Every day, I like many, sit on Instagram and see the array of fitness pictures. I see the cross-fitters lifting heavy, the runners who just finished 10 miles, the body builders who are four weeks in, the shake cleansers with their before and afters, and half naked women who instantly make you hate yourself. Let’s be serious, social media is the place for all of these people to brag about their fitness successes, and you know what? Props to them. But what about the ‘everyday’ people who don’t look like these half naked fitness models? Can we give them some credit for trying?
As I scroll through my news feed I see the millions of before and after pictures of people who just lost a few pounds. What really sticks out to me is that almost EVERY single one of these pictures has a caption that starts a little something like, “I don’t usually post something like this but…”. NO. STOP. Own that shit. You just worked your ass off (literally). Be proud of what you’ve just done. It takes not only the physical ability to transform our bodies, but the mental ability. It takes will power to break unhealthy habits. I understand, posting these pictures takes a lot of guts. You’re showing the world a vulnerable side of yourself, but you’re also showing the world the inner and outer strength you have just gained. Throw that before and after on there, and follow that up with a caption that says- “LOOK WHAT I JUST DID”.
And for those of you out there hating on these people for their success- shaming these people doesn’t make you any better. Fine, if you want to secretly hate the girl on Twitter who thinks she’s super cool because she suddenly lifts and wants ‘#gainz’, by all means bash her in your head (hey, I’ve done it). But then take a step back and realize that, yes she needs to shut up but she’s also actively trying to better her body and health, and might need the acknowledgement from social media to feel good about it.
To further my rant, shaming the people who don’t fit our ‘social norm’ of ‘being fit’ (whatever that may be) is also not okay. They may not want to be a size zero. Maybe they just want to be healthy so they can get up and down to play with their kids. Maybe they want to be strong and muscular because lifting heavy shit makes them feel good. Maybe they just want to feel that energy after a good spin class. Whatever the reason, don’t put these people who are doing their best down. You don’t know why someone has gained 100 lbs. Stuff happens in all of our lives, and sometimes the number on the scale is out of our control. Take a step back, and focus on your own goals rather than shitting on people in the gym who are actively trying. If you see someone doing a machine or lift wrong, EDUCATE THEM. The gym can be a really intimidating place for some people. At least they are brave enough to get off the treadmill and try something new. Don’t make fun of them, teach them.
So, to conclude my tirade, congratulate the people who are able to step foot in the gym everyday, educate the ones who have no idea what they’re doing, and then get in there yourself. If you’re one of the millions posting your progress and success-own it. Don’t be ashamed of what you have accomplished. Everyone has their own fitness journey, respect that, and remember that comparison is the thief of happiness.