11 Original Fitspo Pictures by The Active Times

Our attempt at positive fitspiration and why it was so difficult

If you spend any time at all on social media you’ve likely seen some form of “fitspiration,” those motivational quotes that often come off as harsh instructions splashed over images of men and women with insanely unattainable muscular bodies.

You might have also read one of the many articles questioning the effect of this supposedly healthy campaign. We’ve seen it repeatedly compared to thinspiration, a similar set of images which served as reminders to stay skinny for many people with eating disorders. Some question whether fitspo is any better.

The similarities were discussed by one of the best blogs that regularly addresses both fitness and eating disorder topics, Charlotte Andersen's The Great Fitness Experiment.

Looking at rock-hard body after rock-hard body it occurred to me that fitspo may be thinspo in a sports bra. After all, the problem with thinspo is that the images represent a mostly unattainable ideal that requires great sacrifices (both physical and mental) to achieve and I daresay that most of those “perfect” female bodies, albeit muscular instead of bony, are equally as problematic.

Andersen ended her post asking readers if they personally found it inspiring or frustrating. There was no consensus—in fact, people were of such different opinions that arguments ensued.

One reader mentioned that she’d like to see fitness shown in a variety of shapes and sizes, which is a great point that was addressed by fitness blogger Zoë Ley, but not at any length by many others.

We thought we might try to put together some health and body positive fitspo. How hard could it be, right?

Pretty hard, actually. It was nearly impossible to find professional fitness pictures taken of people without six packs and bulging pecks—which speaks to the issue mentioned above. Despite our good intentions, some of the quotes we selected can be seen as either a positive message or a demanding quip. After our attempt at fitspo, it seems there is simply no way to create something centered on fitness and body image that makes everyone feel the same way.

With that in mind take a look at our well-intentioned fitspo and tell us what you think.


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