Why don’t we talk about body positivity in fitness?
So you’re ready to take the test to become a certified personal trainer or group fitness instructor. You’ve probably taken a course, or studied the book, and learned about topics from anatomy and exercise physiology to nutrition and weight management. What you probably didn’t learn, however, was how to address poor or disordered body image in your clients. How do you act when someone shames their body while sharing their goals? What do say when your client confesses they want a body like yours and they’ll do whatever it takes to get there? How do we, as professionals that others look to for guidance, encourage our clients to adopt a holistic mindset that will lead to a healthy body and mind?
Almost everyone at some point in their lives has struggled with body image. In our current looks-obsessed society, it’s almost impossible not to. From air-brushed models in advertisements, movies, and tv, to our photoshopped peers on social media, we hardly see pictures of real bodies, of us, celebrated and accepted in plain view. And it has a bigger effect than you may think.
Several studies have shown that 80 – 90 % of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance, and more than 10 million suffer from eating disorders. 80 – 90%. And it’s not just women – as portrayals of the ideal body for men and women get more unrealistic every day, body dissatisfaction for men is on the rise. In the last 25 years, studies claim that male body image dissatisfaction has tripled from 15% of the population to 45%.