We should be called the anti-gym, to be fair it has a ring to it and truth be told as the director of Phit Lifestyle I feel it’s a status that sets us away from the rest. The ‘health and fitness’ industry is full of fitness myths on how we should become fitter and healthier. These fitness myths are often never challenged and taken as gospel or circulated by fitness ‘experts’ to perpetuate their agenda. This can be dangerous, and these myths often come from misinterpretation of information or drawing false conclusions from real life observations and sadly their biggest clientele is likely to be female. There is a notion that women should lift weights to tone and lift relatively low weight in higher rep successions. To imply that women should firstly only seek to look ‘petite’ is firstly wrong and should be changed but it comes from a false conclusion that men who lift weight become bulkier than those who do not and therefore if women lift weight, they too shall become “bulky”. So called fitness experts fail to debunk this myth with relevant information on calories, differentiation on hormonal distributions between men and women that would give women the confidence and encouragement to lift heavy in the gym for all kinds of body positive reasons. There is never anything wrong with a strong powerful woman.
A lot of fitness myths also come from personal gain; or complicated jargon to lead the consumer down a path of illusion. In some respects, some of their assertations may be true but they manipulate that truth with the intent to profit. For example, a person or organisation may state that women shouldn’t consume protein because their physiology is different to men. In some respects, their statement may be true, but they have manipulated this information with intent to profit bringing out a women’s only protein product.
The fitness industry is guilty of creating a persona of what women should and shouldn’t be, these myths curbed societal norms and force women into small boxes of expectations which then squash their sense of identity. We at Phit Lifestyle spend time with our female clients truly finding what their personal goals are in relation to their body and their health and what the terms they use truly mean to them. ‘We strive to support women and build them up to be the strongest, fittest healthiest versions of themselves and whatever that means to them, we don’t conform to the fitness worlds agenda of boxing women in’.
The fitness agenda and myths sadly gain traction in the first place by tapping into emotion. Photo shopped images, health ideologies, catchy summer body headlines, ‘best body’ magazine competitions; size 6 models in your favourite brands all contribute to a body type ideology unatonable and truthly undesirable by so many are constantly pushed in front of us to make us believe this is a societal gender norm. For many this now leads to a cycle of continually trying and failing to reach societal goals. If we cut the myths and provided factual information this cycle could be stoppped.
But why does it matter? Whilst on the surface these myths may look like that don’t matter their effects can be insidious. Even something as simple as stating women should eat 1200 calories can create an uncanny ideal around eating and putting foods into categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ which in turn can create a host of bad eating habits and even disorders. These effects can also span into poor relationships with self-image, exercise and even loved ones. These fitness myths can create longer term barriers to exercise; if a woman believes to achieve her ideal body shape, she must grind relentlessly for 2 hours a day on the stepper and that carbohydrates are the cause of body fat there will inevitably be a time in which she fails because those two things are unsustainable and likely don’t conform within her current reality.
When she inevitably fails, she’ll go through the same process of self-blame, self-loathing, binging; frustration and stress which then has a knock-on effect into other areas of her world.
“False information is harmless no matter its origin or it’s reasoning”.
It’s time to pick the shit up.
Myths in the health and fitness industry aren’t just casual carefree playground chatter, they cause genuine harm and it’s time it stopped. Good personal training isn’t just getting you results it’s educating you in the how and the why. It is an investment into your health. Knowledge is power and that’s why at Phit Lifestyle we desperately want to put the power back in your hands. "A women's health is her capital and her body hears everything her mind says" - International women's day 2022.