As humans, what do we do to motivate ourselves to get into shape? One of the more common things is to expose ourselves to images of people with the body type that we desire, correct? Not only do most people who want to get fit do it, even organisations like health campaigns, gyms, fitness magazines and clothing stores do it. In fact, we do it quite a lot here at the Granite Fitness Blog.
The reason for doing so is quite straightforward. If we want to reach a certain goal, we need to start with the end in mind, otherwise the journey might end up being futile. And if we are honest, we all want to look a certain way, which is why we are reading this blog in the first place. Every self-help book will agree that once you start acting the part of a successful person, our motivation will stimulate our actions towards success. For those who want to get fit, such pictures serve to motivate us towards our goals of looking like them.
Unfortunately, when it comes to women and fitness, a recent study has found that this was not the case. The results might be the same for men too, but for now we shall focus on women, because the research focused on this demographic. The University of the Sunshine Coast reported in a study that after 322 women who were shown pictures of fitness models in magazines, their self-esteem took a big hit rather than an inspirational boost.
According to psychologist Dr Kate Mulgrew, the whole “fitspiration” movement, referring to women looking at images of fit models, could be doing more harm than good. This is because the emphasis of the intent is such that women should idolise and strive towards a particular body shape and type. This places an emphasis on adhering to an ideal rather than being healthy for the health benefits.
She further commented that it is extremely hard for a normal woman to achieve the desired type of body. In fact, not only are the models of fitspiration images active and able to engage in many hours of exercise each day following a targeted fitness plan, they usually also have an element of genetics. By promoting something that is not achievable by normal women, fitspiration detracts from the message that fitness and exercise is for health rather than looks.
In order to remedy the situation, Dr Mulgrew suggests that fitness magazines should use a more diverse range of body shapes rather than just one look. After all, it is possible for most women to achieve a healthy body size with a different shape. Another way to counter this effect is to put a story to a fitspiration image, so that the context of it will be inspirational.
Another disturbing trend is the sharing of bikini images on social media. We all know that such images can spread like wildfire, and although they are meant to be inspirational, the opposite effect could occur. So what I urge is that if you continue to see such pictures on the internet, including on this blog, put it into context. But more importantly, focus on your own journey towards good health! Following this blog and/or getting the Granite Fitness Masterclass will put you on the right track towards good health, which will, over time, get you the body you wanted anyway!
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