Sponsor what you Preach: The Gymshark Singlet Controversy

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It was a quiet Wednesday afternoon in the online powerlifting community:

Powerbellies were resting, nose torque was gently nestled in its protective tupperware container, and singlets were all folded and tucked in for the day.

That is, until, Gymshark unleashed its secret weapon to cracking the powerlifting consumer. The dominating purple wondersuit, the Sports One Piece, was designed for powerlifting. Complete with criss-cross straps, an open back for ventilation and convenient(?) front zipper, the garment is the solution to every “what will I train in today?” conundrum for lady powerlifters – or so the Gymshark masterminds thought.

The poor soul responsible for Gymshark’s social media channels was woefully unprepared for the powerlifting community’s digital onslaught spurred by the phrase designed for powerlifting.

Designed for powerlifting,” they say “but not IPF approved.”

The comments varied (I’ll include samples below), but can all be summarized by a response type of #TRIGGERED – these three words were so powerful, that even I felt compelled to add to the conversation:

 

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Before I dig deeper into reading the powerlifting community’s response, if you are not familiar with Gymshark, let me just give you a quick brand orientation.

Gymshark 101

Get your learning caps on, because I’m about to drop some ~*knowledge*~

Gymshark is a UK brand that has taken North America by storm. If you’ve been to any type of fitness expo, you’ll see Gymshark fans in the signature flex leggings or minimalist dry-fit tees. You’ll know it’s Gymshark because of the iconic GYMSHARK embroidered waistband or the reflective geometric kinda-looks-like-a-shark logo.

The brand had humble beginnings in Birmingham, where teenagers Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan created a website and started hand printing t-shirts in a tiny back room. For the full backstory, watch the video below:

 

 

Despite being across the pond, Gymshark has an insane international reach. There are many North American-grown fitness influencers that are partnered with the brand: honourable mentions include Nikki Blackketter, Whitney Simmons, Jazmine Garcia, and Steve Cook. Earlier this year, Gymshark even collaborated with the aforementioned Nikki Blackketter to design a custom collection that sold out online almost immediately.

With such international success, it makes you wonder: is Gymshark really worth the hype? Is it worth standing in a snaking line measuring multiple blocks of New York City’s downtown?  Maybe. Take a look at some of their core values:

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Gymshark’s About Us

These values can be summarized using one of their company slogans: Be a visionary. I can appreciate their focus on continuously improving design and activewear technology. With everyone and their grandmother coming out with an athleisure line, Gymshark doesn’t forget where they started. With a focus on engineering and art, Gymshark fills a gap in the athletic wear industry,  seamlessly blending performance with aesthetics – and who doesn’t want to look and feel good while they work out?

I’ve ordered three times from Gymshark, and have been impressed by the amount of quality and detail in their pieces. Every pattern and colour combination is thought out. Each contour exists for a purpose.  Gymshark is comfortable with straddling the line between innovation and function and it works

… most of the time.

How many “visionaries” does it take to piss off a powerlifter?

I’m not sure about the answer to this question, but I believe it’s safe to say not a lot of demographic research went into this product launch. Let’s circle back to the issue at hand:

With more and more online communities surfacing, the female strength athlete has more digital resources than ever before. Powerlifting Women, This Is Female Powerlifting, and Girls Who Powerlift are all changing the game when it comes to the perception of women in the gym and those that compete in strength sports. And while support in the strength community is needed for both genders, there are just some issues that are female-specific. Pelvic floor issues, the gymbro gaze, fupa acceptance, and lifting while pregnant are just scratching the surface when it comes to lady lifting topics.

Unlike physique competitions, there is no set body type and no aesthetic symmetry required on a powerlifting platform. This means that across all weight classes, you’ll find a myriad of different body compositions, shapes, and sizes. I’d argue that it is one of the most diverse sports out there. Come as you are, and get strong. It’s just that simple.

With this in mind, Gymshark has a challenge. In order to market to women powerlifters, you have to expand your thinking and garment technology to include very different body types across multiple weight classes.

Here is strike one for Gymshark.

Not a single product in Gymshark’s Women’s collection has XL sizing. This immediately ignores a huge portion of the female powerlifting demographic.

Strike two? No woman powerlifting presence within the Gymshark brand. While they have many respectable female athletes (hiiii jazzypoo & whit: ilysm),  none of Gymshark’s ambassadors are powerlifters in the traditional sense. With the powerlifting community growing, I find it very odd that Gymshark has yet to partner with a female strength athlete. YouTube celebs like Megsquats and Amanda Bucci are expanding the fitness YouTube community to include powerlifting. In making serious gains in social following, both Meg and Amanda prove that there really is no excuse for Gymshark to say “there are no women powerlifting influencers that are popular enough.”

Finally, I’m guessing it’s not very innovative for a company to take ownership of their mistakes. Despite the outcry, despite the flurry of comments, Gymshark did the only thing a scared brand could do and simply changed the description on their singlet Instagram post. Instead of apologizing, instead of remedying the situation, Gymshark took advantage of IG’s Editing functionality and erased their marketing fumble… but not before screenshots were taken and feelings were #triggered. Strike three for Gymshark.

 

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What did we do before the Instagram Edit feature?

 

The Counter Argument

So it’s not IPF approved (and probably never will be), and maybe it’s not the most functional combination of nylon and elastane in the athletic wear market. Why should powerlifters give it a chance?

Amber Abweh aka Swoleesi takes a sympathetic approach to the Gymshark singlet launch, saying “you do you, boo-boo.”

If you think it’s cute, wear it. Don’t think it’s cute? Don’t wear it.

Yes, it could be that simple, but I believe it signifies something much deeper than that. The “bullying” that Amber alludes to in her video doesn’t come from a place of animosity. Instead, I argue that it’s a collective defense mechanism.

I’ve experienced it. Chances are, if you identify as a powerlifter, you’ve also experienced it. This is a sport that chews you up and asks for more. Hell, I broke my damn arm powerlifting and went back to it like an idiot. It’s my addiction and my magnificent obsession (please tell me you got that CT Fletcher reference).

It’s no secret that powerlifters and strength athletes don’t do what they do for money or fame. But when someone attacks my sport, when someone doesn’t understand why I do it, yeah I get a little miffed. And this was a classic case of misunderstanding and underestimation on Gymshark’s behalf. I don’t think the visionaries imagined how much this sport takes out of athletes, and to just pigeonhole women into a cookie-cutter body shape and say “this is what women powerlifting is about,” just delegitimizes all of the hours spent training, the time used to establish the confidence to walk into a weight room full of men, the hundreds of how-many-sets-you-got-left conversations exchanged again and again… To me, it says “your powerlifting isn’t sexy,” “your hard work isn’t sexy if you don’t look like this fitness model” and it’s 50 shades of wrong. Something’s gotta give, Gymshark. Your visions came from fever dreams.

If you want to commodify strength sports, you have to commodify all of it. Every weight class. Every individual. This was a chance for Gymshark to diversify their brand – even change the fitness industry – and they missed the mark.

What do you think? Am I reading too deep? Will this singlet pass your next equipment check? Let me know in the comments and let’s discuss.

 

 

 

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The $#!T Nobody Tells You About Having an Injury

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A few weeks ago, I revealed the reason why I’ve been absent from writing. For a while, it was because I only had one hand to write with and I felt as if I had nothing to contribute to the fitness community as an injured athlete.

As the initial injury travels further and further into the past, I’m beginning to realize that injuries are a very real and very imminent part of any athlete’s journey – you can do countless shoulder pass-throughs or have a physio on speed dial and still experience injury in some shape or form. If it’s so prevalent, why don’t we talk about it?

In the online fitness community, you won’t find many posts about failures, missed reps, or sub-par eating. That’s because content that solicits anger or sadness as responses doesn’t yield the same type of virility or shareability that inspiring or joyful posts create. Although failure and off-days are a part of any training cycle, it’s just not talked about because it is just plain ugly. We don’t discuss failure (injury or otherwise) because it’s not ideal or convenient.

I’ve been talking about my injury for a long time now. 3 months and 3 days, to be exact. I’ve become comfortable about talking about the uncomfortable and there are a few things I’ve learned about dealing with an injury psychologically. When you’re an athlete or just active in nature, injuries don’t just impede you physically. The mental recovery can be the hardest journey yet. You can follow exercise programming and a nutrition plan, but no one gives you the mental toolbox to deal with emotions post-injury. This post aims to expose the ugliness of injury recovery, mainly the things your doctor or physiotherapist can’t equip you for – the things Fitness Instagram hides in the attic for no one to see. It’s honest and real and to those that have been injured doing what you love, I hope you find this relatable. For those that haven’t experienced a major injury,

This post aims to expose the ugliness of injury recovery – mainly the things your doctor or physiotherapist can’t equip you for, the things Fitness Instagram hides in the attic for no one to see. It’s honest and real to those that have been injured doing what they love. I hope you find this relatable and for those that haven’t experienced a major injury, I hope you will never have to return to this page for advice.

You’re not the only one that’s hurting

This part of the process took me way longer to realize than it should’ve. Whether you’ve been under the knife or are just nursing a dislocated what-have-you, your caregiver (partner, SO, mother, father, sibling, roommate…) is probably in just as much pain as you are.

I thought I had it bad. After all, I waited 18 hours in a hospital to be knocked out, cut open, poked at, and yanked back into consciousness in the span of three hours. I was in rough shape, to say the least. But Andrew, my fiancé, waited with me all night in that dingy hospital bed and helped me do just about everything. His once independent, strong fiancée needed him to help her get to the bathroom or change her clothes. Looking back, I know now just how upsetting that must’ve been for him. When I asked him later, he admitted to shedding a few tears in the back of the ambulance when I first broke the arm.

For the first time, your caregiver is absolutely helpless. They can send you all of the bouquets and boxes of chocolates in the world, but it still does nothing to accelerate the healing process. They can’t make this injury go away.

Communication with your partner is more important now than it ever was. Be kind to each other, and don’t be afraid to talk it out with your SO. They’re your biggest fan, and they’re sure to lend a listening ear.

Asking for help doesn’t get easier

For ladies who lift, we know the struggle. Unwanted gym bros often interfere with our sets with bullshit excuses like “let me spot you on that” or “let me help you with those.” If I needed someone to spot me, I would go and ask.

After my injury, I found myself struggling to muster the courage to reach out and ask for help. I went from being able to do a solid 80lb Overhead Press to not even being able to lift a 45lb empty barbell. Asking for help became incredibly tough – especially in a room full of strong people. This became even worse when my cast came off. I looked capable, but I was only prescribed loads weighing in at 10lbs max. Would people look down on me for asking for help? Why even walk into a gym if I couldn’t lift a barbell properly?

Asking for help didn’t get easier, but the ability to swallow my pride eventually did. If anyone gave me guff about helping me re-rack plates, this was a prime opportunity to flex and show off my scar and that usually persuaded any nay-sayers.

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Fiber will become your favourite food group

Fun fact: the first hospital I visited after my break gave me absolutely NO PAIN MEDICATION. This hospital was about 3 hours from my home. That car ride home was agonizing, to say the least.

When my family doctor finally wrote me a prescription for a kick ass painkiller cocktail, I was all over that ish… until I sat on a toilet a few days later.

Constipation is no joke, let me tell you. Pre-injury I was so regular, I could schedule it in my calendar down to the minute. If you’re prescribed any pain killer, I recommend pairing it with a stool softener. I won’t go into detail about my own bathroom experiences, but it is humiliating to try and unclog a toilet with one hand. It’s even more humiliating to call your dad to come home and help you unclog said-toilet. Ahem.


Nobody said injury is the most glamourous thing to ever experience, but these are some of the things no doctor will spell out for you. Above all, try to remember to be kind to yourself. You will get impatient and irritable, but no amount of screaming or physical therapy will help you heal faster. Focus on activities you can do for now, and let your body do the thing.

How to deal when everything goes wrong

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Hey hi hello, welcome back to my fitness blog. I’ve been neglecting this outlet – not because I’ve been dead – but because I’ve been uninspired. Why? Well…

September 25th, 2016 my life was flipped upside down. Most followers remember I was training for my first powerlifting meet. Between cutting weight, shoulder injuries, and overall stress, my meet prep was everything but sunshine and rainbows. In fact, despite all of the encouragement from the powerlifting community, despite all of the “you’ll do great” speeches, my meet ended in the most horrible way possible (and I’m not being a drama queen when I say that). 

The lift that quite literally changed my life forever


I didn’t bomb out on all of my attempts. I didn’t get bumped up a weight class.  But I did break my damn arm. On the platform. During my third squat attempt. In front of everybody. 

I will save you the details (you can ask any of the spectators – they all heard the snap). I don’t remember feeling any pain, just some good ol’ mortification. To this day, I am still embarrassed it happened and what’s even more embarrassing is the way I’m handling this whole recovery: tears, meltdowns, feelings of hopelessness. 

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve never been a particularly positive person. And let me follow up on that by saying that I strongly believe that being “negative” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’m a firm supporter of all personality types. What would the world look like if we were all hunky-dory? Sometimes, a pessimist adds perspective. Expecting the worst allows me to have the element of preparedness when things go awry and even sets my standards low so I surprise myself when things work out. My mind reacts to situations differently. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just my way of thinking and processing. 
So after the surgery (yes, surgery), after the dozens of X-rays, I find the recovery process so much more difficult now that I have set foot back in a gym than it was when I initially broke the arm. I went from training six days a week, to three. Celebrating my own PRs, to being a professional set-watcher… and I am hating every single moment of it. I am probably Exhibit A of how NOT to react after a bad meet, but nevertheless, I am “dealing.”

My incision after surgery and cast removal

I am probably Exhibit A of how NOT to react after a bad meet, but nevertheless, I am “dealing.” 

So how do you “deal”? I’m not sure if I can provide a tried-and-true, one size fits all approach. Truth is, I’m still trying to figure out my own working-through process now that the weights are gone. What I can say is that we all handle adversity in our own way. And so long as that way isn’t criminal or endangering, I believe it’s totally okay to honour your process and work at your own pace. 

This post probably wasn’t what you wanted to hear from me, nor was it necessarily eye-opening. It is, however, authentic and from experience. My goal in starting this blog was to remain transparent with my journey, and I do genuinely believe I’ve captured that transparency in writing this post. No one really knows for sure the right way of working through adversity. You can agonize over the same event for months, or dust yourself off the next day. Neither of these processes are better or worse than the other. They are just… different.

Have an injury or bad meet story? What were some of your gut feelings and reactions? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them! 

The problem with #TransformationTuesday: Why you should stop demonizing your “Before” self

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For some, killer transformation photos are the reason they do this whole fitness thing in the first place.

Scan any #TransformationTuesday hashtag and you’ll see a common theme: Phrases like “I can’t believe I allowed myself to be that big” or “I feel so disgusted looking at the left photo” echo like a comedic soundboard as you scroll through endless left-right comparisons.

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There is undoubtedly a lot of work and dedication that go into any transformation photo – no matter how small the changes are. However, what’s problematic is the self-deprecating talk. This isn’t a contest for how many euphemisms for fat you can string together in a single Instagram caption. Embracing fitness and fitting an active lifestyle into your routine should improve you. Making everything about the tangible results isn’t the point.

For me, fitness quite literally saved my life. I found purpose and found my sport – something my nine year-old wheezing, soccer-playing self wouldn’t have ever dreamt of. In my 20’s and after a bad break up, I found an outlet for my sad energy. Instead of letting inferiority and heartbreak stew and simmer deep inside of me, physically pushing, running, or stomping it out gave me a sense of control over my emotions I didn’t have before. My initial goals were transformational in nature, but today, I am much more appreciative of the confidence and drive fitness and gym-going have given me. It’s a priceless gift that I encourage everyone embarking on a fitness journey to find for themselves – whatever your “fitness” is.

That gift is precisely the reason why you shouldn’t discount that girl/guy on the left. You gave yourself that gift in the moment you decided to make a change. As much as it hurts to look at your left hand-self, that’s still you in that photo. I admire Left-Me for taking the steps (baby-sized and giant) towards where I am today. I went from a predominantly sedentary lifestyle of work, home, study, repeat to fitting in activity where I could, and finally to committing to a sport I love. I admire the strength (both the figurative and literal kind) it took for Before-Me to get where I am today. I respect myself, present and past, for all of the progress and decisions made thus far.

Don’t get hung up on the “I wishes” of life. Many times I have scolded myself for not incorporating working out earlier in my life, but what matters is that I’m here today and thoroughly enjoying my fitness routine. It’s never too late to start something new – whether it’s fitness, a new book, or learning opportunity. Focus on the You that exists, lives, breathes in this moment and not on your unchangeable past.

Why you should ditch your inferiority complex and make the grass greener where you water it

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That guy’s shoulder caps are bigger than my head. 

Look at her! Why can’t I lose these last 10lbs?

I just wish I had her genes (the DNA kind).

If you’ve frequented any gym, chances are these thoughts have trickled into your self-talk regimen. It’s unfortunate, unhealthy, and yet it’s automatic behaviour. Comparative and competitive instincts are just human nature and take a lot of conscious correcting to control.

I started this blog to talk about fitness, but also to remain transparent about my experiences as I take baby steps into the world of powerlifting. A few days ago, I had a meltdown on bench day. Bench press was (or still is?) my best lift, but my numbers aren’t budging. I’ve been stuck at a 110lb bench for a few months now, and I became so frustrated after my third failed attempt the other day that tears began to form. Y’all can bug me about crying at the gym (what a wimp, amirite???). My meet in September is so important to me, and this “off” day became the straw that broke my perfectly arched back. I furiously scrolled through my Instagram feed to find some insight into how I’m failing. Are there cues I’m missing? Is my form off? Am I just not meant for powerlifting? I see all of these incredibly strong women benching 135lbs like it was an empty bar, and the inferiority sets in all over again. I’m not worthy! I wanted to quit.

I am my own worst enemy. I’m finding that as I progress further into training, my mental barriers are the toughest part of lifting. I can have my form and mobility down, but my mind tells me I’ll never hit this personal record squat. It’s something that has been ingrained, rehearsed, and is seemingly impossible to unlearn.

I am by no means free of this self-deprecating monologue, but I’m actively acknowledging it. I’m slowly learning to catch myself at these low points and remember the ONLY comparison I should be making: it’s me vs. me.

Fitness in a digital age

In one of my earlier posts, I talk about fitness as an industry and boy, has the industry changed as technology makes fitness more popular. Instead of just seeing our favourite celebs on the big screen, we can now follow their daily activities with ease. We can see Kim K’s workout selfies on Snapchat, Instagram… I’ve even seen her gym selfies on the national news (um, how is that national news?)  Celebrities reveal their workout secrets and if you’re following Kim’s workout regimen every day (she runs 4 miles a day followed by 1000 jump ropes), you might be strapped for time if you don’t call yourself a seasoned runner.

The reality is that if you’re a single mom with two jobs, it’s no surprise that you can’t achieve a Kardashian body. Kim probably has two chefs, three personal trainers, and a surgeon on-call. Her life is all about looking her best. Your life is about bringing home the bacon for your kids. Actors and sponsored athletes make a living off of their bodies. Their gym sessions can range from 4-6 hours. For all of us common folk, this is outrageously unrealistic.

The other troublesome fact is that images online or in print are manipulated. From the documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger, here is a clip of some photographers talking about editing:

The “after” image for the supplement absolutely astonished me, because to me, that transformation looks very real. The key takeaway is that what you see isn’t always what you get. Photographers and athletes rely on a bunch of different factors (lighting, blurring, etc) in order to project their ideal body to the digital world.

Having a You vs. You Mentality

Because walking into the gym with blinders on isn’t very productive, here are a few things I try to remember when the self-doubts surface:

1. I’m on a path

This path is no one else’s. It is my own. It is full of individual obstacles and triumphs that are completely unique to me.

2. Everyone has a story

We assume that the girl with the flawless curves at the gym also has a perfect life. This is a fallacy. Great body ≠ Perfect life. 

3. Everyone brings experiences with them

Some people have been lifting since they were adolescents, others have started in their mid 30’s. If you’ve been lifting for a year, you won’t be hitting big lifts like someone who has been lifting for their whole adult life.

4. My body is unique to me

It has its own quirks and while some of these quirks are the opposite of a blessing, they are unique to me and I should honour them.

5. Failure and plateaus are normal

Not every week is going to be stellar. You won’t hit records reliably. Each time you fail you get another opportunity to learn and grow in order to battle your weaknesses.

The next time you get mad that a 13 year-old girl can bench press more than you, try to remember that this is all about being better. Feel the cold steel in your hands and tune out the static telling you you’re not good enough because you are good enough – even better than your were before.

Why fitness competitions shouldn’t measure your success

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A few days ago, I was approached by a stranger in the gym who asked me if I compete. I never thought I’d be at a place physically and mentally to step on stage and strut my goodies in a blingy bikini. I immediately thanked them, because I know the amount of dexterity, commitment, and discipline it takes to train for physique competitions. But then I began thinking: just because I don’t want to compete as a physique model, does that mean I don’t exhibit commitment? Does it make me less of an athlete?

I started my active lifestyle four years ago with the hopes of losing weight. Later on, I wanted milestones. I signed up for my first 5k and trained for it. Next, I signed up for Tough Mudder and found my love of obstacle racing. Commitment to running these events got me off of the couch and into the weight room, but they’re not the sport that’s keeping me going now. I just want to be strong. And although I’m still on the fence about delving into my first powerlifting meet, I love lifting, and I love lifting heavy. Just like I did years ago, signing up for this meet could be the spark I need to train to get stronger.

Clearly, your goals will change. I’m a Zumba class dropout. I’m a cardio bunny turned Iron Lady. I’m Exhibit A of how much your training focus might change throughout your journey. It has taken me years of experimenting to find the right combination of fitness and fun and I’m finally at a place where I can say I’m happy with my training program. I don’t need a competition to validate my success in fitness because knowing how happy I am right now in this moment, is enough validation for me.

If you are thinking about competing, I encourage you to do it because you love the sport. Don’t compete because it seems like the only next step for you. I feel as if fitness – especially around Instagram – has one be-all and end-all goal and that’s becoming an International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) pro. If you have made progress in your own way, believe me when I say that you do NOT need to be an IFBB pro to be an inspiration, nor do you need to be shredded and lean year round to be respected. I think fitness has become so conflated to the point where we forget that fitness is an everyman and everywoman sport. It’s accessible to everyone. Whether your fitness is at the tennis court or dancing in your living room, you’re making fitness your own. Own it, wear it, and your confidence will grow. No competition will allow that natural confidence within you to bloom.

Real SHREDZ or just SCAMZ?

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If you’re starting a new fitness routine, what made you start? For most people, the inspiration comes from the myriad of models that spam Instagram with their workout or beach bod selfies. You’ll see the comments full of exclamations of admiration with hashtags like #goals, #inspo, or even a simple heart-faced emoji.

While it’s fine to have role models, it’s problematic to put these staged photos on an “ideal-body” pedestal. A personal anecdote: I remember when I first started at the gym, I had a photo of Paige Hathaway as my phone’s background. Her chiseled abs were meant to stare right into my fat-self’s soul and inspire me to run that extra mile and continue that plank for just 10 more seconds. But what we see on Instagram are filters, flattering poses/angles, and in some cases, even Photoshop or editing. We’re warned about catfish in online dating, but what makes the fitness industry so different?

It’s unfortunate that fitness is yes, an INDUSTRY. Without people desperate for results, supplement companies would collapse. Supplements are meant to do just that: supplement your active lifestyle while paired with a balanced diet. No supplement will get you an Arnold physique in 30 days.

Looking back, though, I was impressionable four years ago. I had no idea how this fitness thing worked. I do the cardio and then I do the weights. What else? Now I know that maintaining a lean physique extends from the gym into your overall lifestyle. You need to kick the junk food and nights out drinking and instead lift weights with good form and do cardio as needed. My fellow gym goers know that no 30 day Squat Challenge will take you from pancake butt to Kim K. Sculpting and building take time, but I can see from my own experience how tempting it was to look for the easy way out.

Adobe GainZ: SHREDZ as a Case Study

Okay, so if you’re involved in the fitness online community, you probably know who SHREDZ are. If not, here’s what you need to know:

Since 2012, SHREDZ has been supplement-focused fitness company based in the US. You won’t find any of SHREDZ’s ads on late-night infomercials promoting the next revolutionary fitness contraption. Instead, SHREDZ dominated the social media sphere by pairing with fitness models/athletes and (using? not using?) their collection of fat burners. Elaborate photoshoots act as strong, visual rhetorical pieces and allowed SHREDZ to quickly permeate the timelines of many Instagram users.

While their initial intentions were to help people reach their physique goals, even the CEO of SHREDZ admits that they are more of a marketing firm than a supplement company. Shifting the focus of your company from self-betterment to pure profit sure does wonders for your credibility and reputation (#saidnooneever).

And yet, people continue to be hypnotized (myself included) by Paige Hathaway’s washboard abs. SHREDZ is now a multi-million dollar fitness company, and it’s all because of their digital marketing and con artists sponsored athletes.

Recently, SHREDZ did some damage control by firing one of their athletes, Devin Physique. Devin photoshopped and maneuvered his way to becoming one of the most followed fitness accounts on Instagram… but at least he apologized:

“I just want to say sorry to all of you guys if I let any of you down by touching up my photos.”

Whether this will create a fraudulent fallout is unknown. Paige Hathaway continues to gain followers and lure customers into her 30 day challenges (which cost $200 to just participate). And while no one can maintain a flawless physique year round, it’s no doubt that Adobe helps these athletes make their living.

The Takeaway?

Have someone who is an inspiration to you, absolutely! But do your research: what are these people promoting? Is fitness to them only achieving a dream body? To me, fitness is much more than that. Fitness should be making you a healthier and happier person – the bangin’ bod is just an awesome bonus. I much prefer supplement companies and athletes that recognize that. I’m a normal person. Just a regular human being who goes to work every day and goes to the gym. I don’t want to funnel all of my hard-earned money towards Paige Hathaway’s next surgery or software renewal. I might not ever compete in powerlifting or bodybuilding, but I’m using supplements to fuel, not magically sculpt, my body.