So, so sad. But at least it’s blatant and obvious. Not all thinspiration comes in as clear of forms.
Found the excerpt below compelling and wanted to expand on one point: the fact that many instructors (and trainers) often use body shaming language as motivation during class as motivation for their students.
“Bye bye saddlebags!”
“No more muffin top!”
“This will target those gross, flabby arms”
“You can FEEL the fat melting away”
Granted, many women sign up for fitness classes with EXACTLY those intentions. But I can’t help but feel that there have to be better ways to motivate than to point out flaws that may (or may not) be an issue. What if someone’s just fine with the way their arms look? What if they didn’t think about saddlebags until you brought it up?
Saying ‘target your glutes’ & ‘make you stronger’ are both good. So’s ‘get our guns ready for action’ and ‘boost our heart rates’ and ‘YOU GOT THIS’. There are LOTS of ways to stay motivating, get results and keep your participants sweating hard… without body shaming language.
The takeaway: while it may seem that your students are there to target certain body parts, what they really want is to feel better about themselves. And pointing out flaws may not be the best way to motivate them to reach the next level.
Excerpt via Intent Blog
Of all the ways to motivate me to do anything, calling me fat isn’t one of them. Showing me photos of underweight underwear models is more likely to make me hungry than inspire me to hit the gym. And while thousands of people over the years have sought my advice on how to become more fit, lose the baby weight, or sculpt a certain body part as if it were a fashion accessory (this is one part of my job, and I happily oblige), I have told people they should lose weight precisely this many times in my career: never.
Why would I bother when there are so many other voices telling women and men that they need to whittle more of their bodies away in order to feel worthy of living inside them? I wouldn’t, and it’s a shame.
But people find inspiration in different places, and, while disconcerting, thinspiration is a thing—a style of motivation that ranges from cheeky mantras like “Sweat is your fat crying,” to downright dangerous behaviors in support of eating disorders.
I remember attending a fitness class taught by a popular teacher a few years ago at a swanky Boston health club. It was a strong class, and I liked the teacher’s sense of humor. But when she encouraged us to eek out one more rep of an upper body exercise to incinerate the “disgusting flab on the backs of our arms,” it didn’t make me work harder. I wilted. I worried about all the ears hearing those words of disgust about their hardworking bodies in the room (some of whom were also my yoga students), and I wondered how they would be internalized.