Originating here at Libero and created by our Founder Lauren Bersaglio our #StopFitspiration project:
- brings awareness to the potential harm of fitspiration messages
- provides support for those recovering from exercise addiction/compulsive exercise
- advocates and teaches balanced, body positive approaches to fitness
What is ‘Fitspiration’?
“Fitspiration messages focus on exercise as a means to attain a physical end. Often tagged #fitspiration or #fitspo, these messages promote unhealthy and obsessive behaviours along with unattainable physical ideals. This contributes to negative body image and unhealthy exercise behaviours.”
(Creator #StopFitspiration, Founder Libero Magazine)
Typically the images associated with Fitspiration showcase bodies that are muscular, tanned, have little to no body fat, and are heavily photoshopped. In short, they are impossibly perfect. These images do not represent fitness or health in a realistic or inclusive way.
In contrast, we believe fitness (like beauty and health) comes in all shapes and sizes. Clearly these images do not represent this and often contradict messages of body positivity and inclusivity.
The phrases associated with many ‘Fitspo’ images include messages like:
“Eat Clean. Train Mean. Get Lean.” “Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going!” and “Strong is the new Skinny.”
These messages promote harmful and disordered behaviour patterns.
On the other hand, sometimes the words associated with the images seem contradictory. Phrases like “Beauty is on the inside” or “It’s not about how you look; it’s about how you feel” are placed alongside images of a heavily photoshopped fitness models under the tag #fitspiration. These messages are confusing. The words seem to promote body positivity, yet the images do not.
Similarly, sometimes popular messages like “I’m working on myself, for myself” or “You can do anything you set your mind to” will be stuck on images of thin, fit models engaging in rigorous exercise activities. Alone, the messages are generic and even inspiring. However, combined with the images they offer a very different message.
Because of this, it’s important to look at Fitspo messages as a whole. Don’t just ask yourself what the words are saying on their own. Also ask yourself what the message says in conjunction with the images they are paired with.
How is this different from Thinspiration?
Thinspiration images contain severely underweight individuals and promote unhealthy weight loss and disordered eating behaviours. Fitspiration masquerades on many occasions as a “healthier” response to ‘Thinspo’. The phrase “Healthy is the new skinny” is a prime example of this and one that is popular amongst #Fitspo posts.
However, Fitspiration is not a “healthier” alternative to ‘thinspo.’ Fitspiration does the same thing thinspiration does, only from a different angle. The images still promote a body “ideal” and the messages promote unhealthy and often obsessive behaviours.
In short, both ‘thinspo’ and ‘fitspo’ promote unrealistic and unhealthy ideals, contribute to negative body image, and are equally harmful.
Join the movement!
Do you want to be part of the #StopFitspiration movement? Here are some things you can do:
- Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.
- Use hashtag #StopFitspiration when sharing messages that promote body positive fitness.
- Share this page and our Articles with others.
- Most importantly, don’t buy into Fitspiration. Model a healthy relationship with exercise to your friends, coworkers/clients, and family. Ultimately, when people stop consuming ‘Fitspo’, others will stop making and sharing it.
Here are some interesting articles on fitspiration:
- “What is ‘Fitspiration’, Anyways?” by Lauren Bersaglio
- “Fitspiration: Why it’s not so inspirational” by Lexie Kite of Rewrite Beautiful
- “Compulsive Exercising & its Effects” by Andrew Heming (Athletic Trainer & Professor)
- “An Interview on Fitspiration” with Lauren Bersaglio
- “Fitspiration: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (featuring us!) by Melissa A. Fabello for Everyday Feminism
Recent articles from our #StopFitspiration Column:
Follow @stopfitspiration on Instagram: