I used to think it was funny how often people in the fitness community talked about “haters.”
Social media in particular is filled with motivational posts and soapbox rants about “proving the haters wrong” or “not giving the doubters any satisfaction.”
And my initial thought was always, “C’mon, are there really that many ‘haters’ out there?”
I’ve come to realize that while there typically isn’t the horde of haters waiting to fling insults and ill will at every fitness-minded person that comes along – as many make it out to be – the sad reality is that when a person makes a commitment to being fit, active and in shape, animosity does rear its ugly head.
Perhaps most hurtful is that sometimes, the backlash comes from friends and family. Typically, this shows up in passive-aggressive behavior like back-handed compliments and rude remarks about you to others close to you.
Some even stoop so low as to use a person’s children against them, saying things like “Doesn’t going to the gym so much take away from the time you spend with your children?” or “Don’t you worry that you’re setting an example for your kids that it’s all about body image?”
For us Fit Dads, these words can sting in particular, as we know we’d do anything for our children, and part of being there for our kids includes being physically able to do so well into old age.
However, I’ve even found this kind of “hate” to be rare. It happens, but typically, these people are more nonchalant and unconcerned about people who take their fitness seriously rather than mean-spirited. The fitness lifestyle isn’t for them, and they’re OK with that.
Unfortunately, as I see it, most of the “hate” comes from within the fitness community.
Whether it’s a snide remark about your form behind your back from a fellow gym-goer when they don’t know your headphones are off, or a snippy comment like “someone obviously doesn’t train legs” on an Instagram pic, there are too many people in the fitness community concerned with tearing others down rather than offering support and positive-ity.
For whatever reason, these people feel it necessary to antagonize and belittle, and for what gain? For reasons I do not understand, some people take joy in tearing others down.
What a miserable existence.
Thankfully, there are WAY more people focused on encouragement and motivation rather than “hate.” That’s how I choose to present myself, because its who I am.
Even so, I think it’s necessary to reaffirm to everyone: Be a helper not a hater. Be a defender not a doubter. Be a backer not a battler.
Whether you’re just starting a fitness routine or have been at it for a while, make a conscious commitment to remain positive in your feedback and judgment of others.