Fitspo for the Few.

I understand, it’s been a while. I have been incredibly busy (read: stressed) with work and life in general. Now that I finally have some time on my hands, I thought I’d get stuck in with a topic that has been on my mind for a while, and was also one of the main motivations behind me choosing to blog my weight/fitness journey.

UPDATE: Since I started writing this blog post, I actually ended up with a UTI (yay me), hence the delay in getting this posted.

So, back to the story. People who are trying to get fit/lose weight can probably resonate with my sentiments when it comes to finding inspiration to achieve our goals. In the past we may have been inspired by our favourite sports stars or even supermodels, but fast forward to the age of social media, and all you need to do is log onto Instagram, and realise just how saturated the market is for fitness inspiration.

Now i’m not saying thats a bad thing, in fact, I think it’s fantastic that so many fitness-conscious individuals are just a few phone taps away should you ever need advice. I’m not talking about celebrities who have joined social media. I’m talking about the ones who know what they’re talking about. Think about the likes of Kayla Itsines, Emily Skye and Ana Cheri. Daily, they’re inspiring millions of people with photos of their perfectly sculpted bodies and words of wisdom and encouragement (not the mention their own fitness routines too). I myself follow these women, and they have served as great inspiration to push myself towards my goals, but even then, I can’t help but feel that there’s something missing in order for me to become fully connected to the world of health, fitness and everything in between – South Asian women.

There’s no doubt that perhaps there are South Asian female fitspos out there, but if they are, they’ve certainly been doing a good job of hiding away. Or perhaps they have been hidden away? Some may find it absurd that I have this requirement from a fitspo, but I honestly feel like I could connect more with someone who I know can empathise with some of the struggles which are specific to my culture or ethnic background. Pair this together with the fact that there are barely any South Asian women in the mainstream media within the health/fitness/sports sphere, and it makes for a depressing situation.

I only ever really thought about this is detail after I was sorting out my magazine collection a couple of weeks ago. If you’re anything like me, you like to hoard things for no apparent reason, telling yourself that “they’ll come in handy later” (which is clearly never the case). In particular, I like to hoard copies of Women’s Health magazine, and when I was sorting through them, I noticed something astonishing. Let’s see if you can spot it (although the snapchat caption may give it away).

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When I flicked through the pages of them again, I noticed the same trend. In the Iskra Lawrence edition, there was literally one woman of colour. In another edition, there were only two. I find this both shocking and worrying in equal measure. Now i’m not claiming to have gone through every edition of Women’s Health, and it may be (or most likely is) the case that they have featured a woman of colour on the cover. In fact, I just did a google image search of “Women’s Health Covers”, and the results speak for themselves. The covers rarely feature a woman of colour, and never would it be someone of South Asian descent.

It makes me feel like the health and fitness industry is being tailored to such an extent, that a whole demographic is being excluded from equal representation. In a society where I already feel marginalised due to my religious beliefs and ethnic background, this really does not sit well psychologically.

And this is exactly the reason why I started this blog. I realised that there were little or no South Asian female fitspos that people, particularly women, could identify with. I wanted to create a forum whereby health and fitness would become more inclusive, and people would be able to discuss issues which are sometimes specific to a certain culture. It’s a humble ambition, but I guess we all have to start somewhere eh?

Again, I’d like to reiterate, I am not claiming to be an expert, and I’m certainly not claiming to be a fitspo either. Neither am I belittling the fantastic work that existing women in the health and fitness industry do. It goes without saying that these individuals have worked incredibly hard to be where they are with their health and fitness, as well as build themselves professionally, and that in itself is inspiring to see. What I am doing, however, is calling out the media for not seeking out opportunities to bring ethnic minority (especially female) fitspos to the fore, so that we can create a more inclusive and diverse fitness experience for everyone.

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