their body. Regular workouts have a positive effect not only on their physique but also on their mental health. Here are some tips for mastering your client if they want to make their fitness even more productive without the distractions of the demands of others.
Forget the mirror and the calorie counter
The first step to following a body-positive approach to sport is to get rid of what makes your client think critically about their own body. Your client needs to focus on how the body moves and what muscles are involved rather than on how they look in the mirror.
The same applies to fitness bracelets and calorie counting. The numbers on an exercise machine are irrelevant if a person wants to become strong and healthy.
Mindfulness is a major factor for success in the fitness industry. It will allow the client to understand which muscle groups they have already worked out enough and which, on the contrary, they have not paid attention to. A mini yoga course from FitWell Content can teach your clients mindfulness and thoughtfulness that your clients are sure to enjoy.
Your client may have participated in body-positive promotions for years, but still, have a preconceived notion of their own body. If they feel that just today they don’t look good enough for this fitness center or this group, you can try other methods to keep the body toned.
For example, clients promised themselves last night that they would do a weight training session, but in the morning, they were in no mood for it. Don’t scold them, but instead suggest an activity that better fits the new mood. You can offer the client one of the FitWell Content programs. Each one is designed by fitness professionals and is sure to be beneficial to your client.
Yes! That’s great because everyone can decide what they want to do. Support your client and help them achieve their goal.
Yes! Anyone who wants to exercise can follow FitWell Content programs.
Yes! Explain to the client that eating unhealthy foods will kill their body and that body positivity is about taking care of the body.