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Fitness column: Fitness snobs aren’t really helping

Steve Wells
Steve Wells
Staff Photo |

This one gets a disclaimer at the beginning. This article is a sad attempt to prove a point about the fitness industry that I am not proud of. Please do not take offense if you are part of the fitness industry or you are really into working out. I am merely demonstrating factors that keep people from working out and that hopefully make us all chuckle. These same factors do, however, motivate some people, and I don’t want them to be offended. Please let me know if I poke fun at anyone more than myself in these articles.

You know the type. They can’t work out without posting it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media that is making the world such a better place. Their squat form is perfect (but I bet that I could critique it). All they want to talk about is how to train for the next “pretend to be an extreme athlete” race. They need to torture themselves physically to prove to something to us, their parents and themselves. They are the type to post a half-naked “selfie” to show you how awesome they are because they can starve and hit up the tanning bed. They’d rather die than eat carbohydrates. Their workouts have cool names, even though they are just workouts that some fitness snob in California dreams up. The creators of the movie “Dodgeball” would be proud.

Fitness seems to be the latest status trend for all the popular kids. It’s become the cool new way to show everyone that you “have it figured out.” Everything in fitness must be flashy and trendy and have a cool marketing name. Now that it’s in bed with social media marketing, what do we expect? For example, I am aware of over 15 types of yoga. Fifteen! That’s a lot of Sanskrit.

Everyone wants to be fit. Don’t get me wrong, I think that this is a fantastic thing to aspire to. The way to get there is unfortunately disconcerting for 99 percent of our population, partly because of the trendy gym glam that is attached to it. The ridiculous, fitness snob marketing machine is not helping with the status of our health, which is why fitness was created. Considering the onslaught of factors that are designed to keep us unfit, people have a lot of pride when they finally get there. And they should, because it takes a lot of work. Just don’t tweet us about it all day!

So to all of you normal 99 percenters who just want to be healthy, don’t become discouraged by the fitness snobs. Don’t let the fitness industry turn you off so badly that you bag working out altogether. Realize perhaps that you may have a hobby that you may be really excited about, too. Please don’t get down on yourself because even though you are active, healthy and happy, you’re not running the “warrior-dating-service-mudder” this weekend. Get over the fitness snobs and do your thing, even if you don’t have the right outfit or minimalist shoes — whatever they are.

People ask me all the time, “So what do you do, just workout with people all day?” I love this question. I focus on getting my clients over injuries and healthy. Personally, I work out in the gym 2 days per week for about 30 minutes and lead a very active lifestyle. I stretch and foam roll almost every day. I try to get a massage once per month. I occasionally jump into any sport I want and do OK at it. Can I do everything my clients can? Nope. Do they care? Probably not. My priorities have changed as I’ve gotten older. The point is that the best trainers are not necessarily the most fit nor the best athletes — which, by the way, are two distinctly different things. I want to inspire average people to stay healthy by teaching them how to exercise, not with my pathetic achievements — ‘cause it’s not about me, it’s about you. This works for me since I will not go into a tanning bed, post a “selfie” or restrict my carb intake.

Flavor Flav once said, “Don’t believe the hype,” and I agree. Don’t lose focus amidst all the insanity. Stick to the fundamentals that conveniently go out the window with most modern fitness trends.

I might be put into the Fitness Snob category but I prefer my “coffee and music snob” status. It’s way more enjoyable and helps me stay popular with the other 99 percent of “normal” people.

The Second Disclaimer: Steve Wells is not a fitness snob, or so he thinks. We are pretty sure that he used to be one, and at some point, he evolved into a normal human. He is aware of how pathetic the fitness industry can be and is trying really hard to change it.

Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.


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