I do not work out to make you feel bad. I do not work out to make you feel guilty for eating that extra piece of pie or skipping out on the gym today, or for that matter, being someone who doesn’t workout in the first place. There is nothing wrong with that by the way! It is offensive to me that you would flatter yourself with the self-important idea that I make intentional decisions about my daily routine to make you feel bad about yourself.
Make no mistakes, I am a selfish person. I workout for me and for me alone. I workout to be healthy. Both mentally and physically. I workout to expel stress from my body. I workout to feel good about myself. And good about myself has nothing to do with size, but strength. I workout to feel powerful, to feel in control, to feel confident, to be good at something, to feel like I have accomplished something in a world filled with a thousand looming loose ends. I workout for me, never you.
The world I currently inhabit happens to be one where working out and living a healthy lifestyle has become a competition and tool to assert superiority. Social media allows for the instant sharing of whatever healthy (this is also a relative term considering what is good for your body and what trend people currently claim is healthy often don’t match up) thing you just did. This immediacy allows people to follow your every choice and thus compare them to their own. But comparison isn’t what it’s about, at least for me.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t take part in this world. I do share my fitness triumphs on social media, but I do not consider triumphs to be things like weight loss — although working out and eating healthfully has not led to me losing weight nor was that the intent. I consider triumphs to be running races with my dad, reaching new distances, trying new classes, and discovering new recipes. I share these things never to brag, but because they are a part of my life. Just like my friends, and family, and school, and writing, they play a role in who I am and what I do. The nature of social media is to open up your world to those around you and in sharing the fitness aspect of my life, I am just sharing another piece of myself.
I talk about fitness a lot. Because I love it. I love how it makes me feel. I love how it connects me to certain friends and to my dad. I talk about fitness because fitness is a hobby of mine just like everybody talks about their hobbies and the things that occupy their time, whether that be reading, or guitar, or pottery. I have never once valued fitness as a hobby that is superior or more important than anything else. I have never shamed someone for not liking to work out. It is certainly an acquired taste, and one that I didn’t really realize I had a taste for until I left high school and started missing team sports tremendously.
To every person who has ever seen a post on social media or seen someone after a workout and thought that the publicity of the workout was done in part or in full to make others feel bad or guilty, please reassess your blind assumptions. There are many social media accounts that parade themselves as motivational, but actually are just there to guilt people into working out or starving themselves (where “thinspiration” comes from), but people who are passionate about fitness as a tool for happiness, as a hobby, as a challenging and enjoyable way to pass the time, are not thinking of you and it is offensive to think any different.
I am selfish, I workout for me, and when charging up that last little bit of hill, the only thing on my mind is the view when I get there.