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The Downside Of Virtue Signaling In Fitness

Written by: Jonathan Gagne, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Jonathan Gagne

The health and fitness industry is very present online; I should know I am part of it. It also means that for people to stand out, they must be different. Although I believe that in most cases, people have a genuine intention of demonstrating a balanced lifestyle, some will go too far to prove they are better, that, for most of us, can be very problematic.


Young sport woman working out alone in fitness gym

I have always been active. I have been working out for half of my life now. I started like everyone else. I subscribed to a gym and went a couple of days a week. Then, I progressively fine-tuned my approach, paying attention to my protein intake, hydration, sleep, and more. I now have a lifestyle that allows me some room to fail. I eat pizza on Friday night and sleep just fine after that. My goal is to be as good as I can, as often as I can.


It is just me, how I do things. The internet is a very different place.


In today’s digital age, everyone is a brand. It means that each of us is competing for attention online, and to get it, you need prove yourself and your worth. In fitness, this often translate to portraying the cleanest, most discipline lifestyle. No cheat days, no rest days, and no place for weakness… So they say.


It is not rare that I will open a social media app and see a fitness influences flaunting their seemingly perfect lives: waking up at the crack of dawn, drinking the right amount of water, meditating, journaling, working out for 2 hours, having the most nutritious breakfast, and all of this, before anyone else is even up. Their mantra? “If you want to succeed, do not watch any TV, do not game, do not spend time with friends or family, sleep early and work three days in one.”


When you see the abs, the house, and the lifestyle on repeat every day, it will play with your head. I know it does for me. This promotes unrealistic standards and leaves us with a feeling of being inadequate.


I have felt the same pressure in the business world. It’s not much different in that area. I am working on my business every day to the best of my ability, yet I see business gurus telling me I need to work a full day before 9 a.m., then work more. After all that, skip life and work until midnight, it’s your only path to a successful business. Seeing that made me feel anxious. I felt like I would never succeed. I was comparing myself with people way ahead of me, with very different lives, and that gave me self-doubt.


Now, let’s say you are fired up for your new fitness goals, you wake up early, eat a good breakfast, and have a great workout. You get home, and you see a video of someone who tells you that he did all of this, but much better. You might feel discouraged, and that’s just day one of your process.


It has stopped too many people from even attempting to start their fitness journey. Being bombarded by content repeating that; “in order to succeed you need to be perfect at every level and quit absolutely everything you are doing”, is not helping anyone. I do not blame you from not wanting to start. How can you really make any changes if you can’t wake up at three in the morning to meditate, read a whole book, and workout?


As a fitness coach, I see the ones that struggle to create a healthy lifestyle. They are often the same who ask me what my routine is, what I eat in a day, what my workouts are, and if it’s too late for them to start. I try to let them know as much as possible that what I do is irrelevant; what matters is how we can work to improve their lifestyle. We need to work each week to improve on the previous one. Focusing on personal growth and progression is paramount. We are looking for a formula that works for you. That challenges you, but that satisfies you. You will find that building something that allows consistency in your effort will lead you further than trying to replicate the schedule of someone who lives and breathes fitness.


Do not forget, they want you to be impressed and want to get that. They will show you their best day and best selves. I guarantee you that in a “what I eat in a day” video, the Friday night chicken wings did not make the cut. So don’t feel bad or not good enough for not being perfect.


It is a lot of work to close the door on these feelings of inadequacy. Remember, your journey is your own. Look for community and people that push you to great things, without making you feel smaller. If finding one is hard, build one. Be that voice to help elevate people around you. Look for your intrinsic motivation, not for outside validation. Remind people that what you do is specific to your lifestyle and journey and is not the only way to improve.


Remember, superheroes uplift people, so be someone’s Superman!

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Jonathan Gagne Brainz Magazine

Jonathan Gagne, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jonathan Gagne is an online fitness expert specializing in creating lasting results. His approach to fitness is both simple and enjoyable, aiming to engage individuals in adopting a healthy lifestyle and transforming into their own superheroes. Utilizing various content strategies and platforms, he provides valuable insights on overall wellness, often incorporating fictional characters to keep the subject matter both lighthearted and entertaining.



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