I recently attended perhaps the biggest fitness and nutrition convention around – The Idea World Fitness and Nutrition Convention. It’s not my usual bailiwick but it was still interesting and I enjoy meeting new people. As always, expectations can be a tricky thing and some of my expectations were most certainly not met.
First my disclaimer: I am NOT a sexist pig. I write a blog series – Men Vs. Women – that is decidedly NOT politically correct but that does not mean I am not speaking the truth. So, some of my observations in this column could be misconstrued as sexist and/or judgmental. They certainly have a little of the latter in them but they are just my observations.
The gender ratio of attendance at this convention was about 3 or 4 women to each man. The general age range was 20’s to early 40’s with a smattering of older people (like me). Most of the attendees wore workout type clothing. Attendees evidently came from all over the world so the languages heard and spoken were a joy to hear and experience.
I had the misconception that people interested in fitness and nutrition would “look the part” and this was the failed expectation. Most of the women I saw did not look “in shape.” They may have been fit, but just not blessed with a fit-looking physique. Many simply were over-weight. Ironically, it was not the case with the guys who didn’t look like body-builders – though some clearly were – but mostly looked fit and trim.
I asked several people I met if this observation had occurred to them and, to a person, I was met with agreement. Many of the fit (female) trainers said they thought a lot of the women attendees were there to learn. Fair enough, but please don’t wear tight work out clothes if you don’t belong in them? Have some consideration of others? Okay, that was a sexist, judgmental comment.
Marie Osmond famously touts NutriSystem and says it’s not how you look, but how you feel that matters. I think that’s bunk and they’re saying it to justify NOT getting the results most women would like to get when using a diet program. Ideally, I think we’d like to both feel good and look good and for most men and women I believe that is possible. This convention certainly wasn’t a showcase for that!
Another way to look at this question is to ask if fitness is about how you look or how you feel? I don’t think it’s an either/or; it’s a both. Even if your body-type is “thick” to use contemporary vernacular, you can look fit and strong (men or women).
I also learned that there five different kind of “figure” or fitness “beauty” competitions for women. Hello? In order of intensity and body-size: bodybuilding, physique, bikini, figure, and fitness. I didn’t learn if there is such variety for the guys, but I’d bet there’s not. Several of the women I met that were either trainers or fitness “beauty” competitors had interesting stories. Again, this wasn’t a scientific survey, but most seemed absolutely NOT interested in having kids.
One very well known (female) trainer “to the stars” lives in New York, was married, 40, and clearly did not want to be bothered having a family. Others just said they weren’t interested. While there’s no obvious correlation, I couldn’t help but wonder if all this self-involvement in how you look (and feel) is just that – self-involvement?
I’ve written about the baby (making) crisis and to a degree I felt many of the people attending this convention fit that mold of young adults not interested in having a family/children or even in marriage.
Then, there’s the intensity of some of these people. I felt that their religion was their business – the training, diet, exercise, equipment, etc. was what gave their life meaning. Teaching others to lead and live a healthy life is a wonderful thing but is this (lifestyle) too much?
Yes, these may all be superficial observations but isn’t the world superficial to a degree? There were lots of dichotomies present at this event and one odd-ball – me…