When Fitness Becomes About Fitness Again. Clearing Up the Blurred Lines.
If I had to guess, I’d say this may be one of my more unpopular posts, but I ask that you read it to the end. This subject has weighed heavily on my heart and mind over the past few months. I welcome any criticism that may come my way regarding this post. I know that my intention for writing this piece is to bring VALUE and never to shame or wound someone that Jesus sees enough value in to die for, and that’s all of us.
This post is addressing how the lines between pornography and fitness modeling/Instagramming have become blurred over time with the increasing popularity of social media in our modern culture. Those of you who have scrolled through popular Instagram fitness accounts know that there are photos of both men and women that lean more towards pornography than they do fitness.
I am partly conflicted about writing this article because in some people’s eyes I am the problem that I am writing about. I post client photos and transformation pictures that have women in bikinis and men in essentially a thong.
For those who don’t know, I coach physique athletes and prep them for competitions where they are judged in bikinis and posing trunks on their muscularity, symmetry, conditioning, stage presence, suit and skin tone.
I think the difference between a progress photo and provocative photo is the heart motive and purpose behind it. I believe there is a big difference between a “before and after” picture taken both in the same pose and stance and a woman naked covering her breasts/biting her lip or a guy pulling down his underwear beneath a waterfall (both offering 10% off whatever supplement company is using them at the moment hah.)
My heart’s motive in progress pictures is to always inspire people to what is possible and to encourage them to pursue fitness. I’ve never posted a picture to objectify a woman or a man.
With that being said, the thing that makes me sad about the current state of the industry is that fitness pictures have strayed so far from being fitness related and instead have become a measuring stick for one’s value. So now we have people progressively posting more provocative pictures to keep up with the culture but that only feeds a culture that robs people of their identity, value and worth. And whatever you feed grows.
We have become a culture where being a sex symbol is idolized and using sexuality to sell is standard. So let’s take a step back and evaluate this; being a sex symbol is the absolute last thing you want to be. Do you want your purpose and function on this earth solely to be drawing people in sexually? Guys and gals, you have so much more value than that and if you can’t see that truth for yourself then take it from me; being a sex symbol means that you are disposable, because you serve one purpose, to entice. And the thing about lust is that it is never satisfied. So whether it is a man lusting after a woman, a woman lusting after a man, or same sex lust, it’s never ever satisfied. And what can’t be satisfied can’t be managed, and what can’t be managed can’t being isolated. So the very nature of provocative photos means that you are serving one function for one moment in time. You serve for a click or a like or a sale. You don’t want to hang your identity on what you can do for someone’s sexual appetite. Instead, live a life that is geared towards empowering others, a life that is geared towards changing the world for the better.
The late Horace Mann said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” To be frank – being objectified for how you look is no victory for humanity.
If you are reading this article I promise you that you have such amazing value and purpose. You were created to impact the course of history. You were created for relationship, intimacy and unity.
To the women reading this, I apologize that we men have done such a poor job of uplifting you and pursing your mind and your heart. I’m sorry that the less that you wear has translated into receiving more attention. I’m sorry that we have objectified you by making you a solution to our desires instead of making you the object of our affection. You are truly so amazing. And your efforts in the gym are not unnoticed. Your body is beautiful, but your worth isn’t based on how many people think so.
One of man’s strongest needs is affirmation. Affirmation isn’t the problem, it’s when we seek affirmation from the wrong places or allow affirmation to potter our belief system that it becomes a problem. The nature of the Gospel is wholeness and love. If you know that you are trying to fill a void with the affirmation of man, I encourage you to sit in stillness and simply ask Jesus to show you how much He loves you and how He views you as His son or His daughter. Even if you aren’t a Christian or you think this is a ridiculous idea, I implore you to try it because Jesus is the great pursuer and He isn’t a silent God. Be sensitive to the whispers of the heart and press in when you feel a peace that isn’t like anything you have felt before. IF you feel inclined to read the Bible – start with the gospel of John. There truly is a reality greater than the one we are accustomed to – just seek and you will find.
So in 2017, can we get back to fitness being about fitness? Can we use our minds and our character to draw people in? And when we do draw them in can we lift them up by educating them and encouraging them by instilling honor and value?
Let’s collectively make the fitness industry less self absorbed and narcissistic, because let’s be honest, having a legacy of character and class is far better than being someone’s object of pleasure. We have a higher purpose than pleasing a stranger’s sexual appetite.
I love you all.
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