Proud2Bme | Fitness Media: Behind the Filters

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Fitness Media: Behind the Filters

By Greg Chavez--My name is Greg and I work in the nutritional field and have actively competed as a bodybuilder for the past seven years of my life.  Fitness and the industry were great to me, but early in 2014 I retired to pursue a new life.  During my years competing in that world I saw a huge shift in the industry, which I attribute to social media.

I have worked as a trainer and nutritionist for years but over the last 3-4 years I have been getting more and more extreme goal requests from clients of all genders. Simply feeling healthier is no longer the request.  The requests are six pack abs and hard muscle tone as seen on social media and in magazines.

My goal is to shed light on what’s real and what’s not because I see countless acts of extreme, unhealthy behavior to achieve goals that aren’t practical or realistic.  First off, the small percent of professionals and models in the fitness arena work very hard day in and day out for years to achieve their physiques.  The Instagram fitspiration photos don’t show what happens behind the scenes. I am not here to say it’s unattainable but it’s much more difficult than Instagram videos and photos make it seem.

Second, yes we tan and even get photoshopped like anyone else.  In the fitness world we all strive to keep in the best shape we can as often as possible but when big events come up we tweak things and switch things up to “peak” our potential. We can maintain this look for about 3 days tops. This is not our constant appearance, but it's all the public sees.

The main thing I want to get across is that as humans we are all different but we are all beautiful and unique. True joy doesn’t come from the shape of our bodies. It comes from within.  From personal experience I can say that just because I had a body that people strived for I never lost sight of the things that really mattered to me. We all have something special about us and my challenge to you is to find and embrace what makes you special. I’ve been stigmatized for being the fitness over achiever but I tell people all the time that if I died tomorrow I’d hope I wasn’t remembered as the muscly guy but as the man who was truly nice to others and showed that everyday.

For more on Exercise, Body Image, and EDs:

Stepping Off the Treadmill: How I Discovered What Health Exercise Really Feels Like

Losing More Than Weight: Humiliation, Extreme Dieting, and Unhealthy Exercise on the Biggest Loser

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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