There’s a lot of buzz around at the moment about ‘strong being the new skinny’. Type ‘fitspo’ into Tumblr and you’ll find a myriad of images of toned, tanned beauties with dumbells in their hands or contorted into seriously advanced yoga positions.
I’m all for getting younger girls to work out, especially with all the obesity warnings we’ve been hearing recently. Exercise is so important for my physical and mental wellbeing and if images like this promote that for other people, then brilliant. The danger is that the women in these images are often at least at an intermediate level, if not professional athletes, or have been working out consistently for years before their bodies look that good. On top of this, they’re often photoshopped.
It takes years of commitment and perseverance with clean eating, regular cardio and lifting to sculpt a body like many which are shown on Instagram and Tumblr. Trying to adopt a routine like this overnight and expecting to see changes within a month is naive and potentially dangerous. While it’s healthier than starving yourself or crash dieting, exercise is addictive and it can create similar habits and obsessions.
Everyone’s motivation is different and personal. It has to come from within and be about a desire to adapt your lifestyle for the better. Comparing yourself to others is natural, but rarely healthy. While ‘strong is the new skinny’ does promote a healthier body image, I hope it doesn’t mean replacing one unrealistic and unhealthy goal for another. True strength is about mindfulness, self-respect and progress; if ripped abs come from this then you’ll love them even more.