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The Beach Body Back Lash

Whilst Protein World may be enjoying a temporary surge in media attention following the protests against their “Are you Beach Body Ready?” campaign, we can’t help but think the entire debacle highlights just how much the health and fitness industry has really lost its way. Currently we have a national obesity crisis going on, you have a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer and 224 people die each day from heart disease, yet half the world is still discussing the blonde in the bikini?!

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The approach and imagery used by Protein World to sell their products are nothing new. We’re bombarded by such imagery on a daily basis, be it in magazines, across online media and on TV, so what’s all the fuss regarding this campaign? Maybe it’s the size of the ad, the location (commuting is crappy enough!), maybe it was one beach body ad too many that day?

Whatever the reason the ad caused a huge amount of controversy and the companies regrettable #getagrip response even more so.

Discussions are now focusing on the profits raked in by Protein World and whether their reputation will stand the test of time. Perhaps now that people have observed the company’s perhaps aggressive and negative response to the criticism they would rather entrust their health goals to a company that radiates more positive nutrition and health messages.

The Bigger Picture: Fitness Without Focus

11193265_826847744075556_5027611572927534552_nThe real shame about the situation from our perspective was not only the negative response from Protein Word but also the huge debate about fit shaming versus fat shaming that followed. Could the health and fitness industry lose the plot any further? This was closely followed by the ‘Nike mannequin debate’ and we can’t help but feel so much energy is being invested in the wrong places. There’s a nation becoming evermore confused by conflicting messages, wrapped up in powerful marketing campaigns for quick and costly fixes, not to mention a dangerous obssession with unrealistic, physical perfection. The fitness industry could take a lead here by sorting the fashionable fads from the sustainable principles that have stood the test of time. If you look back to the early days, the role of fitness professionals was to inspire and motivate people in a non-judgemental way – by simply walking the walk, albeit in psychedelic lycra and sweatbands, it was fun, accessible and shouted about a common goal to get everyone, all ages, shapes and sizes, fit and healthy. 

Social media has largely transformed the industry to a scene dominated by celebrity personal trainers, shakes, dvds, overpriced bootcamps and trendy diets. The shame of it all is there’s lots of money to be made these days and that attracts those more interested in making profits alongside those with a genuine passion for making a difference to people’s lives. Many real champions of the industry are too busy to even contribute to these keyboard wars, they’re out there working hard transforming peoples wellbeing by educating them about sensible, sustainable approaches to health and longevity. 

The real professionals for us are those still talking about the importance of daily movement, stress management and sleep, all of which cost NOTHING! They’re encouraging people to couple this with home cooked, local, nutritious food and have a serious lack of selfies in their life. 

The real objective of the health and fitness industry should be to empower people with knowledge that will instil them with the confidence to spot and ignore the gimmicks, take control of their own health and collectively drive a desire for long term health and happiness, not beach ready bodies.

What Do You Think?

The other thing that irks us about the beach body controversy is the way large corporations treat us every day folk like a bunch of lemmings that don’t know any better. We polled followers on our page about the subject and LOVED the responses, here are a couple of gems:

My body is certainly ready for the beach! In terms that it needs a rest and some sunshine! If I am expected to look like the model in order to do that and therefore crash ‘diet’ then I think they have missed the point!

and….

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For us a beach ready body involves feeling fit, healthy and fantastic but this isn’t something we just reserve for the beach, we want our Fitter Foodies to feel this way all year round and so implement lifestyle habits that support optimal health. So next time you see a poster with a half naked man or woman advertising this week’s latest product, either choose to be inspired or simply ignore it. The reality is they will not be going away anytime soon so it’s best to stay focused on yourself and keep doing what makes YOU happy. No poster can decide that for you and no shake will make it happen.

Join the debate on our Facebook page here