When Did Fitness Become a Modeling Contest?

When did being fit become a modelling contest? Why is exercise now all about entertainment? Why are celebrities the new fitness experts? And someone please tell me how does having a million followers on Instagram make you a nutritionist? Somewhere, somehow, things have gone wrong when it comes to our health. People are confused about “how much to eat” or if “energy drinks are better than water”. Really? Common sense itself should answer these questions but why are we so afraid to use it? 

Lets take a closer look. These days it seems everyone is a Personal Trainer, Fitness Expert, Nutritonist, or Gym Instructor. You can gain these qualifications online or simply by having a good body and showing it off in a bikini on social media. Models who didn’t quite make it in the fashion and beauty world have turned their attention to the fitness industry and have labelled themselves as ‘experts’ who want to ‘inspire’ people to look like them. Qualifications? Well they can fit into a size 6 pair of jeans, look good in underwear through a bathroom mirror, and buy millions of followers on social media.

If you are a chef, cook, or waiter at a cafe and handle food then you too can have a qualification as a Nutritionist/Dieitican. There is no regulation against it and this is where the problem begins. These days you can dish out any exercise or food advice on social media and magazines which in my opinion is grossly irresponsible. Sure you may not get adequate insurance but even that process has become somewhat of a joke. The insurance companies are dancing the tango with the qualification providers and we now have loop holes bigger than the ozone layer. 

People tell me that I should lighten up because fitness and exercise is meant to be fun and light hearted. Really? You ‘inspire’ a man with high blood pressure to lift a weight over his head because you told him so through a magazine and you call this fun? It won’t be so much fun when he has a stroke at his local gym or in his garage. My favourite are the ‘experts’ who are advising mums on how to lose their post baby belly. In my opinion this is not a matter of going back to exercise. Carrying a baby and giving birth puts the body under immense stress and trauma that the post natal period of exercise should be treated as rehabilitation not ‘fun’ exercise.

I understand the whole premise that getting people active and motivated to exercise is the ‘main thing’ (as so many ‘experts’ seem to tell me) but what about duty of care? If a doctor prescribes wrong medication to a patient and they have a heart attack you can rest assured the doctor will never be able to practice again. If you prescribe the wrong exercise to someone in the gym and they injure themselves you just shout at them “no excuses” or label them ‘soft’. Believe me this is what happens.

You have a responsibility to people when dealing with their bodies and this is not just a matter of making them do what you can do. The reality is they are not you and will never look like you. I’m happy for people to get their qualifications online who genuinly want to help others but you can’t mislead them with false hope and dangerous exercises. You can’t just tell them to cut out carbs or eat sugar free food because it worked for you and it’s what’s trending at the moment.

I get that trainers and models want to show off their bodies (I do too) but please don’t wear underwear in your advertising and tell me you want to help people lose weight. In any other industry we would have the ACCC come down so hard on them that they’d be shut down for misleading consumers. Why doesn’t this happen when it comes to the welfare of people attending gyms or following a 30 day bikini body challenge? Even the fashion industry is making an attempt to protect the integrity of their trade by not using models who are under a certain weight. Although it’s questionable at times at least they’ve brought awareness to the situation.

So what is the answer? Unfortunately I think we are too far gone to change anything. In actual fact it will get worse because vanity and stupidity is a trillion dollar industry that goes hand in hand. All I can do is try to bring awareness to the problem and perhaps make people think twice about the advice they’re getting. I want to say that there are a lot of good trainers out there. I’ve met them, I’ve taught them, and I’ve trained with them. I believe they genuinly want to help people look and feel their best but are being brought down by the cowboys who think having a six pack qualifies them as an ‘expert’. 

I want you to seek out these good trainers. Listen to what they have to say. Usually they’re the ones without all the glamour and glitz of photoshopped Instagram photos. They are the ones who are always learning and researching to make themsleves better at what they do so they can help you get better at what you do. But more importantly I want you to listen to yourself. Ask yourself “have I eaten too much? Am I full?” This is probably a good start to your question “how much should I be eating?” You see you don’t need a diet and you don’t need motivation. You just need to make up your mind about what you want to achieve and then just do it without making a big song and dance about it like you’re at a rock concert.

No one is going to give you anything. No one owes you your health. You owe it to yourself because unfortunately there are people in this world who do not have the luxury and choices that you do. Start believing in yourself again instead of all the nonsense and crap that’s being fed to us by under qualified and over glorified “experts”.

Christian Marchegiani

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