body image

Why a fitness blog cares so much about body image


We’re a fitness blog but some of our most popular posts are about body image.

Sometimes even I wonder, why do we care so much about body image?

Can’t we just set body image aside and focus on sports performance and fitness more generally?

And then a story like this one crosses my newsfeed and I remember.

Women are less likely than men to become active because of body image and competency fears, according to Sport England research.

The research revealed there was a significant gender gap, with two million fewer women than men in the 14-40 age range regularly participating in sport.

“One of the strongest themes was a fear of judgement. Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again.

Body image is connected to fitness in a variety of ways.It’s both the motivation for lots of women to pursue physical activity. I’ll solve my body image issues by improving my body!

Body image anxiety is also the reason lots of women don’t exercise. I can’t go to the gym. I’m too fat!

Both of these sets of motivations are problematic.

I worry about women who miss out on the health benefits and the joy that comes from physical activity either because they mistakenly think they’re thin and don’t need to exercise, or they think they are too fat to be seen out in public, or they start, and don’t lose weight, and so quit because they think getting thin is the sole point of exercise.

So while I’d like to separate out body image and self esteem from athletic performance and joyful movement, our culture makes that nearly impossible.



16 thoughts on “Why a fitness blog cares so much about body image

  1. I know for my blog, Healthy Soul 360, we are all about loving our bodies no matter what shape we’re in. More women need to embrace their beauty in every way! I think in today’s world, women are trying to be more active. I think a blog of fitness and health promoting are trying to raise the self esteem of women and teaching them to love their bodies. I think society also has a big impact on this issue as well. Women just need to get past the negative thoughts that run through their mind. I’m not saying all women are like that, there are men that have those issues as well, it just depends on how they act upon those thoughts and challenges.

  2. Thanks for posting this. A great reminder that I exercise and eat healthy for me to feel good and have more energy and not to have the perfect body.

  3. I am enjoying your posts very much. As a teacher of exercise primarily to middle aged, overweight and unfit women, so much of what you are saying rings very many bells with me.

  4. Thanks for that Sam. Especially the part about giving up on exercise when you don’t “see” the results on the scale. Every time I’ve undertaken a fitness program, I’ve been undermined by this phenomena. Even though I do see results in improved sleep, improved energy improved digestion, libido and nearly everything else.

  5. Great post! I struggle with taking my fat body to group exercise classes. Although I’m an active person, I feel very insecure when I attend classes where I am the largest person and I’m usually the largest person there. I have to admit it takes a lot of self-talk and encouragement for me to walk in to a class of strangers even though I KNOW I can do the class. Most people assume I’m a beginner or that I’m on a weight loss journey. If I didn’t firmly believe that exercise is my prescription for pain and mobility I’m not sure I would do anything but solo activities.

  6. Great post! I do think that body image really effects my motivation to stick with an exercise routine but, I refer to it as self love. When I am in self loathing and all I can see are my tree trunk thighs and my plump belly, I do not want to do anything. I am ashamed. I think I need to do something before I can actually take care of myself, which is of course counter intuitive. It is a daily struggle for me to see myself in a positive light but, I can do it if I work on it every single darn day. Thanks for your in sites. Namaste!

  7. This is exactly why we purposely stay away from promoting anything to do with body image. This is why we started boutique fitness studio. Big-box gyms have become social scenes or competitive arenas. Fitness should be for yourself and it’s about being functional and feeling healthy.

  8. I think there is a very blurry line between promoting fitness and body image, for marketing fitness companies have to promote results more than the journey and although is true that the new “ideal” body shape is more curvy and athletic is still unrealistic for the majority of us. Then, we tend to associate not “looking like that” with failure.
    I know, I do it myself, even when I have been exercising and I know I am in such a better place than I used to be, there are still moments when I keep judge myself and feel ashamed because there is always someone younger, fitter, slimmer , curvier, running faster, etc, around.
    Thanks for your post…. gave me a good topic to talk about…

  9. Thanks for sharing your blog with us , really an amazing thought .Everyone have right to love ourself , no matter he/she is fatty or thin ,no one have a right to judge anyone. Just eat healthy diet and stay fit always.

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