In the past few months, and more so the past few weeks, I have been told by numerous people both directly and implicitly that it seems like I’m “no longer into fitness” as much as I used to be.
Initially, hearing this upset me for a number of reasons and I could write about these reasons for pages and pages but the one reason that stands out the most is this; I had based the whole of my self-worth on my “fitness” and not being as “fitness-y” made me feel as though I wasn’t as important. Although basing my self-worth on my fitness was done unintentionally, it was done because for so long in my life I felt as though I didn’t matter. Then I started to get into fitness, created a bit of a following and had people who thought that I (for some crazy reason) was inspirational. And it made me feel good to know that I was able to positively impact the lives of other people. So I kept posting, kept on “inspiring” and kept growing myself in the fitness world.
This went on for a year and a bit until I came to the realisation that both myself and the fitness industry had changed since I started my whole fitness journey.
When I started sharing fitness-related things on social media, all the platforms were different. Posts were more informative, recipes were given out for free, the traditional ab shot consisted of a crop top and shorts, people took selfies on their camera phones and “belfies” were photos people took with at the least shorts on. Sponsored athletes were athletes who trained hard, were dedicated to their sports and lifted the lives of others up.
Nowadays it seems as though people just post photos for the sake of posting, most photos are professionally taken or at least captured with a digital camera, captions are normally just a few emojis or a link to a website, booty photos (‘belfies’) are either taken in a thong or less, nudity is becoming increasingly popular and accepted, recipes have to be purchased as part of an eBook, every photo is promoting a product or a paid/sponsored post and ‘shout-outs’ between completely unrelated accounts happen every few minutes. Although I know that ‘business is business’, nowadays it seems to me that health, fitness and supplement companies sponsor people based purely on their social media following, even if that specific person has absolutely nothing to do with fitness, health or exercise. They just have a large following and are given a sponsorship based on that, not on their athletic ability or their ability to inspire, spread positivity and help others.
Now that I’ve typed out the things that have been on my mind for so long, I’ve realised that perhaps it’s just me that has changed, not the industry itself. Maybe I was too naïve in the beginning, didn’t realise those things were happening and as I’ve changed I have started to notice them more.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have changed a bit over the past year and I’ve spoken about it in many of my previous blog posts. In the past twelve months, I realised that I had fallen into “tunnel vision” with my fitness and prioritised that over everything else in my life. Now, I focus more on my university studies, my relationships and my career. I’ve realised that everything in life should not be sacrificed simply to have abs, be lean or be able to look ‘shredded’ in photos.
I guess that change makes it appear as though I am not longer ‘into fitness’. And in all honestly I’m not ‘into fitness’ to the same degree as I was when I was competing but I still do love and have a passion for it. But, some days, instead of training I choose to stay home and spend time with my family. On Fridays after work when I would have once gone straight to the gym for a 1.5-2 hour session, I usually go to my boyfriend’s house and spend time with him as he works long hours during the week. I’ve been so exhausted after spending the whole day studying in the lead-up to my exams that I’ve often gone to bed without training or driven to the gym only to deliver a half-hearted workout.
You might read this and think I’ve “let my fitness-self go” or that I’ve become complacent. I’d just like to tell you that I haven’t. I still love training and eating healthy foods. I also, on the other hand, am aware that in one month I will be on the other side of the world without my loved ones so I have chosen to spend as much time with them as possible. And if that choice means that I can’t have a long training session or can’t train at all, then that’s fine with me. If that choice means that I eat out at restaurants more than usual, then that’s fine with me. I’ve learned to prioritise and spending time with loved ones is a priority of mine. Soon I’ll be without them in Switzerland and then I will have much more time to work on my fitness.
I’ve already looked into gyms and exercise options in Switzerland and I am really looking forward to being able to change things up when I am living there. The gym I’m planning on joining is a huge fitness centre complete with classes and a swimming pool. I’m thinking of buying in a bicycle so I can start to ride places instead of using public transport. I’ll have mountains and the Alps within reach so I can go on hikes and exercise more outdoors. It’s all very exciting and the change will be very motivating – I know that because I’m already motivated and I’m not even there yet.
With all that said, I’d really like for you to tell me if, in your opinion, the fitness industry/social media fitness has changed over the past few years or whether it’s remained the same and I’ve just started to notice the things I mentioned above. What do you think? If you think it has changed, do you prefer the new industry or the older one?
P.s. I know that I’ve changed direction so many times over the past few years and I know that some people prefer my posts and blogs about competing and don’t like the others ones I have been posting more of recently. So I’d just like to take this time to thank you for sticking with me, for sharing the challenges I’ve faced, for giving me advice, guidance and support and for being a part of a community that I can share my life with.