One of the most FRUSTRATING things as a coach is Instagram. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Whether it’s Fitspiration, Bikini Competitors posting pictures, or Fitness Models posting half naked pictures of themselves, I find that these images encourage more disordered eating, than they do “inspire” a healthy lifestyle, positive self image, or positive impact on the planet.
I’m sure they attain this type of figure because they just do more sit ups than you…right?
Here are a few tidbits you may not be aware of that run rampant in the Bodybuilding/Bikini Competitor/Fitness Community.
1. Competing can be bad for your mental health – The incessant nit-picking of body parts, placing your self worth on your competition “placing” and the comparison of your body to other girls bodies half naked on stage- remind me what exactly is the point?? Not to mention the actual cost of competing itself.
2. Getting your body to ultra-low body fat levels can damage your thyroid and adrenal hormones, creating metabolic damage.
3. The Starve-Binge cycle – Even the best bodies in the world, don’t look like that year-round. Competitors spend months putting their bodies through harsh dieting (ultra-low calories, hours of cardio, ultra-low carbs, heavy stimulant fat burners) then, once the competition’s over, they often binge, some times for days, some times for weeks, because they are so exhausted and their body is so starved. This binge leads to a HUGE weight gain, which they often find they can not lose due to damage done to their hormones.
One competitor was quoted as being on a “very low calorie diet (900-1100 per day) for over 8 months straight with zero carbs nearly the whole time and an hour of cardio a day, 7 days per week”.
Dianna Dahlgren has been very public about her experience, “she had a full blown eating disorder. She was binging. In her previous prep, she had been restricted to 600 calories a day and 3 hours of cardio per day.”
But I don’t want to compete, I just want Abs like “such and such” on Pinterest.
Please be aware that many fitness models are competitors and use the same preparatory methods for their photo shoot as they do for competition. They also frequently schedule photo shoots around competitions since their body is already ultra lean.
Some fitness competitors, like Autumn Calabrese, even market their own “Weight Loss Programs” (21 Day Fix). Let’s open our eyes people. Do you really think the program she is selling is the one she uses to get her body into this type of condition? (Maybe? Have you seen the portion control cups? I had to go get a snack; got hungry just looking at them)
Besides, a safe amount of weight to lose in 3 weeks is 3lbs. Do you really need to spend $160 to lose 3 lbs?
Now, this certainly does not mean ALL fitness athletes suffer from disordered eating, damaged metabolisms, and stimulant abuse, but it certainly runs rampant– and all for the “perfect body”.
So the questions remain- How does this develop and relay a positive self image? How does this help bring about good health? How does this help the planet?
The answer, it does not.
One blogger put it perfectly,
“…So many of us compare ourselves and our bodies to other people’s on a daily basis and become too hard on ourselves. By comparing ourselves to others, we become anxious and become unappreciative of what we have been given.”
I do not give a flying f*uck about walking around with a 6-pack 365 days a year. I am also not concerned with making others “wow” or “in awe” of my physique.
Destroying your health by going on any crash diet eating 600 calories a day, doing 2 hours of cardio and taking heavy stimulant fat burners won’t change anyone’s health for the better, it will not bring about change to our destroyed environment, and it certainly won’t ease the suffering of millions of people and animals.
Focus on caring for one another, care for the environment, care for the plant and care for the animals. Lead by positive example and be a voice for the voiceless.
Read about other’s experience with Competing. It is WORTH the read, even if you have never considered competing yourself, these effects can be true from any crash diet.
Why I’ll Never Compete Again
Why I Hung Up My Competition Heels
Former Competitor Interview
Metabolic Damage and Why I’m Pissed Off
Can Bikini Contests Ruin Your Body