They say any publicity is good publicity… we’re not so sure.
Since the Daily Mail published their article on the ‘sick truth’ about fitness bloggers we have been more ‘public’ than we ever wanted to be. Fitspo is now the topic of choice for a number of uninformed experts and critics. The Mail article explored the association between healthy diets and unhealthy lives. It’s not a subject that the ‘popular press’ is new to and it is serious stuff… too serious to get so wrong.
Twice the Health began 8 months ago because two girls had a passion for spending Saturday nights at one bar rather than another. Our favourite bar was not one serving sugary alcoholic hits that left us ‘hanging’ a few hours later, it was one that left us feeling stronger, healthier and a whole lot happier. Sound unhealthy? Nah, didn’t think so!
Twice the Health is not just about health though. For all of the many posts, blogs and videos that fill our online page, it is the friendships and the sense of sharing that make this adventure different. These are the special bonds and relationships that fill our weekends, fuel our workouts and sit us around supper tables to swap experiences and banter like everyone else with a love for life. The only things we take to extremes are laughs. Sound unhealthy? Nah, didn’t think so.
The account has recruited more than 15,000 followers in that short space of time. As a result, the two of us are now pursuing rewarding careers in the health and fitness business. We both feel truly fulfilled and fortunate to work in an industry we love. The inspiration we received from likeminded friends and colleagues to take the plunge to move away from good jobs that somehow just came up short in terms of involvement and motivation is why we are where we are. Now we can channel our passions for a healthy lifestyle through fitness and diet into something positive and productive. Sound unhealthy? I repeat, nah, didn’t think so.
And yet these two ‘bloggers’ that are finding, and hopefully spreading, some happiness through health are being used to fit up stories with titles such as ‘the darker side of fitspo’. The authors know nothing about our lives. They have twisted them to their needs by massaging hackneyed perceptions of matching gym outfits and jars of nut-butter. Their distorted image of the community of girls they have never met or tried to understand has then been plastered across various publications associating them with terms such as ‘insterexics’ . Is this unhealthy? We think so.
There are polar problems with any social trend. You can find negative connotations with every fashion fad going if you stretch them to their limits, and Twice the Health responsibly recognises that in everything we do. You cannot scroll through any newsfeed or social media channel without finding dazzling Nikes and an impossible yoga pose being used to sell you something. Aspire is today’s inspire. The older generation never tire of telling us how gullible the impressionable younger generation is to chasing a dream of being lean and lovely. But does that make good health a bad thing to work towards?
Education is everything. You’ve got to know what you are doing. There is a growing recognition that it is now ‘sexy to be strong’ and this new movement has empowered many women to work towards sculpting their bodies to match this mantra. Once upon a recent time the yearning was for stick legs and skeletal rib cages, now it’s all about biceps and bubble butts. This change of direction has spawned a community with strong foundations in the form of bloggers and fitness enthusiasts like we Twice the Health girls with a soft spot for strength and a hankering for hard facts on how best to achieve it sensibly.
And yet this desire to nurture physical strength is suddenly being criticised for fuelling unrealistic expectations because of the excesses of a tiny minority when most are setting themselves carefully researched and monitored targets and aims. Critics that don’t or can’t share these aims brand them as being fanciful or fraudulent. But who is to say that the images portrayed as somehow freakish are not eminently achievable? Why does the sceptic assume that this robust strength is somehow linked with sacrifice and suffering? Why should someone who is trying to actively encourage good health be publically castigated for finding a true enjoyment in challenging their strength rather than their ability to ‘drink the bar dry’?