be your best self without playing the fitspo shame game


If you’re a fitness blogger, you know all about it. Social media accounts full of aspirational yoga poses, artful açaí bowls, bikini competition podiums, runfies, swimfies, high-speed burpee videos, Transformation Tuesdays…

You get the idea. Everyone in the SocialMediaVerse takes those photos and shares them across the internet. I confess that I love the motivation, support and accountability, and sharing with like-minded people who are also interested in similar things: fitness, food, family and travel. Oh, and pugs.

And it can be truly great. I, for one, love seeing what other fitness bloggers and influencers have up their moisture-wicking sleeves. I love victories, results and progress. I empathize with setbacks and sympathize with failures. I drool over gorgeous food pictures and pretty flat lays.

I adore seeing others succeed.

The thing is, there is no one way to to do that. And what is success anyway? My goals are mine and mine alone, just as I assume the same to be true for everyone else out there. And the way I go about achieving those goals is also part of my own journey, which should never be confused with anyone else’s.

Which is why it drives me up a wall to see the “Fitspo Shame.”

I’m decent at ignoring it, as I do most unpleasant things on social media. I’m capable of swiping and scrolling but it grates on me that others feel the need to defend their actions, and even more grating are those who bash others methods as a means to promote their own.

I love running. Not every day and not in every moment, but it’s the activity that works for me. Running fits into my schedule, is something I can do with friends and family, affords me the opportunity to travel and keeps me moving. I’ve met some incredible people, made some amazing memories and become stronger all because of running.

I’ve seen so many posts and received comments about why running isn’t great. How the sport does more harm than good. That it’s not effective for weight loss or that runners are missing out on X, Y or Z. If runners would just try crossfit/tabata/HIIT/enter-other-workout-of-choice here they would see more and better “results” and be better off.

Which is great except I’m not really trying to lose weight and the results I’m seeing are in line with my goals. All sports carry with them a risk of injury, so the scales are a balanced, and I’m doing quite well, thank you for asking. If running isn’t for you, that’s cool. Go do what makes you happy and gives you the results you are personally seeking. Don’t step on anyone else’s moment.

The same holds true for diet. I love ice cream. Who am I kidding? I love all food. And it’s not always “healthy” food. At the end of the day, sometimes only a hot fudge sundae or plate of  bacon cheese fries (with ranch) will do. Queue the comments about the devil-nature of sugar and carbs or the evils of dairy or why meat should never pass one’s lips or why meat should be the only thing to pass one’s lips.

I’m not particularly interested in that commentary. Eat what works for you. Be crazy and eat what you want. If keto has been successful for you, that’s incredible. Whole 30 is your jam? Fabulous. Going plant-based has changed your life? Rock on with your veg-self. Everybody is different and every BODY is different, too. We all respond differently to a variety of programs.

Also annoying are comments on those days when I don’t feel like splurging and would rather have a salad, or something less decadent. I assure you, I’m not “being good” or “being boring.” Sometimes, I just crave veggies more than anything else on the menu. No biggie. I’m not making any kind of statement other than “this is what I feel like eating right now.” Promise.

The whole thing is exhausting. More importantly, it’s unproductive.

There is no moral high road to a certain form of workout or preference of eating. What works for one person is absolutely not the right answer for someone else. To imply otherwise is nothing short of disingenuous. One size absolutely does not fit all in the fitness universe.

Unless something you are doing is absolutely not working for you, don’t let anyone tell you your way is wrong. Don’t let anyone shame you into  a methodology that isn’t right for you. If you are seeking suggestions and help because things aren’t going quite the way you want, then by all means, reach out for other ways and try something new, but don’t be afraid to stick with what makes you happy.

At the end of the day, happiness is the thing that matters. It’s what will keep you on track and motivated. Surround yourself with the right people who support you and hold you accountable, be confident in your decisions and go get those goals!

We are joining in with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness, so check out that link up and share your week in fitness!

Have you ever felt the pressure of Fitspo Shame?

What fitness choice makes you happiest?

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14 Responses to be your best self without playing the fitspo shame game

  1. So much this! I’m so tired of non experts (and even experts) spouting from their soap box that their way is the best way. I like chips and I probably don’t work out enough. (Ok definitely do not…) I eat meat. My body craves it sometimes. I give it what it wants to feel good. I love cheese. Cheese loves me back. I love following your social media especially because you’re real, you eat real food, you do real workouts. You’re never preachy, you’re just out there living your best life, and supporting others along the way. Keep doing you, because you’re doing great!

    • runswithpugs says:

      <3 <3 <3 I do try to keep it as real as I can. Obviously, I probably avoid posting about that day where I held down the couch, watched movies, played Candy Crush and ate Cheez Its for hours, but you know. Who doesn't have those days?

      I love a big salad, but some days, I need to hoover up a big burger. I don't even love meat all that much, but my body tells me otherwise. What can you do? The only thing I can claim expert status on is ice cream. Maybe donuts. Maybe.

      I try to be supportive because there are so many different ways to achieve fitness and I know how hard it can be when you don't have those high fives in your corner. I just want everyone to enjoy being active, no matter what form that takes!

  2. Anything with social media requires perspective. I love watching and sharing on instagram, but I try to be real on there too. Social media isn’t always real life, it’s just the highlight reel and that is what everyone watching on any social platform needs to remember. It’s great to share, but the shame feeling comes in when we let ourselves believe that what is posted there is their real life.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oh, absolutely. I think most of us are only interested in sharing our very best moments (and those who aren’t are usually guilty of the overshare). I worry about those who allow themselves to be convinced that they are doing the wrong things, and who fall prey to that pressure.

  3. Nicely said Jenn. What we see on social media is usually a highlight reel of the best days. I believe it’s important to know what you want and who you are and not let other people’s comments get to you. I just aim to keep it real and just be me. Having said that, it is also ok to not follow people whose comments and lifestyles don’t align with yours
    Deborah Brooks recently posted…For The Love of Running-Valentine’s Day Gifts for RunnersMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I either don’t follow or ignore those who don’t jive with my particular brand of existence. Not everyone is able to ignore so easily, though, and those are the people I worry about a little more. I just don’t love the hustle to try to convince people they should be doing something other than what they are doing.

  4. Fitspo shame is the absolute worst. Shaming others to make yourself feel better is just not acceptable. We all need to work harder to lift each other up!

  5. A great post, Jenn! I must be lucky, so far I haven’t really dealt with many negative comments. That may be because I’m not as much into social media as I really ought to be to promote my blog. 🙂 Self promotion really doesn’t come easily to me.

    There is absolutely no one way to eat, no one way to work out, and nothing everything will work for every body. Like most things, social media can be used for great good and great ill. Still, it’s connected me with so many people that I would never, ever have met otherwise and I’m grateful for that!

    • runswithpugs says:

      Most people generally don’t comment to me directly, but I see it in posts to others. It just rubs me the wrong way. You can absolutely do your own thing without trying to drag others down or make them question themselves.

  6. Well said!! I have been on the receiving end of some snarkisms, and it’s more annoying than hurtful. I just try to remember it’s like the glory days of high school…the ones being overly critical of others are usually the bullies who have been hurt themselves and have their own insecurities they’re battling. I’d rather pay it forward and encourage someone instead 😉
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…The Treadmill – Five Recent Reality RevelationsMy Profile

  7. Esther says:

    Yes times a thousand! I get so tired of ‘healthy’ bloggers or social media accounts looking down on others just because they are human! Truth be told, many of ‘healthy’ bloggers come across disordered and sucked into diet culture in their attempt to come across as ‘perfect’ in their postings.
    I appreciate your authenticity and your love for ice cream 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this!!!
    Esther recently posted…Introducing Six New Business-Oriented ThemesMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I don’t know that I would swing all the way to disordered, although there are definitely those out there (which breaks my heart, coming from a disordered background myself), but some definitely do need to not be quite so intense about others choices.

      Ice cream FOREVER.

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