Emphasis on Body Image Has No Place in Fitness

Here we go again! The fiction of the “perfect” body, the eating disorders, the exercising disorders (yes, there is such a thing), and the body shaming that accompanies these things used to be relegated to the fashion and entertainment industries.  But now with celebrity trainers, weight-loss reality shows and toned muscles being photoshopped onto fashion models’ bodies in ads, the lines are being blurred between fitness and fashion-tainment.  This is a disturbing trend.

This week, online fitness expert Cassey Ho’s video response to cowardly body shamers was trending worldwide.  The short story is, after posting an innocent post-workout selfie, Ms Ho was treated to a string of vicious attacks on her appearance.  Here is the powerful, moving video Cassey Ho posted in response:

I can’t praise Ms Ho enough for responding so courageously and in exactly the right way.  But, my fear is the genie is already out of the bottle.  Because of the blurring lines between fitness and fashion-tainment and the ubiquitous nature of social media, there will continue to be people – whether out of ignorance, envy or just plain hate – who attempt to infiltrate and bastardize the fitness industry.

Fitness is about health and well-being.  It’s eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet, it’s exercising in all its forms most days a week, it’s having a balanced work-family-social life, it’s exercising the mind and soul as well as the body.  No one can look at someone’s body and determine his or her level of fitness.

But, I can look at someone’s behavior and determine whether or not it is a behavior that promotes fitness.  Under-eating is as unfit as over-eating.  Extreme exercising is as unfit as being sedentary.  That people would believe otherwise is frightening.  Even more frightening is people believing that Victoria’s Secret models actually have six-pack abs.

Cassey Ho has given us visual proof of how easy it is to photoshop a body to look however you want it to look.  In the process she is reminding us what fitness is and what it is not.  Educating the ignorant is one of the toughest jobs there is.  But this girl clearly doesn’t shy away from a tough job or a worthy fight.

I’m with you, Cassey!


  1. Interesting angle on a topic that I’ve read a lot on – in full agreement with you. I’ve been arguing for ages that the media’s projections of a ‘normal’ size is the truly damaging issue:


  2. Thanks for your comment & the link. Excellent article – you’re right on point. My research on this tells me there are more and more likeminded people who are researching, speaking & writing on this important topic. I hope the trend continues. Thanks for reading!

  3. […] posts under the “Healthy Body Image” category.  But my most recent post on this, Emphasis on Body Image Has No Place in Fitness, probably illustrates my point best.  If you prefer a more scientific approach to this topic, you […]

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