Over the weekend two kinds of FitPro's came from all over Australia and New Zealand to attend two very different events. One was FULL to the brim with bulging biceps, butts & boobs. Fake lips & fake tan. Everywhere you looked there was every chemical cocktail you could conceive of, marketed to trick you into thinking you cannot achieve said butts & biceps without their product. Music was blaring from every corner, guys are flexing and flipping as they vie to demonstrate just how strong, muscular and masculine they are. Every supplement stand has a gorgeous girl with washboard abs an immaculate makeup encouraging you to try their [insert pill, potion or powder].
The other event was full of people who genuinely care about the health & wellbeing of Australians. People of all shapes and sizes (some, albeit still really freakin' big and really ripped) who are committed to the learning & development of thier staff and themselves to constantly deliver a first class service to the health needs of their clients.
I attended both. Between sessions I would wander from the FILEX convention where i'd just heard amazing speakers, learned a whole host of new techniques and felt super inspired, down to the Fitness Expo, where i'd literally feel the energy drain out of me as every minute passed. Without fail each time a walked out, I felt like I wasn't enough. I wasn't lean enough, muscular enough, strong enough, skinny enough, beautiful enough. In short, I felt like shit.
You can guess which of these two events was open to the public.......
A good friend and colleague was chatting with me this morning and my friend said to me "after seeing everyone's status updates this weekend talking about how ridiculously fake the Fitness Show was, it makes me so angry that this is what the general public think the fitness industry is!" She's absolutely right. Most people would have had absolutely no clue that in the next building there was 100's of people from all over the country who were learning and upskilling to better serve their clients. Speakers who had travelled from the other side of the world for only a day or two because they're so passionate about sharing their message.
I could go on forever about how different these two arms of our industry are but what I really wanted to share is about comparison. Why do we compare ourselves to the people around us and judge ourselves by what we see? Why do we let someone else's journey affect our own? I spent an entire weekend comparing myself to these fake ideals of what a 'fit' person should look like and each time finding myself lacking. WTF was I thinking!!?? I could write a whole seperate article on the extreme measures a bodybuilder or fitness model goes to, to achieve that aesthetic.
Why did I think I wanted to look like that??
The truth is, I don't. But it just demonstrates how very easy it is to get on the comparison train, and let me tell you; every time it's a one way trip Low Self Esteem-ville. We compare ourselves to the people around us every day. The friend spamming everyone with pics of their amazing holiday on Insta, the person in your office who just got a promotion, the chick on the bus with the annoyingly glossy hair. Social media is especially excellent at making us feel inadequate (did someone say #fitspo?)
I heard an awesome quote they other day 'don't compare your chapter one with someone else's chapter ten.' I've go a fair idea what some of those chicks are doing to themselves to look that way and I don't want to go there. But that amazing holiday your friend is posting about? It's taken him years of spending Saturday night on the couch to save up. That promotion your colleague received? She has worked late, missing birthday's and family time, missed kissing her children goodnight and seeing her family during daylight hours to get that promotion. The chick with the glossy hair, she's just blessed, some people are. Deal with it.
I could use all the cliches in the world now, 'run your own race', 'the only person you have to compete against is yourself', blah blah blah. But instead i'll leave you with this; comparing yourself to others will only make you feel shitty about yourself, it won't serve you, don't do it. There's plenty of stuff in this world (like half the freaking so called 'fitness' industry) that's geared to making you feel shitty about yourself so you'll buy their stuff. Don't give them a helping hand by doing it to yourself.
If you feel like surrounding yourself with inspiring people and images check out my other article 10 Body Posi 'Grammers That Will Make You Feel Beautiful In Your Own Skin.
If you'd like to feel a little more confident or just need a boost, give me a yell. My number is 0403 964 075. I won't try and sell you anything and i'll be happy to tell you how amazing you are.
This article was written by Kate Hickey, Personal Trainer & Teen Fitness Specialist for Empower360 Fitness. If you want your teen to feel more confident, be more active and have a healthy relationship with food and thier bodies, check out the Empower360 Teen Fitness Challenge.
If you'd like more information on healthy body image, living a healthier lifestyle or are interested in a customised fitness program for adults or teens, get in touch; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0403964075