A string of recent conversations/observations I’ve had have allowed me to formulate some of my grievances with the fitness industry.
Here’s the crux of it: substance using athletes flog protein and supplements to highly impressionable young people. In the hope that said goods can transform them overnight into a duplicate of their very idols, young people embrace the ‘hyper mass turbo serpent orc attack thunderbolt gainer’ culture. Little do they know, the desired physique is a result unattainable without steroids. The fitness industry’s glossy, quasi-erotic obsession with appearance has embedded deceit into its own core.
You see billboards brimming with aesthetically superior beings whom many, including myself, look up to. To an extent there is nothing wrong with that. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle, which is achieved through meticulous diet, consistent training, and unwavering commitment, is on the whole, a good thing. It teaches discipline for many who lack structure in their lives, whilst working out promotes self-worth and increased confidence.
I can’t promote the benefits of going to the gym enough, it’s something that I am passionate about – if it adds value in your life and you enjoy it, do it. For me, success is about wanting what you’ve got.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are some of the most hard-working, inspiring individuals in this world. If you don’t believe in role models then thats fair play, but there are a lot worse people to take inspiration from.
The issue I have, is endemic within the bodybuilding industry. YouTube is by far the largest marketing platform for unnatural athletes to promote their products. You can access every detail about training and diet you want in an instant. There are step-by-step guides, programs, techniques, day in the life, full day of eating, motivation, competitions, lifestyle videos and so on. Who watches these videos? Me admittedly.
But I fear that those most likely to be engulfed in the unrealistic imagery of the industry are teenagers. Steroid abusers dupe thousands of teenagers every single day by propagating physiques which are only attainable through drugs. It is morally indefensible in my eyes for a YouTuber to promote products in a way which toys with the highly impressionable young mind. I know cause I’ve been there myself.
The key is transparency, but I realised a long time ago that is a naive demand in the society we live in. As long as fitness businesses profit from the hoards of people who have the wool pulled over their eyes then everyone is happy. Some may say ignorance is bliss: at the end of the day these athletes are helping and inspiring others. True, but I take a more morally robust outlook and suggest that young people must be aware of the truth that is out there and encourage for people to think for theirselves about what we see.
Its about questioning everything. Question everything. What are you seeing? What are you really seeing?