Motivational Bullying

gym selfies

The online fitness community can be a wonderful thing. The boom its seen over the past couple of years has been monumental. There are now an abundance of blogs, tweets, Instagrams and Tumblrs to turn to when you’re in need of fitness motivation. But there’s been a weird vibe about it all over the past few months and it’s started to make me uncomfortable. And I say all of what I’m about to say knowing that I may have played a part in it.

I am all for a tough workout. I like to sweat, I like to be completely puffed out, I like to have to peel myself off the floor at the end of it. But does that make my workout superior to someone else’s? No it does not.

What I’ve noticed about the language that’s being used by fitness ‘professionals’ (that term has to be used very loosely these days) and enthusiasts alike is that it’s become all about ‘all or nothing’. While I understand that it’s important to have goals in fitness, I think it’s equally acceptable (and important) to be able to workout just ’cause you enjoy it. But now it’s all about pushing yourself further, harder, faster, better. Sweat more, hurt more, DO more, do it now, do it often and do it more than other people. And make sure you document every last sweat dripping minute of it so your followers can know, you’re hardcore.

These attitudes are especially prominent around the Christmas/New Year. I’ve seen fitness pros mocking inactive people, fat shaming, dismissing people’s preferred method of exercise – how does this help the cause in any way?

I’m genuine in my love of fitness and wanting to encourage women to workout, but God help me if I ever shame or humiliate anyone into doing it.

There’s a smugness among a lot of online fitness folk. As if being in the gym every day, running every day, lifting every day somehow makes them a better person at the end of it all. If you’re not keeping up with them, well then you’re just less than. You’re not serious. You’re not about that life. Oh you only work out three times a week? And you like to just enjoy it? Screw you – you’re not trying hard enough.

It’s actually a kind of bullying – the kind that many who came to exercise later in life were put off by for years, hence why they never got involved. Many in the online fitness community have become the smug high school jock, picking on the weedy kids.

A woman I follow on Instagram who I find to be very inspirational, posting a video of her doing deadlifts a few days ago and the comments turned into full blown arguments between PTs, correcting her form and poo-pooing other PTs because they may have the occasional party pic on their Instagram feed, which obviously means they’re not serious about their fitness life.

Jesus.

First of all – pretty sure she wasn’t asking for anyone’s critique (she has a trainer and coach for that) and second of all – take an entire stadium of seats with your wannabe-personal trainer ass.

It’s become all about one upping each other. Who runs further or faster or has a better six pack or is the most flexible yogi. Sheesh – let’s just all take a breath. If you’re in competition with anyone but yourself, you’re doing it wrong. And I venture to say, if you’re just posting these workout pics for the approval of others or to one-up or humiliate people, then yeah, you’re a little off the mark there too.

I’ve seen a swarm of things floating around in the online fitness community about January newbies at the gym. Some of these people are personal trainers (way to drum up business!). Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps the reason a lot of people quit the gym is down to the rank attitude of gym goers? Would it kill you to be supportive and encouraging of the new people who’ve taken a giant leap and committed to being fitter and healthier in the New Year? I mean, if you’re ‘about that life’, surely, you’d want to share your passion for fitness with the newbies and make sure they don’t quit.

And most importantly, lest we forget, none of us emerged from the womb running six minute miles and squatting 300lbs, so let’s all just dial the rhetoric down a little.

I am guilty of posting my runs on Instagram and sharing my journey into weights on there (hello gym mirror bicep flexing selfies – yes, guilty as charged), but over recent weeks, I have done so less and less as I’ve slowly become more disillusioned with the online fitness community. I’m not saying I’ll stop posting those kinds of pics – I enjoy sharing my journey – but I guess I’m just saying I’m reevaluating my own motivation for doing so.

The online fitness movement can really be a fantastic thing. When it’s done right, it’s supportive, encouraging and inspiring. Let’s not make it catty and competitive. Let’s not humiliate and shame people. Everyone’s fitness journey is different. We’re all working towards individual goals. What works for some people, won’t for others.

If you’re making the choice to put yourself out there, you have to ensure you do so responsibly. Check the ego at the door and embrace what ‘community’ really means.

Comments
54 Responses to “Motivational Bullying”
  1. Caitlin says:

    I love this so much. I wrote something similar on my blog yesterday, and I think that a lot of other people are seeing the same things we are and feeling the same way about it. I really love being active and doing things to care for my body, but I hate a lot of the attitudes I’ve come across in the online fitness community.

    Also I totally LOLed at “take an entire stadium of seats.”

    • Spikes says:

      Hey Caitlin, yeah agreed. I workout ’cause I really enjoy it and I find some of the attitudes of late to be really odd and kind of troubling. But I’m glad that sites like yours help us all get a little perspective. Checked out your post today by the way – great read as always.

      Glad you got a chuckle at that line ;-)

  2. jen says:

    This really resonates with me in a big way, this time last year I was starting my marathon training, now I am having to use a walking stick to get around.

    My fitness was very important to me, as was training, but I went too far and didn’t listen to my body. Injured myself quite badly in several ways.

    The online fitness community always made me feel bad, I am a slow runner, no matter how much I train and by pushing I injure myself, which knocks me back some more. I am not skinny, I never have been aside from when I had an eating disorder. Any time I try to focus on my food to much I get all angsty and obsessive about food. So looking great through fitness has always felt deeply uncomfortable for me.

    Now, as go back I to the pool, as the only exercise I can do, after month’s layoff and eating comfort food (yes I know, not the best combination) I am overweight and can’t swim as far or as fast. I have to not judge myself against my previous form.

    So, now I stay away from the fitness community – I have unfollowed all fitness blogs and tweets – even yours, although I forgot to remove you from my facebook, which is how I found this and I am grateful I did.

    I can’t run at all now, while I wait for the NHS to figure out what is wrong with my knee, cycling is far too painful to do any, but I did walk 5.5 miles today, with a walking stick and that made me feel great. Not as high as running did, but an all over work out – those poles can work your upper body too.

    The all out focus of the fitness community doesn’t take into account disability, starting points or health generally and I find it very exclusive, as is the language used. I also believe it is promoting a muscular body as the only alternative to a skinny one…..

    Sorry for the long waffle!

    • Jen how I get you. I’m still trying to recover fully from a back injury, and as i said further down the comment line, I’ve had so many opinions telling me what I should/should not be doing (thats with regards coaches) and I stay away from fitness communities in general because mostly they make me feel like utter crap, but Spikes & Heels does work for me, because I can relate to it, and because the moto of this site makes a point on the rest days, because we need them, because we want them, and because what the heck, we enjoy them too.

      The fitness community hardly ever mentions injuries, disabilities, the diversity in human physiology, and it’s dangerous, wrong, and for people like me and you so off-putting.

      I hope you can find what’s wring with your knee. Myself, after almost 4 years since my injury, and having seen many doctors, I barely have a answer on what happened, but I have come across fantastic people and slowly but surely I have discovered what kind of activities work for me. Mostly, I’ve learnt to listen to my body, and that is something not everyone can do, but those of us with injuries/disabilities become great at linking our mind and our body, and that is power, I assure you.

      Sorry for the rant, and for butting into your comment, but I really felt every word you said, and just wanted to send you a massive hug.

      • Jen says:

        Hi Jessie.

        I have been waiting for them to tell me what is wrong with my knee so I can fix it, but I might have to come to terms with the fact they can’t. If that is the case then so be it. Luckily it doesn’t seem to affect my swimming and I love that

        What I hate is the uncertainty do I sell all my expensive bike and running kit or do I hold out.????

        I am working at linking my body to my mind!

        Jen

    • Spikes says:

      Ahh Jen, I just want to give you a big hug and I want to apologise if I ever made you feel negatively about your own journey. That was never my intention but I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting recently on the kind of language I use and the message I put out there, so will definitely be more responsible with that in future. And I also hear you on disability never being reflected in fitness blogs – I will look to broaden the perspective on this site in regards to that as that is a voice that most definitely counts.

      Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment and I wish you nothing but love and luck in your continuing fitness journey.

      All the best.

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Jen. Just wanted to congratulate you for looking after yourself, and way to go with your 5.5miles! You are just right to go to your own edge. Day by day that may change and that’s okay. I’ve have health struggles of my own, but workout to feel good (and blog sporadically about it). Even if I’m not up to running marathons, I think there is still great motivation to be got from good sources like this one. I’m with you honey.
        Excellent piece, Spikes.

      • Jen says:

        You never made me feel bad with your postings, it was just the jealousy factor that made me stop reading yours, especially around the etape!

        We have a friend in common, simon freeman btw….

        if you want someone to write about coming to terms with long term injury and the change it makes to your fitness and mental headspace I would be more than happy to, I blogged about fitness quite a lot before this injury hit, on my now defunct blog.

        Thank you for such an open and positive comment back

        Jen

  3. nanna says:

    Hi Bangs
    As always a thought provoking piece.
    I have had a couple of thoughts around the issue.

    1. I have been stressed out that people could run/train all the time – forgot that its a business for some. Hence the ‘professionals’ as you know I have job and family. Its a different training regime and it does not make sense for me and others to feel you have to keep up with the same level of ambition.
    I must say there are time when I have had the urge to yell ‘get a real job’ – to people being really training religious.
    Some adore the preaching – yes but get real. not everyone can work on their body 24/7 for a job… know your audience, right.

    2. That said – For us unprofessionals we as a community have grown from kiddies to teens – and yes sometimes forgetting that we too did not get motivated by the hyper training people but by those who gave a little push.

    3. People are so rude sometimes. Behave!

    4. I come from Denmark – here you are not allowed to be proud. I am a loud woman. and damn proud of my accomplishments in running. People comment – and unfollow mentally or real. Until they suddenly say – Maybe i can do this too ;) I finally got my oldest friend to commit to a 10k run and it made me think that while I move along with my new crowd of miles eating miles increasers – to not forget that constructive motivation that got me out in the first place.

    big love – keep pushing and keep sharing. You are a different league!

  4. Great post. So true.

    I think whenever a group of any sort starts to notice each other there is always petty squabbling and rivalry that develops. As if people need to assert their dominance. Ridiculous.

    And please never stop posting your journey, I always find it inspiring.

  5. Steph says:

    I have noticed this shift too and I definitely find it off putting as someone who only started running last year and is extremely overweight. I am all up for the selfies to celebrate an achievement or to document something but I don’t always like the text that accompanies. I have also scaled back my readership of a couple of blogs who have started doing this

    I work out to improve myself. I post on my blog, put photos on instgram and I tweet because I am proud lf what I am doing. Go hard or go home? I will be going home then as I won’t be beholden to someone else’s version of “hard”.

    Great post – thought provoking!

    • Spikes says:

      ‘I won’t be beholden to someone else’s version of ‘hard” – you hit the nail on the head with that one Steph. Absolutely spot on. Everyone starts at different points and has different goals and it’s important for us all to remember that when relaying our journeys online. Here’s to enjoying your journey and doing it for you!

    • Lucy says:

      Steph – ‘I won’t be beholden to someone else’s version of “hard”.’ – Fantastic sentiment. In my running, I am well aware (from things like Strava) that my idea of a tempo run is some people’s easy run but what the hell – I run for ME not THEM! I know from your blog you do too, so ‘Kudos’ to you (to use some Strava terminology)

      Bangs – It is amazing to hear these sentiments coming from someone who is so fit and does so much exercise. Very well said – thank you

  6. Hell Yes – well said – totally with you on this. I love being part of the online fitness community, sharing my training with others and congratulating/spurring others on in theirs – it’s great to have other likeminded people to bore with running/fitness/injury chat as there’s only so much my OH and friends can take!

    But I do agree with you, there is a lot of ‘one-uppery’ about at the minute and lots of ‘fitspo’ tosh, and I think we just need to take care of each other and remember why we exercise in the first place – for fun!

    I’ve just had a January fitness industry rant on my blog but not about the community, just about the barrage of guilt-tripping diet fads and unrealistic ‘bikini-body’ images thrown our way after Christmas. Proper getting on my nerves.

    Oh, and don’t stop posting your gym selfies, I love them. And your ‘this 6am run was brought to you by…’ pics, they rock :D x

    • Spikes says:

      I think it’s definitely something about this time of year – gyms, fitspo, fad diets etc – we’re being whacked around the head from every angle with this nonsense!

      And I’m glad you enjoy my pics. Thanks! ;-)

  7. Lissy says:

    Agree with this. I really, really hope the sense of community is not lost, as it has definitely changed and become so vast very quickly.

    I have also noticed a lot recently that people are providing their negative opinions on things (whether invited to or not!) – e.g. this challenge/idea/brand/race/pair of trainers/form of exercise is stupid/dumb/not challenging enough/not serious enough/too pink etc.. Whatever happened to ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’, eh?

    • Spikes says:

      Agreed – I really don’t want the sense of community to be lost, so I hope everyone manages to get a grip and shoot love hearts and rainbows in the sky and chill out! And yeah, the over-negativity really does my nut in too. I notice it a lot from the hipster ‘we’re not allowed to like anything, therefore nothing is cool’ crowd.

  8. Sarah says:

    The people who write this ‘go hard or go home’ bullshit are just projecting their inner lack of self esteem. I feel sorry for them and continue to eat my pancakes.

  9. Yet again I realise that I’m lucky that I do not follow any people on any social media channel who are jerks and bully others.

    A good read as always.

  10. Cj says:

    Truly on point with this post. I am a Wellness Coach and I had noticed this too. Especially when New Years was approaching, and you had Coaches berating others online to the tune of, “If I was important you would have done it already.” Yet these same folk will stand on high in their pulpit and will spew forth “motivational” quotes all year round. I guess for some fitness professionals it’s easy to forget that the gym is not the be all end all (for everyone). Some people “hide” from life by burying themselves in their work, others do it at the gym. Just because you are doing physical activity, doesn’t make it “healthy” per se (just saying…)

    I think their is no shame in being proud of what you accomplish, and there is certainly no need to belittle others in the process.

    • Spikes says:

      YES! ‘Just because you’re doing physical activity, doesn’t make it ‘healthy’ per se’ – this this and also THIS. And yeah, I’m all for being proud of accomplishments and am a cheerleader for everyone doing their thing, but this thing where people can’t just be proud, they must try to humiliate or shame others in the process is really not what it’s about.

  11. Sam Sparrow says:

    As I said on Twitter, I completely agree. I have a place in the marathon (London) and I am a brand new runner. I’m not new to fitness, but despite being pretty damn fit in late 2010, two jobs changes which have involved extensive travelling and a bout of anxiety left my body ravaged.

    I started running, started to enjoy it. But an old injury essentially has ripped my running apart so I’m having fortnightly physio treatments to get me back up to do this marathon. I’m determined but scared. I’ve had a lot of love from the running community (including commenters here *waves*), but I’ve had a lot of scoffing at my 40 minute 5ks where I am hobbling round, only running 3 times a week, being told my form is poor (I know hence the physio!), that yoga is stupid, that I’ll never finish the marathon. Brilliant.

    The fact that I’m spending an arm and a leg on treatment and doing painful rehab just so I can do the marathon feels like achievement – many others would have jacked it in whilst they had the chance. And determination for your goals, not matter what they are (whether fun, fitness, medals or just feeling the air on your skin) should be what is celebrated.

    /rant over. And thanks :-)

    • Spikes says:

      Firstly, HUGS. Secondly, listen not to that egits. I reached a point a while back where I just couldn’t cope with the amount of conflicting advice I was getting so I figured, you know what? I’m gonna train the way I wanna train. The most important thing is that it challenges you and you enjoy it – as long as those two factors are in there, you’re rocking. I think you’re doing brilliantly. I know how hard it is at the start and how intimidating it can all be. If you ever want a run buddy for some training runs, let me know.

  12. Laura says:

    Well said, and I posted something similar on my own blog yesterday. I hate fitspo in general, but especially the type which puts others down. I just can’t with that bullshit. Nobody has an obligation to exercise hard, to exercise at all or even to be healthy. Live & let live.

    • Spikes says:

      Definitely agree, well, to an extent. I think people do have an obligation to try to be healthy for societal reasons really, just because of the amount of strain put on the health system by diseases which can be prevented through proper diet and exercise. I know it’s hard for people to see it that way though and for people to get the right help and advice to do that. But I am very live and let live. I don’t wanna push my lifestyle on other people.

  13. Emma says:

    Belittling others for their efforts is, I believe, a diversion from their own lack of self-worth and other issues. Surely, if someone is trying to improve their health, diet, fitness or general well-being then this should be met with encouragement and support, if that is what the person wants, not uninvited criticism and snide comments. I personally have only ever found the people I follow, and those who follow me, to be nothing but supportive and encouraging in my endeavours and I’m thankful for that. Anyone doing otherwise will quickly be unfollowed.

    Thanks for the post and keep on posting pics & tweets of your journey :)

    A great post and hits the nail on the head – remember the true meaning of community.

  14. kathleen @kat_rocket says:

    As a physio I see the consequences of over training and the ‘go hard or go home’ attitude. I’ve learnt that to a lot of runners that rest is a dirty word. I’ve had someone basically throw me a dirty look and walk out when I’ve told them to rest their body in order to heal. If you’re missing rest days then quite frankly you’re daft. It’s during the rest days that the body forms the adaptations to training. Other wise your body’s tissues will be like something on a stress/strain curve, coping for so long until something snaps. I would like people to listen to their own bodies. Your own body doesn’t lie. Forums and training plans are great but I think they can stress people out and make them feel like a failure if they miss something. I tell my patients to remember that they know what they are capable of but I also try and educate them in what their body is trying to tell them and getting in tune with it again.

    I love the running community I follow on Twitter and the people I follow love a bit of banter and joking. I seem to have missed this other side of it, which in a way I’m happy to have done. There is a murky side to all this with view to eating disorders. I would hate to have an eating disorder/be recovering from one, and log in to all this ‘fitspo’ nonsense. It’s irresponsible and damaging.

    The fitness/running community should be encouraging and supporting each other, not fighting over the most miles or biggest weights (phenotype/genotype, we’re not all built for the same thing). Do what’s right for you and then you will be able to avoid the physio types like me.

    • kathleen @kat_rocket says:

      Plus, I kind of fell out of love with the CrossFit place I was going to because of the constant uploading of abs and work outs. I don’t need that in my face all the time sorry.

    • Spikes says:

      PREACH! Ahh the value of rest. Heck, I haven’t worked out all week and I’m fine with it! Everyone learns that lesson at some point in their fitness journey when they try to push it too much I think – then have the nerve to resent the physio for telling them some home truths!

  15. Excellent post. What I’ve always loved about your writing, photos etc is that it’s always been incredibly clear that you’re only in competition with yourself. To make yourself all that you can be. And your voice is really important for those of us looking for great role models, so I am adding my name to everyone else’s when they say please don’t stop!

    Generally speaking, I’ve only found encouragement when I’ve posted about my attempts at fitness but then I’m always the first to admit when I’ve found something really tough, or wept cycling up hill (Yorkshire is HILLY!) and I would hope not to be bullied because of that. I hate that, whether it’s fitness, beauty, (I’ve recently seen a lot of competitiveness in beauty blogging) whatever, there are always those who would seek to bitch and compete instead of being supportive. I truly believe that people are stronger in collaboration, not opposition. Let’s just hope that the sense of community reasserts itself over this kind of behaviour.

    • Spikes says:

      Ahh thank you so much. And I agree – collaboration, not opposition, that’s the way.

      Also, those hills in Yorkshire are a right bastard! ;-)

  16. I saw you mention this topic last week on Twitter, and discussed it the next morning with my other half, who is training for his 1st marathon and follows several websites on running and fitness and he was telling me how he had recently had to de-activate notifications from a certain running community, as it was simply too much. A lot of “come on, get your lazy ass moving” every single mother effing day, never a ·today it was hard” or never any info on what to do on rest days, rest days simply dont exist.

    It’s too much, it’s unreal for most people, and for a lot of us, it becomes patronising, and it somehow devalues what we do. Like Sam above, I’ve been told by coaches that what I do, what works for me, what I enjoy, makes me feel good and happy – which if you are curious, is basically me ditching gyms in favour of pilates and my own reformer machine – is not right.

    It’s great to be a motivational person, it’s fantastic if you can inspire people – personally Bangs, I love your running pics on instagram, they are not, BY ANY MEANS, arrogant, or annoying, or vomit inducing in any way. You motivate me a lot, because I follow you and i know that you are a coach potato like the rest of us, that you appreciate things like doing nothing for a whole day, or eating a massive cake, i don’t know, the way you talk, they way you share, I like. And i can barely run 2 miles every 3 days, and i have a back injury, and i still don’t enjoy running ;)

    • Spikes says:

      Aww bless you. Thank you so much. I’m so glad that my message comes across the right way for you. Funny how your OH mentioned having to unfollow certain sites, as others have in the comments above too – it seems there’s a fair few of them getting the message wrong and pissing people off.

      As far as your own journey, I can think of no other way to do it than the way you enjoy and makes you happy. Surely that makes the most sense! Keep on keepin’ on. You’re doing great. x

  17. Great post! I have been having this conversation with a lot of people over the past couple of days after I posted on Facebook for people not to get angry at all the new people at the gym. The response was that people were angry because all the classes were full. I think gyms should put on more classes (if they can) to support the demand. We should just be happy that people want to be fit and healthy. Plus, there is always the great outdoors to workout in.

    • Spikes says:

      Absolutely. I can understand that complaint about the classes. However, it’d be nice if there was a bit more of a sense of community and support about it, perhaps where regular gym goers saw the value in sacrificing their class spot to give a newbie a chance to try it out – after all, a regular gym goer is more familiar with other gym equipment so can probably do something else. And as you say, there’s always the great outdoors. I don’t know if I’m being a bit idealistic about my gym ideas but I have a very ‘why can’t we just all get along?’ approach!

  18. G says:

    Thanks for posting this! As for me, I don’t “belong” in traditional fitness internet spaces, and I wish there was more of a community that I could feel like I was part of (though there are some folks who take a more body-accepting view of fitness, and we have our corner of the internets). But, like you, I’m competing with myself, and heck yes I want to document my journey and toot my horn when I PR– free of nasty competition disguised as “motivation”.

  19. Jo Fe-line says:

    Thank you or posting this! I was the kid at school that hated PE and dropped out at 16 because I wasn’t fast, I wasn’t amazing, I was a little bit over weight and found the changing room a horrible place of shame and self loathing as the popular girls made fun of us not so sporty lot. Since then I have learnt to love fitness and exercise and have found places I like to exercise and people I like to exercise with, but there are times that I still find gyms intimidating and feel 15 again. Thank you for raising awareness of this type of bullying because it will forever make many of us feel intimidated and ultimately the important thing is to get moving, enjoy it and be healthy!! We should be supporting each other and helping each other to give exercise a go. I personally love things like Park Run as they are really inclusive and supportive!!

  20. Jen says:

    I have got rid of so many fitness blogs/twitter/instergram/facebook accounts recently for this exact reason. So much inaccurate information, bitchy comments, unrealistic expectations and don’t even get me started on the ‘eat clean’ cult, if I see one more picture of someone eating Tilapia for breakfast I’ll scream!

    Don’t stop with your run pictures please! Your fitness life is real and people can relate to it!

  21. Maggy says:

    This blog is so refreshing thank you Bangs! I work everyday on a project that uses Sport to inspire positive change in young adults and I’ve been battling with this ridiculous gym and sport bullying attitude for years. I fear it has also got worse recently. So many of the teenagers we work with are petrified of how they look playing sport or going to the gym and it takes a lot of hard work to install confidence in these young ‘uns to keep them going! If we get them to do just 5 mins without stopping, we all get a bit overexcited!

    Keep up the positive message :)

  22. Chloe says:

    I love that Spikes and Heels has me flexing my brain as well as my quads, and I’ve read this post several times since seeing it go live on Friday and I think I’m still divided on this.

    I absolutely agree that shaming anyone whether it be by chipping in with inappropriate critique or giving it some attitude with people who are new to a gym, sport or hobby is just wrong. Would you walk up to a small child and sit there marvelling at how they aren’t as eloquent or articulate in their speech, that they cannot annunciate or manage many multiple syllables? No, you would not, because we all have to learn new skills and build them up at a pace. Just like fitness. And oh wait, yes it is a bit intimidating when you start something new like a job, or a fitness regime, or a sport or a hobby with other people when they all appear to be much more confident or much more proficient than you.

    That said, I use the phrase ‘Go hard or go home’ a lot. Not directed at anyone except me. I need to remind myself to push myself a bit harder. When I train or cycle, I like to know I did it the best I could or gained as much as I could from when I take it on for training purposes. In a lead on from your post re: comparison to others, I also think we have to question- sharing your thoughts on your own work out is not the same as criticising someone else’s and I agree that sharing responsibly should mean not making others feel bad about themselves, however where do we draw the line between being responsible and having to censor what is shared?

    I love seeing your journey- and those bicep selfies, don’t stop, please! I enjoy sharing my own fitness achievements or enjoyment because I like having a document and I enjoy that there are like minded people I’ve been able to communicate with from that sharing, I hope that even one more person might hop on a bike to work or realise that exercise and fitness can be a part of your routine if that’s what suits, but I’m not sure I should be apologising for encouraging myself, working hard and getting some enjoyment from that.

  23. Christina_i says:

    I can’t remember where I found this – in fact maybe I found it through your Twitter stream! – but: http://lapocketrocket.tumblr.com/post/65367801507/yes

  24. Gemma says:

    This doesnt relate to online fitness but I find the same problem with going to a gym and asking for help. Im a size 18 and joined the Gym in June having lost 4.5 stone in 18months through changing my eating habbits and starting to excersize more. I had worked out in private or had a friend who has an interest in fitness put me through my paces as I was not confident to attend a gym or class where I felt that people would be judging me. When I joined my fitness levels were on par with some of my slimmer less active friend but I found that they were always made to feel comfortable in the gym or the classes by the trainers and I tended to be overlooked due to my size. I find that females are the worst. I was made to feel very uncomfortable in one class being told when I entered that the class had been established for quite some time and she had to work to the higher end of class ability, I would have to keep up or leave. If I had not been as commited to keeping the weight off or as confident in my improved fitness I may well have just left. Now 7 months on after attending 4 to 5 times a weekI have gained peoples respect, but it shouldnt be this way the respect and support should come at the time the person decides to make the change, so many people fall by the way side or give up because of the negativity if others

  25. Stacey Hicken says:

    Great blog post. I too support people getting into fitness in January and have done each year, so what if people quit, some people won’t, some people will have just started their healthy lifestyle.

    Also I do sports I LOVE, I do sometimes feel I want to do more, get ripped, get on the heavy weights, which I am getting into gradually, but actually I love my gym classes (Body Combat, Pump, Attack), I now love playing footy every week, and running is a great challenge because I hate it ha, and i have achieved 3 10k races and 3 5k races so far, with new PBs all the time! I see people do half and full maras and that another goal of mine, and I admire those who do it!

    I try to take everyone’s achievements as inspiration, but judging people’s efforts is so wrong. I see newbies in the gym working their asses off, yes they may not be going as hard as others, but I know exactly how i felt when i first started out and it was effing hard!

    Do whatever you feel works for you, even walking is a brilliant exercise! Like this blog says: The only person you should be in competition with is yourself! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, I walk into my classes and beast it from start to finish, then put me on a football pitch and its a whole new experience, I am the newbie! It’s ace and challenging!

    Shared blog on my Facebook, hope it helps people :-)

  26. Jo says:

    Such a great post. I think it can be a difficult – but extremely important – line to judge. I find it very inspiring to see what others can achieve and frequently use that to push myself when I realise I’m just going through the motions and want more for myself. But I think that everyone has a different line – a different thing that will inspire them or push them away or push them too far. No-one else can judge that, but as human beings we have to be sensitive to it when we don’t know who the audience could be. And anyone who styles themselves as a professional should definitely know better! I don’t think anyone should stop trying to inspire at every level, but some ways are more welcoming than others!

  27. Sarah says:

    I’m involved in a few different online communities and I must say there is a degree of what you discuss here in all of them – and yes, it’s a recent thing. I also have a fashion blog and I just can’t bring myself to post there anymore thanks to this situation.

  28. Leanne says:

    YES! Thank you for this. I go to the gym 4-5 days a week and rarely post a gym photo. I’m pretty proud of my triceps coming in but people are going to see them when they see me. I don’t feel like I want to be the authority. That “go all in” attitude is what I KNOW keeps people from working out. I hear it from people and my friends all the time. It is really disheartening. You can’t really do the “regular guy” attitude because people need to see results to feel motivated and you can’t be arrogant because then you will turn people off. I think creating community instead of culture is the key.

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  1. […] is amazing! ? Are these four habits making you unhappy? ? I couldn’t agree more with this post on Spikes and Heels about bullying in the online fitness community. I think we should all be supporting each other no matter where we are in our journey. Your only […]



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