So I spend lots of time around people who work in the fitness industry. My partner runs his own kickboxing program that he has worked really hard to make an inclusive place for people who might not feel comfortable at other gyms. And I teach taekwondo several days a week, mostly to kids, where I can only hope that some of the positive stuff we say to them about being strong and kind and not putting down other people sinks in.
And I’m not oblivious to all the fitspiration that’s out there which I’m happy to see is being more academically studied and shown to be quite counterproductive. So when a friend of mine who works at the same gym as my partner posted this picture (with annoyance) on social media, I was pretty annoyed too.
And ok, sure, maybe there are some people out there who are motivated to exercise by some generalized feeling of shame for their bodies, but I feel pretty strongly that we can do better than telling people that if they don’t have fit-looking bodies they should hide them. Or exercise until they change them. Or should feel obligated to change the way they look at all.
So… that meant that upon seeing the sign reinstated on Monday afternoon, someone *ahem* decided it might need a little light fixing.
Your body does not exist to please other people. You are under no obligation to diet-and-exercise it into whatever shape the cultural norm dictates. Your body should not be an enemy to be tamed. Exercise should not be punishment. And don’t let any sandwich board or Internet meme tell you otherwise.