Another WTF Fitness Industry Moment
It’s not often I post twice in a week, but I just read something on my Facebook that was both sad and alarming at the same time. In a nutshell, one of my acquaintances who is training for a fitness competition posted that after her leg workout, she got the shakes and threw up – for the second time.
This wasn’t the most alarming thing. Throwing up after a workout is just stupid, unhealthy and totally unnecessary, and anyone should know that. It should also be a sign to you that something might be seriously wrong, and posting it on Facebook in order to seem hardcore is bad enough. Let’s not also mention that you already did it once, and then chose to do it again. What was even more alarming were the comments, likes and things that people were saying to actually ENCOURAGE this behaviour and make the original poster feel GOOD ABOUT IT.
“Very proud of you.” ?????
“That’s awesome! I want to do that workout!” ?????
Are you fucking kidding me?
Let’s step back and take a reality check here for a second. If this person pukes, it’s really cool? This is a good thing? Vomiting is basically your body telling you that it is so overloaded that it needs to vent anything else it is doing in order to make you lie down. It is telling you that it can’t take care of a simple process like digestion because you have totally destroyed it. This is an incredible stress on your digestive and nervous system. You can also die from it, or it might result in a trip to the hospital. People vomit when they are having concussions, brain aneurysms and have ingested toxins. However, you can also vomit from intense pain or emotional stress. Any way you cut it, this is not something to be celebrated.
At least the coach posted that the volume was obviously too much and that it was counter productive, but then proceeded to “like” the girl replying that she felt like a champion. After vomiting. Good job, champ. Maybe if you do it enough you’ll get a shiny medal or a piece of paper that says you’re a “pro”.
The reason I’m writing this is because this is one of the serious problems with the fitness world as a whole. Competitors use diets, drugs and whatever method they can to get into the condition they want to be in without any regard to what it is likely to do to them down the road. Being a fitness competitor or bodybuilder isn’t healthy in the slightest, but for some reason society pictures ripped abs and big biceps and aspires to be that way, not realizing that 90% of these people are sick, feel terrible and have massive health issues before long most of the time. And I’m not even touching the mental issue side of the industry. Want to find people with eating disorders and massive body image problems (both men and women)? Look no further than your local gym or Instagram fitness profile. This weekend is the Arnold Classic, where guys (and many girls) who have done amounts of steroids you can’t even imagine are celebrated with acclaim by millions of fans. Supplement companies all vying to be the next big money maker packing booths with people wanting the promise that if you just take this, you can look like (or date) the girl handing it to you! I promise! Just don’t read the ingredients because it might amaze you what people ingest these days in the hopes of looking “fit and healthy”. Looking it is about all that’s going on, unfortunately because if you looked inside these people, there isn’t an ounce of health there.
You can look great, perform at a high level and have a good quality of life without resorting to these things, but once you’re part of the club then look out. If you don’t push yourself that hard then you aren’t hardcore enough to be a champion! Blood, sweat and iron! Whatever it takes! Sacrifice your health and well being and you can have your picture taken by a photographer (that you paid) and photoshopped and then market yourself as a fitness expert because you look good with an airbrush.
And people believe it. And they wonder why when they turn 40 they can’t move their joints, have long term health issues or have to be on piles of medication. But hey, look at those pictures from 10 years ago, right? Remember that show I did? Remember when I used to be able to make myself puke? That was awesome.
The ironic thing is that under the circumstances of this particular person’s life she should be one of the last people to ever push herself that hard, knowing what could possibly happen. But for some reason beating herself into the ground with weights and intensity to the point of collapse and vomiting makes her feel good about herself.
And maybe that’s what we should really be talking about in the first place.
I agree David, it’s a disturbing aspect of our society that should not be condoned or praised. Challenging yourself physically and mentally is important but doing things simply for the fact of being “HARDCORE” is just a bad idea. For the most firece competitors feeling nausea will happen at times, but that does not mean that it is good on any level. As health professionals and coaches, athletes and healthy citizens it is important to train smart. This is an illustration anything but that. I’m glad you spoke out about this, and raised some awareness that we should be promoting critical thinking. Remember fit and healthy are not always synonymous.