The New Health Craze?

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By Anna Bielkheden

Judging from Social Network Posts You’d Think So.

In recent years, alongside the rapid growth of social media, the general interest for fitness has boomed. This is great…right? Everyone is posting updates on their food, their workout habits and a ton of so called “selfies” on Facebook, Instagram and what have you.

It seems just about everyone from your next door neighbor to your sister-in-law wants to become the latest fitness star. Doesn’t this sound like an inspiring phenomena?

In a way, yes. It’s amazing that the ideal has somewhat shifted, or at least has a runner up, from the heroin-chic look of fashion magazines to the buffed and ripped one. But on the flip side, it has become an equally disturbing social disease to look fitter than your pal.

It’s not just fitness models who obsess over their looks. In fact I can’t go to my neighborhood gym anymore without seeing some girl, not so inconspicuously, taking pictures of her butt in training gear before, after or during her workout. ‘Working on those glutes! #cute #butt.’

The big question is, is it really healthy to collectively share our fitness aspirations and progress at every second of every day and indulging in (or fretting over) other people’s ripped abs and perky behinds? Perhaps it puts an element of motivation into the workouts, but it also adds a very severe level of stress on our psyche. When feeling thoroughly anxious over the food you just ate because you couldn’t help but look at your favorite Instagram fitness model while at the restaurant, is that really so different from ruining your mood and self-esteem while flipping through Vogue magazine?

There are so many fitness models these days and everyone wants a piece of the pie – but what pie is that? A slice of attention? A tear sheet? Mostly, sadly, it’s a non-paid occupation that thrives mainly on the craving for attention and validation. This is without a doubt not healthy at all.

And isn’t fitness supposed to be about feeling good, in addition to looking good?

Personally, I’ve stopped checking my Facebook these days because I quite honestly get sick

of all the thong pictures and cliché’ inspirational posts. ‘Strong is the new skinny!’ ‘Haters are just jealous admirers!’ ‘Do you even lift?’ Barf! It gets really, really old. We get it. Fitness is great. I work out six days a week and I eat clean. But sometimes I don’t, and that’s ok too.

Bottom line is, do it for you. Question your own agenda – are you really in the game to inspire or be inspired, or simply for the attention? When it becomes an obsession and a competition it is NOT healthy anymore. And fitness – is, or should be, about health.

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