Gazing at images of caricatured breasts, buttocks and biceps gives you the impression this is how a fit body should look, that every fit body needs to be shaped in the same vein. Most fitness magazines use exactly these images to “inspire” women to look this way.
Yet most of us can’t identify with what we are looking at because we don’t believe ordinary us could ever be them.
What has become of fitness? Where is it going? When every image displayed in fitness magazines has become one suggesting women are dressed and posed for the bedroom and not the gym, one might wonder exactly where the future of fitness is going.
Having been a bikini girl in my past days, I never took myself seriously as such because I carved a bikini-wearing physique out of my 204 pounds of fat when I was 40 years old. I was the outlier compared to the 20-somethings.
Clad in what was essentially panties and bra, standing on a fitness booth at the biggest fitness Expo in North America, The Arnold in Columbus Ohio, hawking fitness gear and the lifestyle, I felt scandalous exposing my well-toned thighs and abdomen to the general public, to say nothing of what I couldn’t see behind me.
My glutes were well-trained, tanned and lightly oiled for sheen and properly lifted through wearing stripper shoes. And let me share that by no means was my outfit scandalous in comparison to the ripped fishnet wearing, watermelon-busted, blonde bee-hived, ripped to pieces, glute-baring characters in full display everywhere else at the expo.
It was an adventure to play along with the youngsters but I kept the private joke to myself, the joke that was age. A body at 40 isn’t quite the same as a body at 20 even though I gave it a good run. But I knew that when my body ran out thanks to the aging process, at least my brain would still be there and that I would have talents that went beyond displaying my gym body in public. I can say this because I never depended on my physique to make a living in the fitness industry. I depended on my brains.
The worry is that what women see in fitness magazines teaches them that what they are seeing is possible for them too. Women are desperate to be published in fitness publications, to be glorified into eternity through a photo.
Women will do anything to get there. They will starve themselves to get lean enough to be able to see all muscular definition, they will experiment with recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, they will prostitute themselves to judges and more, just to make it.
What we don’t realise is that when we are looking at the faces and bodies of women in these physique magazines, is that most of them have dieted for months to look that way. Or most of them are just days prior to a contest where they have put themselves through rigorous training and dieting to get lean enough. Or they have just competed and won’t look the same in a few days time.