In the words of the esteemed Ron Burgandy Part 1 “escalated quickly”…
Fortunately no one was stabbed in the heart as a result – well, maybe there was some metaphorical stabbing going on (I did get a couple of messages from friends asking me if I thought they were a wanker – the answer was yes. When you’re mates you can say that to them, with love)
Clearly Part 1 struck a chord with many Fitness Professionals and enthusiasts alike and whilst it was a great rant, like any rant it will only be effective if there are some actionable solutions to help remedy the situation.
So lets cut to the chase and discuss what I think are some possible solutions to the ‘wankerficiation’ of the fitness industry (note: this is not an extensive list, and I am certainly open to other suggestions – please feel free to make a suggestion below the blog)
I know this seems pretty obvious, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people forget to use their ‘unfollow’ or ‘block’ function on their social media. If the offender is constantly posting pictures that annoy you or even make you roll your eyes then the chances are they need to be banished!
The same if you feel yourself getting jealous of them for their physique – unfollow!
On the flip side of Solution 1 be super picky with who you do choose to follow. Does that person add value to your life and do they give out quality content? I firmly believe that one of the big reasons for our Zombie like nation is that we have numbed and distracted ourselves with junk input – whether this be junk food or poor quality food choices, poor relationships, junk TV, trashy magazines and media sources and junk training (yes it is possible to engage in poor quality exercise under the pretense that it is ‘good’ – eg over-training and the wrong type of training).
According to this article published in the Public Relations Institute of Australia published in 2012 http://snip.ly/p6be, 13.4 Million Australians are on line an average of 18.8 hours per day (and that was 3 years ago – imagine what it is now?!)!! With one in every 5 minutes spent checking social media!!
That is a lot of exposure to external influences! So be choosy with whom you let into your precious brain space.
I cannot enforce this enough. Obviously our online worlds have merged with our real worlds, and thus influence each other to a large degree. Potential employers have now taken to scrolling through peoples social media accounts to get a feel for someone. We’ve heard the horror stories of people being fired for making stupid comments about their employer, and of course there are real safety threats – stealing of data, photos, bullying, stalking and harassment.
Whatever you post on-line – whether it is a status update or a photo, you are putting it out there for the world to see. So, I would suggest that you critically analyse your choice of posting material.
Take the Selfies for example; there are many different types (as referred to in Part 1), and not all selfie behaviour is created equal.
There is a spectrum of posting behavior that ranges from harmless fun at one end to full blown ‘Selfitis’ at the other. ‘Selfitis’ is the described name given by the American Psychiatric Association in 2014 to the mental disorder and is “defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy”. Sound good? Actually this was a hoax that did the rounds lasts year and was the brain child of a parody website, however with the sheer volume of reaction and media coverage it was obvious that everyone has a strong opinion on the ‘selfie’.
Posting Selfies are fine – they are not the devil, nor does posting them automatically classify you as being a wanker, narcissist, or low in self-esteem; just ensure that you are doing so for the right reason. As I mentioned in Part 1 there is a difference between posting selfies because it is a celebration of who you are as a person, and posting because your self-worth hinges on it (even though you might not have any idea that’s the case, sadly).
The psychology behind Selfie posting is complex and not something that I can sum up in the space of this blog, but the first place to start is by acknowledging your personal intent. Carefully consider the following list of questions; obviously only you can answer these questions for yourself, and in doing so be as truthful as you possibly can:
– Do you post selfies more than 3 times a day?
– Do you take multiple shots, edit them and then apply a filter before posting (taking the time to get it ‘show’ worthy)?
– Do you critique your photo and body?
– Do you check to see how many likes and comments you have received (and then keep re-checking them)?
– Do you think you rely on this external validation to feel good about yourself?
– Do you take photos of certain body parts and draw attention to it?
– Do you pose sultry or in a hyper sexualized way? Eg pouty lips, chest puffed, tummy in and ass sticking out?
– Do you critique others bodies?
– Do you compare yourself to others on line?
Think about it…
If you have said yes to any of these it may be worth taking a closer look at your internal motivators, perhaps dig a little deeper into your psyche and explore your personal level of self-esteem. A client of mine, who happens to be a psychologist, asked me this question not long ago ‘if I was no longer able to move, exercise, or use my body the way I do now who would I be?’.
The point behind this self-development question was to get me thinking about my identity; as a Personal Trainer and ftness professional my entire world has been tied up in movement and ‘looking a particular way’, BUT if that was removed I would be fine because my indentiy and my sense of self-worth is NOT tied up in my body or the way I look.
Take the time to ponder that question…
(Of course if someone is a narcissist they are going to keep posting whatever they want because they are an A Grade Wanker, which also means they won’t be worried about an article such as this!)
Before you start following or working with someone do your homework. Spruce up your BS detectors, and investigate them thoroughly. What sort of experience and qualifications do they have? Have they got a reputable brand? What do others have to say about them? I know it can be difficult to get past all the fancy schmick marketing and social media hype but just kick back and watch from a far for a while; the persons authenticity (or lack thereof) will shine through eventually.
And for the record, the number of ‘likes’ they have on social media is NOT necessarily an indication of their knowledge or wisdom – Freelee The Banana girl anyone? (Massive irresponsible banana wanker!)
There is more to exercise than being flogged for a full 60 minutes that renders you close to (or even actually) vomiting and incapable of moving. Just as being yelled at like an army soldier isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
There are no prizes in this world for showing how hard core and/or great you are.
Think about what is actually important in your life and go create, do and live it.
To sum this whole thing up I’ll quote my man Mike Campbell “basically just be a normal human”. Be someone who interacts with other normal humans in a respectful and compassionate way. Avoid the wankerish type behaviours and focus on being the best possible human you can possibly be.
I hope that with time and a shift in attitude will see the de-wankerfication of the industry, a subsequent increase in participation and a new perception of what we are actually about.
With love, and stern seriousness,
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