In the last couple of weeks people were all over social media criticizing the Peloton ad which featured a very slim woman chronicling her daily use of her Peloton bike, a gift from her husband. Common comments were, “what is this woman going down from 116lbs to 112lbs?” because of course the advertising company chose an already fit woman to advertise fitness equipment and many people found this choice insulting.

So here would have been my ad:

Man pulls up into the garage with his car after a long day at work. That bike is staring at him in the garage next to his weight set which is collecting dust. He gets out of his car, he is 50-60lbs overweight, his pants are sliding down due to his large stomach. He is trying to balance his backpack as he gets out of the car, in his overcrowded garage and out comes his 12-year-old daughter from the side door to the house.

“Hi Dad, Mom says dinner isn’t ready for 30 minutes so here, I will put on the Football game (she flicks on the TV) for you and you can work out before you come in and here is a bottle of water. Love you!” She kisses him on the cheek.
He smiles and gets on his bike. We feel the love he feels for his family as they want him to be healthier.

Ahhhhh Why don’t we see this kind of advertisement for exercise equipment? Why is it always beautiful people doing exercises on YouTube videos, on Instagram and in television commercials? Those perfect bodies are so unrealistic to most people. Is that encouraging to watch an already perfect person work out? Are these made to just embarrass and humiliate the average person and upset us as this national Peloton ad did?

Here is American reality. 70% of Americans are obese or overweight according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
This is what my average client looks like; carrying too much weight, body hurts from the pain of being overweight or other body pains such as knee, hip and shoulder issues, take many prescription drugs to take care of the symptoms of their pains, and stressed out from desk jobs of well over 50 hours a week and their busy lives. They don’t even know where to begin and come to me to help them learn how to work out without hurting themselves and the most important part- how to learn how not to QUIT working out once they start. Working out is hard when you start from ground zero; your heart races, you get nauseous, you sweat a lot and sometimes it just plain hurts, so find someone to help that understands how to get you where you want to be with your life.

Most people know they need to exercise and eat better and I love helping them fit this new lifestyle into their lives. Our modern American lives are busy but if we don’t fit health and fitness into our lives, we die in pain and way too early. In the past 3 years, the average life expectancy of Americans has gone down due to obesity and other lifestyle choices(CDC again). Choices—this is the important word. We can choose as human beings to live healthier lifestyles.

If you have a family member or friend who needs some help getting into a better place with their exercise and dietary choices, gently help them with encouragement. Take them on walks, throw a ball, drink lots of water and not sugared drinks, laugh. Yes, laugh and learn that happiness makes us want to feel better physically also.

Encouragement, not humiliation, is the key to moving into a body that is healthier and happier not just physically but mentally.