aging · motivation · weight lifting

Love the story, hate the headline: On guilt and fitness messaging

Occasionally stories come across my newsfeed where I love the story and hate the headline. This is one.: She’s Powerlifting at 76, So You’re Officially Out of Excuses.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love that Patricia Horn, age 76, starting lifting on the advice of her physiotherapist to strengthen her legs and help with knee pain. I love that she lifts with a group of women who call themselves The Golden Girls.

She also looks super happy in the photos of her with weights. Go Patricia!

But the no excuses talk? I hate it.

Cheryl hates it too. She blogged about giving up “no excuse” talk and personal training from the point of view of body positivity. I think I’ve blogged about the “no excuses” fit mom thing before but now I can’t find it. But hey, here’s a new, really good piece on misogyny and the “fit mom” trend.From the article: “The presumption of the “No excuses” trope is that mothers are leaning on motherhood to indulge their natural tendency to be lazy and gluttonous. This idea is misogynistic.”

I especially hate older people or disabled people being held up as super-heroes. The “they can do it, what’s your excuse?” trope is insulting to disabled/older people and insulting to those of us with our own struggles. I have to say, for me at least, it’s not particularly motivational.

5 thoughts on “Love the story, hate the headline: On guilt and fitness messaging

  1. I blogged about it in relation to the Maria Kang meme a few years back and can’t find it either. That’s the one picturing the mom who looks like a fitness model with her three kids under five and says “what’s your excuse.” I hate the whole shaming approach to fitness too!

  2. Our society runs on guilt and fear. It’s so sad.
    Can’t we just celebrate someone else’s ability without comparing ourselves to them?

  3. Totally agree. Here’s what I suspect. These marvellous super-fit old men and women are supposed to be motivational not for the old (too late, for better or for worse we’re on our own path now) but for the young: look, don’t be scared, it could be worse.

  4. This is such a good point. It’s fantastic that a 76-year-old woman is powerlifting. But someone else shouldn’t feel bad because they’re not. Her story is not your story, and there could be a million reasons (not excuses) why they’re not.

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