Start your anti-fitness journey here
Before The Anti-Fitness Project began, I was a pretty normal personal trainer. Most of my clients came to me to lose weight, and even though I didn’t push it as a goal (preferring to use the words “healthier” instead of “thinner”), I helped them do just that.
I sold, what I thought at the time, was great advice: “Do exercise you find fun and enjoy all food in moderation”: Fitness Industry code for “Suck it up, buttercup – eat less and move more, but allow yourself a Mars Bar every now and again so you can get through it”.
The “Biggest Loser” mentality in the industry was on its way out. And I was one of the new wave of instructors who believed that being nice and not overtly body-shaming clients would finally crack the problem of getting people to move more and become healthier.
What I didn’t understand at the time was that I even though I was using more body-positive language, and setting them fitness, not weight goals, I was still just teaching the same exercise techniques as I was before. The EXACT same advice that was shockingly ineffective for most people.
Despite our cultural hard-on for improving fitness and health, as a population, we’re objectively getting more sedentary and most of us still feel like crap. But yet we still believe we’re changing the industry and moving in the right direction. In reality, all that’s really changed is most instructors don’t screech vile insults at their clients anymore as Jillian Michaels used to in that horrendous TV show.
It’s been five years since I was that normal personal trainer, and I’ve come to realise that our choice of language isn’t the problem. It’s not that we haven’t found the right exercises yet, or made them fun or simple enough. The problem isn’t that our client’s discipline or motivation sucks… the issue is with the entire system itself.
I’ve finally come to the conclusion what we need is to stop wasting our time and energy trying to make the Fitness Industry better. Instead, we need to accept it’s broken and CAN’T be fixed. The entire f*cker needs burning to the ground so we can start again whilst wearing war paint made of its ashes.
So, five (long) years ago I decided to approach our fitness problem with fresh eyes: eyes not corrupted by industry commercialism, corporate profit chasing, or framed by oppressive biases and “isms”.
I put down the anatomy and personal training textbooks as my only sources of fitness fact, and instead fell down crazy information rabbit holes about history, geography, philosophy, religion, quantum physics, and more, until everything I thought I knew about movement was on its head and I finally felt like I was getting it. And so it’s time to share “it” with you.
What I learned from taking that journey is that there isn’t just one “it” you need to learn. There’s no one book, one course, or one podcast that has the solution.
Problems can only be solved in layers, in stages, and we can’t just leap to the ending.
There’s a reason why Frodo needed to faff around doing side-quests instead of flying a Giant Eagle directly from his hobbit hole to Mount Doom to lob the ring in the flames. Luke Skywalker only had the skills to kick Vader’s ass because he went through three films and snogged his sister first. Each hero had to learn different lessons, and meet different people so they could slowly evolve into the kind of hobbit/Jedi they needed to become to reach their goals.
One big leap won’t work to be who we need to be to fix our problems.
So, if your problem is that you want to move and eat in a new way, you need to stop looking for that one solution. It doesn’t exist. If it existed, you’d have found it by now.
Stop wandering within the walls of the Fitness Industry Factory which only has one ineffective version of movement to sell you. And instead, take your first step outside in a world full of potential.
getting the most out of this blog...
NB: this story starts from the beginning with me setting the cultural scene before moving on, and unfortunately, this means the first three blogs are about diet culture.
So even if you have done the work to move past this toxic culture and into body positivity I hope you’ll understand why I had to start the blog there and bear with me while I lay the groundwork for the rest of the Anti-Fitness Project journey.
We can’t start a story in chapter five, can we?! That’s not how this sh*t works! We can only break a system by learning exactly how it works first.
10 thoughts on “1. The Project”