Weighing in on the Ever-Changing Definition of "Fit"

By: Keely Lombardi

The face of fitness is always changing. Once it was Jane Fonda or the bodies featured in a p90x workout video. Then, it was defined as the bodies prancing in string bikinis and speedos at Jersey Shore. Today, “fit” bodies are viewed as the variety of women showing off their shapely figures in diet ads, gym promotions and Instagram posts. While there is more variety in the world of fitness today, there is still a constant objectification of women’s bodies in an attempt to promote a “fit” body. Whether slender or curvy, female “fitness” models are subjected to a type of gym sexualization. In the promotion of a specific body type, different women are scrutinized for their natural body type.

For the diet and exercise industry this is a perfect tactic for getting more women to buy their products. The more women wishing to change the way they look, the more profits the diet and exercise industry rake in. Whether it’s a new slim-fast shake, 30-day workout plan or fitness guru’s indorsement deal, the health industry has continuously made a profit off the insecurities it has implemented into the modern-day American woman. If companies supported women loving themselves and their bodies, companies like Atkins and V Shred would have to pack up and hit the road.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with wanting to change the way you look, as long it is for yourself. For women uncomfortable with their weight, there is nothing wrong with making small changes to live a healthier life in order to become more comfortable with their body. I am saying there is a problem with the way America defines “fit”.

Now more than ever it is hard to determine whether you are “fit”. Even thinking about the concept brings about questions like: Do I need to look like the fitness models on Instagram? Do I need to have as much muscle as other girls at the gym? Do I need to eat a certain way? Should I weigh more? Should I weigh less? All of these questions demonstrate what is wrong with the modern definition of being “fit”. Being “fit” is not fitting into the societal template set out for women of the “fit, perfect body”. Being “fit” does not mean eating only spinach and never snacking on your favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Being “fit” is not a specific physical, mental or emotional look or state, but instead depends on the individual. “Fit” comes in different shapes and forms and is defined by how individuals feel in their body.

We are women. We are slim. We are thick. We are slender. We are curvy. We are a combination. We are unique. Women cannot fit into one category because we are more than a flat over-sexualized character in a sitcom or chick-flick. Women are more than a group of beings existing to work towards a different body than the body they live in every day. We are women. We eat carbs, fats, and protein, not to calorie count, but to fuel the beautiful bodies that we live in. Our bodies are not to be defined by someone else’s definition of what “being fit” is. Instead, our bodies should be determined by how we feel in our own skin, how much we glow with confidence, and how we walk around the world every day. Being “fit” is not fitting into a template created by opinions of others. Being “fit” is fitting into the template you design to be your best self.

Photos: Cover Photo, 1, 2