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Sandra Charron

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Fit Shaming: Not a Marathoner? That's OK!

Posted: 10/27/2012 8:56 am

I was watching Big Brother Season 7 (All-Stars) when I heard the contestants refer to one of the female contestants, Janelle Pierzina, as a "fat cow" and "disgustingly overweight." Google her.

After hearing her referred to in this way, I knew I had found my newest passion. If she's a fat cow and "letting herself go," then the rest of us might as well make our way towards the trough.

The fitness revolution nicknamed "Fitspo," would have people believing that perfectly sculpted bodies are the new thin. It would have you thinking that if you aren't training for a marathon, a body building competition, or a sport that requires extreme discipline and a regimented diet (i.e. if you're an Olympic or professional athlete) then you're doomed to a life of heart disease and metabolic issues.

I'm here to tell you that all of that is false. It's nonsense.

I may not have my kinesiology degree and I may not be on the board of the National Association of Canadian Registered Dieticians, but I'm pretty well versed in what is healthy, and what is extremism. If you are training towards a goal, I understand the need for discipline, regimented workouts, and a specific diet.

However, if you're just looking to stay healthy, Canadian guidelines very simply state that you need 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week combined with 2-3 times/week of resistance training. Thirty minutes of moderate/vigorous walking/running/biking five days of the week. Not hours in the gym every day. And rock climbing is not a prerequisite to being considered fit.

If you absolutely can't fit in 30 minutes/day, how about this: The concept of "bite size" exercise is one in which you grab 10 minutes of exercise several times throughout the day to fulfill the 150 minutes/week recommendations of the guidelines: going up and down stairs during the lunch break; walking briskly from the bus stop to your destination; parking a little further away so you can get a quick walk in. This is manageable and it counts. Every step counts.

Will this make you marathon ready? No. Will it make you a body builder? No. But will it ensure that you are healthy and on the right track in regards to increasing the quality of your life? Absolutely.

I am here to start a revolution. Down with this Fitspo.

If our nation is struggling with cardiovascular health and metabolic issues; if heart disease is the number one killer of women; if Type 2 Diabetes is now manifesting in adolescents and young adults, something that has never before occurred with any other generation, then I don't think Fitspo and all of its pressure is going to motivate those that need it the most.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have a substantial amount of weight to lose, chances are, you aren't motivated by the sight of a supremely sculpted lady scaling the side of a mountain.

This is the kind of propaganda that is deterring people; overwhelming them; making them feel incapable and unworthy of losing weight and getting healthy, because try as they might, the Fitspo revolution is not meant for the average North American family juggling jobs, bills, a tight budget, kids, and everything else that comes with that.

The average North American family would feel more fulfilled and gain far more benefits from believing themselves capable of fitting in 30 minutes of moderate/vigorous activity, five days/week.

Let's promote that revolution. The HealthSpo revolution!

Once and for all, let's stop sensationalizing bodies that clearly look the way they do because of loads of hard work and determination; hours at the gym; very regimented diets; discipline that is admirable, yes, but normal and conducive to the average North American's lifestyle? Absolutely not.

It's time we took a stand, if not for our own health, then for that of our children. If this Fitspo mindset is the dominating one now, what should our future generations expect as the perfect body type?

Cue pictures of people made of titanium...

 

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