It is becoming clear to me that the world of online fitness professionals is a very intimidating one. This is a tough realization for someone flirting with possibly becoming an active member in said world in the seemingly less near future.
Online fitness professionals have no apparent flaws and move through sequences with no little effort. Physically they are obviously in impeccable condition which is also hugely intimidating. I consider myself in excellent physical condition but I don’t imagine that I could make it through a 50 minute videotaped mat class looking completely perfect and effortless the whole time, without breaking a sweat.
So many video channels, Insta accounts, and personal/business blogs feature fitness models who have achieved a level of fitness that I’m not sure my own body is even capable of. It is definitely tempting to feel a little discouraged. And so comes an onslaught on unhelpful and saddening questions; Am I reaching too high? Is my goal to someday be a member of this community too aggressive?
No. Hell no.
Sidenote- I am glad that my main source of discouragement is one that I can dispel so quickly.
Like many confidence issues young women and men in our society suffer from, this one is derived from unrealistic media portrayals of a group of individuals in our society. This generates a negative comparison of the self to this group. I am definitely guilty of comparing myself to others, because I have been trained to do so after decades of living in an environment where I am encouraged to do.
I HATE feeling like I’m not good enough, like no matter how hard I work or train or practice I will never be ‘as good’ or ‘as fit’ as the individuals I see online. It’s the worse feeling ever and I refuse to compare myself to these people anymore.
These are my reasons;
- They may have gone through the same thing I am going through and didn’t give up, so really I should respect their perseverance.
- Clearly they work out really hard, so that’s commendable.
- OF COURSE people featured in online videos are stunning, otherwise no one would watch them!
- I am just starting out, so I should really give myself a break…but not stop working really hard.
- If something is harder for you and you do it anyways, when you get there you have accomplished so much more.
The list goes on these were just the first five..So let’s focus on the last one. Some people are genetically predisposed to have an advantage in the fitness world (we shall visit endo-,ecto-,and mesomorph body types in the future). However physical fitness is attainable for everyone if the effort is put in and in the end, it really does not matter what physical advantages you have. It isn’t basketball where you don’t really stand a chance unless you are 7 ft. tall, However if there is a pro basketball player who is 5’5 can you imagine the respect he/she receives?
I do not feel intimidated in a sense that anyone is working harder than me, or are inherently better than me at the fitness thing. Much like I don’t feel intimidated when I go to a Planet Fitness and someone sets off the lunk alarm; You don’t have to be a buff man in your mid-30’s to set off the lunk alarm. I could easily set off the lunk alarm if I tried to pick up something that was too heavy and yelled about it…
I really believe that comparison is the route of all evil when it comes to having confidence in our society. It is simply unrealistic to compare our achievements to those of others because we really have no idea what their path to success looked like. Perhaps we are all a little more similar than we realize at first glance.
The only comparison I will condone is one between myself now and my past self. Am I where I want to be? Am I proud of my achievements? If the answer is no, I would advise thinking very hard about why. Are you not where you want to be because you idolize someone who is in a different place? Or because you scroll through your news feed and you see people doing things that you believe you should be doing also?
The online world is dangerous in this sense because we only see what people want us to see, we all know this. No one wants to display their failures and struggles. We are all guilty of this! I will post a picture of my beautiful and delicious sushi dinner on instagram in all it’s glory. I am probably not going to post a picture of the slightly overcooked chicken breast and microwaved sweet potato that I also had for dinner this week.
So in summary, I feel discouraged all the time. It takes a lot of work to be positive and motivated when you see no results, or when you see other people doing the same thing with apparent ease. However when we remove comparisons, we can focus on working as hard as possible to be the best version of ourselves. A truly liberating feeling.
Also, I LOVE microwaved sweet potatoes. Anyone else?