I have to admit, up until about 2 years ago I viewed all of those “what’s your excuse” posts as motivational, after all I was fit, I didn’t really see the videos as a negative thing. So I thought I would share with you some actual reasons people can’t get to the gym that they have messaged me for this article (now before you keep reading, be warned, the content is mature in nature).
“When I was 7 I was sexually abused, I suffer from PTSD and I have been in therapy most of my life. For a long time activity wasn’t a priority in my life because I wasn’t sure I wanted to live. About ten years ago I joined a local gym. Since that time I am down a significant amount of weight and it has done great things for my self worth. Posts like that seem to be pointing out that I am not doing enough and frankly it doesn’t help me and it makes me wonder if the people that I work out with view me similarly, like I don’t do enough but most of them don’t know my history.”
“At the age of 11 my mother was brutally murdered by my father, to say this has a lasting impact and me and my brothers is an under statement. I started working out as part of my therapy many years ago. About 6 months ago I was on Facebook, watched one of those videos and it sent me into a spiral where I didn’t go to the gym for 2 weeks (like what’s it all for). Eventually my self care kicked back into gear but I really don’t like those videos and they don’t inspire me”
“I have 4 children, my last son has a severe version of autism. When you first get the news of something like that you wonder how you will cope and then you somehow do but make no mistake about it, my world revolves around my son. I was never a small person but I have been lifting for years. In fact, part of having to carry around my son is what helped me get that strength. While I love my gym I do feel inadequate at times just because there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything, while I try to focus on what I can do (and believe me, my life is pretty rigid, it has to be) I just can’t see a way I can squeeze in more sometimes and that frustrates me. Recently there was a video posted of a very fit woman in a situation similar to mine. At the time I wondered if people would find me as motivating as this very fit person.”
Here is mine:
“When I was 4 years old there was a robbery at my house, I was sleeping on the couch and I heard a commotion. This is literally my first memory in life. My mother and father were separated and I was living with my mother at the time. Obviously as a 4 year old child I had to piece a few things together. In the robbery my mother was raped, this single event changed her as a human being. Within weeks I went to live with my dad, by the time I was 18 I had been through 4 divorces, none of which were my own. I struggled with drug addiction through my teens and through a great deal of psychotherapy and sobriety I have a wonderful life. If I never go to the gym another day in my life I have won.”
Basically the poster or the sharer doesn’t realize what they are doing. They are objectifying a disabled person in order to inspire who? Probably not themselves right? I mean they don’t have an excuse, they go to the gym. So next time you see one of those posts I want you to realize that the person in the video is simply using the abilities they have just like all of the rest of us do. But I wanted to clearly state that the person on the receiving end might be fighting their way through life in a way you can’t conceive so shaming them into going to the gym is something you might want to re-consider.
Also, the next time you share some piece of fit inspiration try and ask yourself why you are doing that. Because for a lot of people it is de-motivating and has the opposite effect of what you are intending. Let me also add one last thing and this last thing depends on your world view. In my world view if someone says they find this offensive I think to myself “why is this important to me and can I live without it” and almost always the answer is “I can”. There are certainly some disabled people that don’t feel like the woman in the video I am sharing below and there are certainly some people similar to the ones above (including me) that might find these types of videos motivating but a good percentage don’t and frankly that’s good enough for me.
Here is a brilliant Ted Talk on these videos.