Fitness Idols

Where does the line between obsession with perfection and finally REACHING that level of perfection (at least in your own eyes) end?

When does achievement go from inspirational to boastful and bragging?

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Someone finally finds the formula for their success – and since I’m speaking about physical goals let’s keep the conversation to weight loss.  This person reaches their goal weight.  It took them a long time and lots of trial and error and now they are finally there.  SUCCESS!

They LOVE what they see in the mirror.  They LOVE that they can eat foods that are good for them while still finding the balance to allow themselves some “cheats.”  They purchase a new top, a new pair of jeans, heck a new WARDROBE and they might even snap some selfies and post them on Instagram or tweet out to their friends “Just fit into a size 4 jeans! Wow! YAY ME!”

Friends and family keep complimenting them “You LOOK amazing!  What’s your secret?”  So they tell them what they do and how they eat and what their workouts are like.  Maybe they start a blog or a FB page because everyone wants to know “How did you do it?  “I want to do what YOU did!  Tell me how!!”

This is all wonderful isn’t it?  What’s their next step?  They want to SHARE this knowledge.  They want you to follow them.  They want you to eat and drink what they eat and drink.   They tell you what they do everyday because after all, you asked for it.

Maybe you don’t know someone personally like this.  Maybe you know the more popular names.  Jillian Michaels, for example.  Or Bob Harper.  Or (insert famous celebrity spokesperson here). 😉

What does their website look like?  It has lots of buttons and icons on it right?

Subscribe to my newsletter!

Email me!

Follow me!

Pin me!

Tweet me!

Facebook me!

Instagram me!

Tag me!

So you do!  We all do.

So then the success stories get spread…and it’s fantastic!  What’s wrong with sharing the knowledge, right?

My problem, better yet, my opinion, is that this pursuit of “I want to look/be/act/ just like THAT person!” can become obsession to the point of idolatry.

Where is this in the fitness world?  Well, take a look at what we do these days.  And I am 100% guilty of this so I will use myself as the example:  I FOLLOW people and pages on social media.  I read every word they type in their status updates and tweets.

We each have our own ability to reach our goals.  We don’t have to rely on these idols.  I am torn because I find that some people I look up to (bordering on idolize) promote products that promise reaching this goal quicker.  And I don’t necessarily agree with that.  I feel like it’s manipulative.  And yes I’m speaking about the companies I mention in this post here.  But I’m not trying to pick a fight.  I also would put products like pre workout powders and post workout shakes in that category as well.  Of course weight loss pills, fat burners and any “quick fix” fad would also be lumped in there too.

Every product is a business out to make money and I get that.  Who wouldn’t want to run successful company where they get to spread the word and spread their products out to the masses?  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that is there?  It’s the American dream.

But it still bothers me.  It rubs me the wrong way.  It seems…dirty.

I guess in my pursuit to become a better person this past year specifically, I recognize how easy it is to become obsessed with perfection.  I’m 100% guilty of this and I suppose this post is my confession.  I have idolized those figures on stage.  Looking at those pictures of a competitor or even just a fitness model and thinking “I want those arms.”  “I want my abs to look like that.” “I am going to work incredibly hard to get those delts.”

It’s really important (to ME at least) that I remember that although those are REAL people with REAL emotions and thoughts and feelings, I am unique.  I am not like them.  I shouldn’t strive to be like them.  I might make a comment under their photo but I have to take a step back and think:

“Wait….I can admire them.  I can admire their work ethic.  But in no way should I idolize them.”

I have stopped following quite of a few fitness pages and people who I find don’t have the same values I have.  The ones with the selfies everyday that say “Look at me.”  They can easily they can be misconstrued to say “WORSHIP ME and WHAT I STAND FOR.”

Your body is your temple.  But too might time spent worshiping that body in the gym, in the mirror, can cross over into idol territory.

Being a role model is one thing; being worshiped is dark territory that I don’t want to cross over into.

Sidenote:  I’m well aware of the irony of this post as I use Social Media to post my own progress pics.  But that’s exactly what they are: progress pics.  Not perfection – far from it.  I still hope to use this blog as inspiration for others to become fit.  Not fitness obsessed.

4 thoughts on “Fitness Idols

  1. EXCELLENT! It’s also going to seem ironic that I love this post since I’ve got a good-sized following. And while that’s a blessing, it is also a huge responsibility for someone who wasn’t really setting out to do that. I’ve read other bloggers/page administrators struggle with the pressure of it. Others want it. They are “branding” themselves. I have been thinking all day about writing about this topic, but from the other side. So excited to read what you wrote about it today. I think you correctly identified it with the word “idol”. I think that is what makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want that.

    • I consider myself blessed to have just a small following…It makes it easy to write opinions like this knowing “Well, only a few people are going to see this.” 🙂 It makes me feel less vulnerable to personal attacks if I’m to express an opinion that might be unpopular.
      As nice as it would be to have a huge following, I concur with you – it makes me really uncomfortable to have people hanging on every word I type. I kind of don’t envy your popularity Tammy but on the plus side, you are reaching a large number of people who otherwise not make a step to improve their health unless they read your blog/saw your before and after.
      I guess it’s a catch-22 situation sometimes.

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