Your Goals Are Not My Goals

Posted: July 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So I actually meant to include this in my post All or Nothing Fitness and forgot, but that’s ok because this is a related, but slightly different issue. This post is about my frustration in fitness spaces with assumptions that everyone is aiming for the same goal- mainly to be “ripped”.

One of the things I loved when I first found fitocracy was that the focus seemed to be simply on fitness. It wasn’t set to track food intake and count calories, your weight is entered for the purpose of calculating points for exercises (because a 300lb person doing a pull up is pulling more weight than a 100lb person)- not in order to give achievements and stickers for losing weight.

Since then though I notice more and more about weight loss there. I have a feeling it’s always been there, and I just didn’t see it at first. But more and more I see threads about calories and going over calorie goals, or celebrating resisting eating cookies, more and more I notice people focused on weight loss over specific fitness goals.

Of course I know this isn’t new to the space, because when I was relatively new to the website I made a post about how annoyed I get when people act like I know nothing about fitness because I don’t look like the stereotypical image of someone who works out. And while I am far from an expert, I’ve been around long enough (even before joining that site) to know a lot of the basics.

The specific example I used was hanging out drinking with some friends when two friends start arguing over proper squat form and then each demonstrated. I agreed friend X had proper form. I was with my, at the time, girlfriend who looks at me and says “how would you know?” I think I responded by just looking at her with shock and said “really?” And she realized it was a kind of rude thing to say and apologized. But it’s not uncommon- how can you know anything about fitness if you don’t have visible abs? That’s certainly the mentality many have.

Some people took issue with this, saying there is no singular proper form for squats and so obviously I was wrong and they were right to assume I knew nothing. The funny thing about that argument is that it should apply equally to the two guys who were having the argument to begin with then. If no form is wrong, then they were both just as wrong as me by asserting that their style was correct. So that reasoning doesn’t really justify people in the room accepting that these two guys know what they are talking about but I wouldn’t.

On person though responded that since most people workout to lose weight, it’s fair to assume that if I’m fat I’m still too new to know anything. Because if most people workout to lose weight, then the only reason to workout is to lose weight, and the only valid measure of fitness knowledge is weight.

But that isn’t why I workout.

And the that everyone is trying to lose weight and look ripped with low body fat and visible abs has me feeling less and less comfortable in those places because those aren’t my goals. I joined for motivation and tracking for weight lifting and exercise separate from weight loss and calorie counting. Which isn’t to say there is anything wrong with others having goals of losing weight, looking ripped, having very low body fat, and/or having visible abs- it’s the assumptions that these are the only acceptable goals for someone who is working out that I take issue with and make me feel less comfortable in that space.

The truth is that if I lost some weight I’d be happy, though it’s not my primary goal. My primary goal is to get stronger and lift heavier weights. I know other fat acceptance bloggers who talk about how they wouldn’t want to lose weight, and I’m actually a bit envious of how happy they are with their weight. I work on cultivating a positive body image but I still wish I was thinner. But even if I was to lose weight to what I would view as ideal for me, that ideal in my mind does not have visible abs or a very ripped physique. I have absolutely no desire to look like that. Great for those who do want to look like that, good luck in achieving it, but that is not my goal, that isn’t something I want.

Most weight lifters would be annoyed at being told that working out only counts when you can run a marathon. Not everyone is training for that. Similarly many runners aren’t going to care about training to squat 400+lbs. Just like different people who engage in types of fitness have different performance goals, we can all have different goals related to body size as well. Fitness isn’t only being able to run a marathon, it’s also not only being able to squat 400+lbs, and it’s not any one singular body size or shape either.

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Comments
  1. Jay Unwin says:

    This is a great post, really enjoyed reading it. Very articulate, and sums up perfectly what I’ve tried to put across to some personal trainers I know! I have been asked in the past why if I’m a health and fitness coach I don’t have ‘massive guns’, to which I seem to always have to respond “because I personally don’t place any value on having ‘massive guns'” 😀 if someone wants sleeve-splitting arms, great! I can certainly help them achieve it, but do I need them myself? Nah.

    Anyway, I digress, this is a cracking post. Keep up the great work, and don’t let other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice 🙂

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