A friend asked me why a gym she'd visited was plastered in pictures of fitness models, all of whom had the 'ripped' look. I shrugged and hesitantly suggested that it was considered by some to be motivating. She replied that it made her feel unwelcome, as if they expected their clientele, if they didn't already conform to the low body fat/high muscle mass formula, to at least want to look that way. Like most people, she doesn't aspire to resemble a fitness model, she just wants to lose a few pounds and take care of her health.
The idea that we should wish to look like the model pictured here is plainly absurd. For people to achieve this look, they need extremely low body fat, a certain amount of make up and lighting, and youth. The amount and intensity of exercise needed to achieve such a look incurs a high risk of injury. It messes with your hormones - particularly for women - who risk the female athlete triad of eating disorders, amenorrhea (missed periods), and osteoporosis. To achieve a feminine 'curvy' look alongside the low body fat, fitness models are encouraged to have breast implant surgery and require intense facial skin treatments to compensate for the effect of their diets. We are being fooled into believing that this is what fit is supposed to look like, when the reality is that sustaining this look can seriously damage your health!
Furthermore, even fitness models DO NOT LOOK LIKE THIS. Over and above their long-term regime, they prepare for each photo shoot for around a week with extreme dieting, dehydration, and ramped up exercises. On the big day, there is the final spray tan, make up artist, lighting and of course it is followed by the post-shoot image manipulation.
Do fitness models have you heading to the treadmill or is the only thing you're running for the exit?
Fitness and Pilates instructor with a passion for science.