Fitness Community Myths
When I first started my fitness journey in 2013, I was heavily under the assumption that there was a protocol to be “legit” in the gym. My mind had created an almighty list of what to eat, how to train, and what to wear… and if I was to stray from it – I might as well not even have been working out. This list of myths looked a little something like this:
- Shaker Bottles
I truly thought that if you were lifting weights, you had to have a shaker bottle. No other water bottle could do. If I showed up with a camelback (the staple of every college girl at UIUC), sirens would go off in the gym. I would be seen as a fraud. “This chick DEFINITELY doesn’t know what she’s doing.” Within the first two weeks of following a workout split, I bought myself a shaker bottle. Now, it happens to be glued to my hip at all time… but it is 100% not something that is vitally necessary to a gym membership.
- SUPPLEMENTS: Pre-Workout, BCAA’s, and Protein Powder
The same time I was getting a shaker bottle, I was on the quest for PWO samples to figure out which one I was going to start ritually consuming. I thought it was fundamental to my fitness success- that my face had to be tingly and body raging with caffeine every single time I stepped into the gym. I had no idea what it was or the purpose it served, but I knew people talked about it. So I spent what little money I had on it, drinking it regardless of how many times I gagged, waiting for the fat to fly off and my six-pack to appear overnight. Supplements are meant to be SUPPLEMENTAL. Focus on optimizing how you fuel your body through whole foods first- that is what’s more important.
- Protein EVERYTHING – especially peanut butter
There was a time my Instagram feed was full of protein peanut butter. I don’t remember the brand name, but I can picture the label. I remember browsing through the websites, looking at all the various flavors, but never actually buying any, as I couldn’t justify spending the $30. I thought that my diet had to include novelty nut spreads or else I wouldn’t see results. I had no idea what macros were or the simplicity of eating in a calorie deficit to lose weight. Nope. Just thought that tubs of peanut butter was the way to go.
- Gymshark Apparel
Another item that used to flood my Instagram feed, yet I had never purchased because I couldn’t justify the expense. Ladies, you do not need $90 leggings to be seen as more legit than anyone else in the gym or fitness community or world in general. If you love them, can afford them, and they make your heart happy, go for it. On the flipside, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s has an abundance of fitness apparel ranging from $5-$40 (most of which is in the $10-$20 range). Even top name brands such as Calvin Klein and Nike.
- Bikini Competitor
Would you be surprised if I said that bikini competitors used to flood my eyeballs every time my fingerprint grazed the IG icon on my phone? It was my first exposure of what the fitness community was, and I thought the only way to be on the inside was to sign myself up for one. It ultimately led to serious body positivity issues and a negative, toxic environment- just from FOLLOWING THEM. If any type of social media account- or the app itself- consistently makes you feel shittier – unfollow them. Delete the app. Save yourself. It took me way too long to realize this. (Bye Facebook & Twitter!) This isn’t to say that bikini competitors don’t work INCREDIBLY hard, just that this isn’t the only gateway to having a strong, healthy body. #StrongNotSkinny
- Powerlifting or Crossfit
If you aren’t a bikini competitor, then you have to be a Powerlifter or do Crossfit. Sometimes this misconception still follows me… even though I’m working out 6x a week, lifting heavy ass weights, pushing myself as hard as I can, and making phenomenal progress. What I’m doing, and how I’m doing it, is not invalid because I don’t have a show or event or game or meet in the future. Same goes to you. You go Glenn Coco.
- Only eating Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli
Sophomore year I’m pretty sure the only thing I ever cooked in my studio apartment was chicken, rice, and canned green beans (Wasn’t a fan of broccoli back then). I ate it out of a white ceramic bowl seasoned only with salt and pepper while I studied endlessly. I have no idea the level of fitness or how “thin” I was back then, but I do know that I was NOT happy. Now I eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein… and cereal, cookies, bagels, and ice cream… and am the healthiest I’ve ever been.
If you were holding onto any of these misconceptions, please let out a hefty sigh of relief. You didn’t know. I didn’t know. But now, WE KNOW. There is no one set path and no entry fee to the fitness community. Your goals and how you achieve them can be as unique as you can dream them. Save your wallet (and your mental health) from adhering to any made up rule book.