The Rise of The Fitness Competitor

In the Health and Fitness world Fitness Competitions are the triathlons of 2010. Why train for a marathon when you could train for the UKBFF North West Championships? Why be SusieFit when you could be SusieFit WBFF PRO!

Let’s get one thing straight, this post isn’t an objective personal account of my own experience of competing. Absolutely not. This is pure judgement. This is based purely on what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard, and what I’ve learnt. This is biased, one-sided and completely my own opinion. I’ve never done a fitness competition. And I can swear on my mother’s grave that I will never be remotely tempted to do one.

Here are 5 reasons why I struggle to understand the ‘sport’.

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1. Appearance is everything

You can say that competing is about ‘building’ strength. You can bang on about discipline, about hard work, about pushing out of comfort zones. All of which are completely valid. But standing up there on stage you are being judged on your looks alone. You are being judged on your outer appearance. You are being ranked on what you look like. You are not being judged on how fast you can run, how high you can jump or how hard you can throw a ball. You are not being judged on your intellect, or your personality, you are being judged on the way you look half naked. Bikinis, fake tans, evening gowns and judges… Is there really any difference between a beauty pageant and a fitness competition? I think not. occupational health ServicesAnd, if you’re honestly in it for the ‘mental challenge’ or to see how far you can push yourself, why not try a half iron man? Or better still, an ultra marathon? How’s that for building character? I mean, Gym Shark might just be looking to sponsor the next 2017 Marathon de Sables competitor.

2. It’s all about you

‘Fasted cardio done back in later for glutes. So tired but the #grind must continue’. #Grind. #Grind. #Grind. #teamnodaysoff. 

Let’s get one thing straight: Competing is not ‘grinding’. Fasted cardio is not ‘grinding’. Eating low carbs is not ‘grind’. A single mum working three different jobs to make ends meet is grinding. Those serving in the military who go for months without seeing their loved ones are grinding. You lifting weights and eating plain oats & egg whites out of a tuppaware box is not ‘grind’. Your workouts. Your cardio. Your low carbs. Your tiredness.Your trophy. Let’s be honest? You’re serving yourself.

I imagine the life of a competitor is lonely at times. Nothing kills romance like whipping out your scales to frantically plug in the numbers for that dessert you shared on date night. Or having to turn down your family lunch, your best friend’s birthday or any social activity that might interfere with your goal.

And if you are in a relationship, let’s be honest, there’s not a chance in hell you’re having sex. After you’ve done your morning cardio, prepped all your meals for the week, hit the gym for numero dos, checked in with your coach, practiced posing, you’re not exactly going to be down for getting frisky in the bedroom. Nah. Don’t you dare f*cking touch me.

3. It’s not healthy 

It’s not a ‘healthy’ sport.

You can dress it up however you want, you can preach that it’s not long-term, that you personally never had to do cardio and that your amazing coach had you eating 300g of carbs right up until competition day, but competing is an extreme. To reach ‘Stage Ready’ it is necessary to be extreme. It is necessary to do things that are not recommended if you are interested in health.

Physical and mental health are at stake when competing. From hormones, to metabolic damage, to pre & post show body image and acceptance. Competing has nothing to do with health.

P.S. If you haven’t had a period in 3 years you’re not healthy.

4. It attracts followers 

Jesus had 12 followers. Hitler had millions. There’s no doubt about it, competing brings in the numbers. And we’re not idiots, we know that’s why so many people choose to compete. For the likes, for the sponsorship deals and for the social media status. But it can also attract the wrong crowd and a very dangerous crowd: The young, the naive, and the desperate. There are people watching, listening and following every move. Your ‘peak week’ becomes their diet of the month. As much as you think your youtube videos are helping others find #balance just know you’re also adding fuel to fire.

PSA: If you’re going to write a 300 word caption about ‘self-love’ and ‘there’s more to life than abs’ do it on a selfie where your body fat isn’t near single digits and your shredded mid-section isn’t incidentally on display.

5. It’s just another obsession

You can preach dedication over being just average. You can preach self-discipline over having a lack of focus. You can preach muscles and gains over slim limbs and thigh gaps. But at the end of the day, competing is just another obsession. A not-so-healthy obsession. An attempt to gain a sense of purpose. And a fitspo acceptable way to justify control over your life. Stay strong, stay sassy, do what makes you happy (even if it is competing) Ban x

P.S. This blog is a source of parody, satire, and humour and is for entertainment only. All opinions reflect those of the author (me, Ban Hass 5’2 and very insignificant) some of which you may not agree with. The girls pictured above may or may not share similar opinions.

The Rise of The Fitness Competitor
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