Oh boy, Jillian Michaels is back! Instead of fat shaming on The Biggest Loser, she’s screaming at aspiring fitness trainers on the new reality show Sweat Inc. (airing in October.) The trailer reveals the formula for fitness industry success: chiseled abs, flexing the ego, cashing in, and of course, lots of screaming.
For starters, contestants obviously must conform to the mesomorphic, young, tanned, toned and perpetually oiled-up ideal. They invent gizmos, perform flashy stunts, and turn themselves into a branded cult of personality. They design programs that promise to pummel everyone into having washboard abs. If The Biggest Loser taught us anything, it’s that we can ignore any of the long term consequences of our exercise/diet programs. The more intense, the more outrageous, and the more gimmicky, the better.
So what does this new show do for folks watching at home? Does the parade of tricks, sports bras, and elaborately-branded exercises motivate anyone to get off the couch? I’m doubtful. When being a fitness professional becomes more about selling than teaching, the audience becomes passive consumers. We don’t need another line of DVDs and protein powders.
Instead of sitting, watching, and buying, the folks at home need a place to start. They need to learn how to relieve pain, increase movement skills, and manage emotions with exercise.
We need a fresh crop of fitness leaders and they deserve to make a solid living, but we need educators more than celebrities. We need folks who study how the human body works, how the psyche organizes around movement, and how to exercise sustainably. We need consistency, inclusion, and playful intensity. I suggest a bit more teaching and a little less screaming.
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