Regression in Fit Culture: A Victoria’s Secret Triumph

Before we get to the junk food that is the content of this particular blog post today (soul-baring confessionals are only something I can dole out periodically, please stay tuned for another semi-emotional-break in two or three weeks’ time), I want to give you an illustration of my current status as a human being who ingests stuff and lifts weights:

putting my artistic talents to good use, right here.
putting my artistic talents to good use, right here.

This is actually on the white board stuck to our fridge right now. And it’s a week old. Because this was drawn in homage to my last carb-loading meal, not tonight’s. Tonight’s was awesome. Do you want to know what I ate? No, no one wants to know what anyone on the Internet eats, as evidenced by the currently-trendy backlash against Instagram photos of food taken by those who then may or may not have eaten it after sharing it with the group of people on the Internet they stalk and by whom they are stalked. I scoff at your censure and raise you a list of what I ate this evening:

From Chili’s:

1 triple appetizer shared with Boyfriend Kyle–except I’m pretty sure I ate more of it. And by “pretty sure” I mean “straight up certain”

1 entire rack of ribs

1 cup of black beans

1 serving of fries

some of Kyle’s onion rings because he apparently couldn’t finish his dinner tonight and it was smaller than mine I WIN AGAIN

1 chocolate chip bar dessert thing a la mode which was goddamn good and I’m not really a dessert person but I happily eat anything with gusto on these carb meal nights right now.

So that was fun. Also, I deadlifted 255 x 6 at 110 lb bodyweight yesterday so no judging. Not that I give a damn if the Internet is judging. I’d be stupid if I expected the Internet not to judge. The Internet is expressly FOR the purpose of judging. Duh.

And I’m about to do some of it myself. Victoria’s Secret, What. The F*ck. Is this:

This is one of many images one runs across on the Internet that inspires a “what is this I don’t even.” I found it on the “Health and Fitness” section of Pinterest. Yes, I’m on Pinterest. I caved. I went over to the dark side. Feminism is falling, and it is at the hands of Pinterest. That is not an argument I’m interested in taking up in today’s post or probably any day’s post, but go ahead and ponder it if you have an interest in the site. I WILL say that Pinterest’s Health and Fitness section is one of the most horrifying “fitness”-focused collections of blithering nonsense I’ve come across on the Internet, ever. And I come across a lot of them, even here, on WordPress. Seriously, go ahead and look around the “fitness” category on WordPress and then come back here telling me you have seen much regarding accurate, insightful lifting theory and discussion.

I’ve wanted to write a blog post regarding Pinterest’s H&F section for a few weeks now. In preparation for this post, I’ve clicked my way over to that section multiple times and after 5-10 minutes of perusing am so depressed that I no longer want to write a blog post at all. So I  don’t think you’re going to get a full-blown discussion of how awful the crap is that people are posting on Pinterest about “taming tummies” and “10 10-minute thigh-jiggle fixes” and general pining for bodies that look the way they look not only because of damn good strength training dedication but also (ding!) genetics predisposing those bodies to have x muscle groups inclined towards development or (ding!) skeletal proportions that the Pinterest user probably doesn’t have and therefore shouldn’t be hoping to emulate because you can’t fix your goddamn bone lengths. You know what I don’t see on Pinterest H&F ever? Anyone posting about a 10 lb PR on a squat or a clean or whatever. There is never anyone posting about actual, quantifiable strength goals on that site. Ever. Ever! I’m just going to give up now. There is no use trying. Actually, I really don’t go on the H&F section that often–read: almost never–so admittedly I have taken a small cross section of what is actually posted there into account. But I am pretty sure I’m right about this one. I’m just right, okay? Obviously.

A big part of weight lifting, but not all of it, and some types of weight lifting more than others, is about increasing your strength. You can lift weights to have a nicer ass all day. Actually, you probably can’t, because at some point you’re going to need to use the bathroom or call your mother back or something. Actually redux, if you’re lifting weights to improve your ass in a relatively uninterrupted fashion all day, you’re probably doing it wrong. An improved ass CAN be a side-effect of lifting, but a truly improved ass is one that’s probably stronger than where it was pre-improvement. So take whatever “Victoria’s Secret Workout omgomgomg” links you’re finding with a massive grain of salt.

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11 thoughts on “Regression in Fit Culture: A Victoria’s Secret Triumph

  1. Hey, I wanted to leave a comment to say how much I agreed with your opinion on the horrendous Victoria Secret “workout”. It would be great if you could drop me an email at: blog@tribesports.com It would be great to work with you on a guest post to promote some solid fitness information to our readers.

    Thanks,

    Adrian

  2. I sincerely thought the VS workout was a joke. There goes my faith in (wo)mankind. I totally agree with you—it’s just shameful.

    You know, since I started lifting heavy, I’ve really tried to suppress the “your warmup is my workout” kind of snobbery I’d seen online, esp. among my CrossFitting friends. But it’s SO HARD not to snark on girls who do 10 “sexy bends” or whatever and then post all over Facebook about their killer workout. It makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out, and although I’m morally opposed to the humble-brag status update, I find it so hard not to post about my back squat PRs when some chick talks about being sore from doing “lovely lunges” or Zumba.

    1. I agree. It’s a really hard balance to strike and some of the “heavy lifters” do a better job at it than others. Being condescending is just not productive I do TRY not to do so, although I know it slips out sometimes. I think I am saddened more by the misinformation that various companies and enterprises make money off of and how badly we are unable, as a culture, to define the word “fitness” these days. So I don’t want to call individual people on their misguided workouts, but I will call a misguided workout itself out. Just keep doing what you’re doing and inspire people with it.

  3. I’m starting to think that the world ending last December may have been a good thing. That workout was not a joke! I, God forgive me, checked out her website. She is real, real, real. I have to go bang my head on the wall now .

    1. oh yeah. And people will do this workout because it’s probably fun/not that hard to do. And I guess that’s fine…but it’s misleading to call it anything other than “posing practice.”

  4. uhhhmmm… totally agree with the horrendous of all mentioned… but, why the critique directed at Pinterest as a site? It is all user generated/uploaded content; it’s composition is a comment on the users themselves, not the site/service.

    1. You’re absolutely right. But…I don’t think that critiquing the community for which the world “Pinterest,”–actually, I narrow my focus very specifically down to the Pinterest Health and Fitness section in this post–functions as a symbol is entirely off-base. I’m not sure that, aside from the somewhat facetious sentence stating “feminism is falling, and it is at the hands of Pinterest,” I really don’t consider myself to be condemning Pinterest as a website at large here. I love it. And I appreciate it for how it can be used. And you’re right, users do determine the content. I’m trying to address an entire section of the website that, based on mostly homogenous user input, gels into one scrolling wall of fallacies. The section needs different voices, as its collective voice (and the collective voice I’m addressing, or tried to address here) is disturbing in the form in which it currently exists.

      I appreciate you pointing this out though. It’s an important element of Pinterest that its critics need to be reminded of. Again, I’m addicted to the site, and use it a lot. I think my username is just “Janis Babyeater Finkelman” if anyone cares to add me/see my boards on there. Prepare for some pretty girly stuff along with art stuff.

  5. Oh hai, 6 months later…

    Great article! That Victoria Secrets pic makes me want to stab baby seals. WTF. I’m also on pinterest and frequently use the “everything” search. Lawdy, the bullsh*t I see. I contemplate creating a board entitled “Stuff that makes me want to punch someone in the face.”

    Otherwise, I’ve found a handful of decent stuff on pinterest.. and honestly, a lot of it is disguised as crap. I wouldn’t have found it if I didn’t want to roll my eyes hahaha But more importantly, awesome lady lifters like us need to put that stuff on pinterest. I have a fitness programming board that contains links from beastskills and Jim Steel.

    Together, we can dilute the amount of complete and utter, stabby-makin’, bull hooie we see.

    1. haha, love it! And yes, honestly, with the size of Pinterest, it’s just inevitable that SOMETHING good is going to posted on there regarding lifting. There are actually many links to the solid lifting websites (elitefts, etc.) on Pinterest, and yes, female powerlifters have a presence there–which is fantastic. I tend to use Pinterest for artistic and materialistic escapism–not for lifting inspiration (I don’t really use much of anything for lifting inspiration, honestly). Your board sounds fantastic!

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