Social media – and I’m looking at you, Instagram, though other media can be almost as bad – is awash with beautiful pictures of beautiful people hard at work doing exercise, accompanied by the compulsory #fitspo hashtag. They make squats look sexy. They make running look easy. “Getting my sweat on,” they trill.
Except that there is no sweat. Beautiful, sculpted, immaculate, with not a hair out of place, they are a far cry from the frizzy, sweaty, wobbly workouts that most of us recognise as actual exercise.
Now, I get that people want their pictures to look nice. But here’s the thing. You can bet your bottom dollar that these perfect posers didn’t achieve their adorable abs and gorgeous glutes by hanging around in front of the mirror, looking sultry, fully made up, with a handy photographer behind them.
Be under no illusions. These are not fitness pics; they are photo shoots. The real work takes place behind closed doors in a camera-free zone.
One of the things I’ve loved about the This Girl Can campaign is the real images of real women doing real sport. If only I’d seen pictures like that as a teenager. Amongst the many reasons I was so averse to exercise was the fact that my skin turned a vibrant shade of beetroot every time my heartrate rose just a pip or two. It didn’t help that this fuschia hue clashed violently with my hair.
So today I’m putting a big, sweaty, joyful two fingers up to all of that. Here’s me as I really both before and after exercise (in this case, this morning’s kick-ass, hot, sweaty Tabata bootcamp)/ The after one is actually not such a bad picture – I was almost disappointed that I wasn’t displaying my customary frizz – so here’s a promise that it’ll be just the first of many. Alongside my pretty pictures, I’m going to display some of how I really look when I exercise.
So, without further ado:
And in the sweaty, hot aftermath:
There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
So let’s keep it real, friends. If This Girl Can, you can too.