First, the 12 Week Challenge
Let me start by saying that I was oddly disappointed to find out that the two women leading the challenge had breast implants. I have ZERO ISSUES with women wanting to get implants, I just take issue with people basically saying "follow this plan and you can look like me" and not mentioning that you can't look like them without going under the knife. The first thing us women lose when we lose weight is our chests. It's just a thing that happens and you can't do anything about it naturally. It's where I personally have lost the most fat/inches.
The NEXT thing that disenfranchised me was the person who actually WON the 12 week lean body for her challenge:
I actually don't have any real criticism for Save Fitness itself. I love the girls and I like that they have seminars about coping with the pressure of competing and they have "Post Show Wellness" seminars to help the competitors cope with life after the show. Allow me to elaborate on that: before a show, you spend WEEKS prepping for it. You are on a strict meal/workout plan that is very intense and you have to be very dedicated. The day of the show, you are at your leanest possible. After the show, you will bounce back and gain some weight because how you prepped is not sustainable for every day life (that and you will pretty much automatically gain water weight). A lot of people take that very hard, which is totally understandable (Lord knows I would).
My issue is with competing itself, not Save Fitness. It's just not for me. I have talked to really lean girls and seen pics of really lean girls and instead of thinking that they look amazing, they say stuff like "well, I'm not at my leanest" or "I need to lose 10% more body fat" (and I'm over here looking them up and down and going "But where will you lose it FROM?!") and stuff like that and it KILLS me because I'm pretty much all about Body Acceptance. I love myself even though I'm bigger and it looks like all they can see is what they need to change. I could be wrong, but that's what I've seen/heard. I look at myself and I see someone that I love. I am flawed, but I have a body that works with all of its limbs and not everyone has that. I am insanely grateful for my good fortune and it just saddens me to see people only seeing what they need to change when they have SO much already. You can want to change, but don't bash how you are now and only focus on your perceived flaws.
At Save Fitness, we had a seminar on beauty tricks for competing and some women will completely change their haircut and color just for a show so that it will look better with their tan/suit/the lighting. I realized that competing just is not for me shortly after this seminar. That person on the stage wouldn't look anything like the real me (for one, she would be orange and I am white as snow). I don't want to call it shallow because I have a lot of respect for the hard work and effort that they put into competing, but it just isn't for me because for me it would feel shallow. As they continually remind you, it's a very subjective sport and I don't really want to be judged based solely on my looks as I stand spray tanned in a bathing suit on a stage (though my clear plastic heels are kind of awesome).
It's Their Way or Your Wrong
I absolutely cannot eat clean 24/7 to save my life and a lot of people are like "you have to eat clean and have perfect macros to make any progress and to be healthy and you can't have these foods and blah blah blah." No, you just have to eat healthy and eat the "bad" stuff in moderation. I hated feeling bad about living my life and eating at someone's house. No, I'll just live my life and not care about how "clean" my food is, thanks. While I'm at it, no, I will not track EVERY bite I eat to make sure I meet my macros. UGH. I hate tracking my food. I hate it. I hate saying "I can't have this because it doesn't fit my macros" even if it's VEGETABLES or certain high sugar fruits. What, even the healthy food isn't healthy enough?! Yeah, following a strict meal plan is NOT for me.
Further, I hated following a prescribed and regimented workout plan. Hated it. I gave up running for months because "lifting and HIIT are better for you." I burned myself out being in the gym so much. I was lifting and doing intervals and quite frankly hating my life. I had given up running because "sustained cardio is boring and not as effective at burning fat." No, it's AWESOME and FUN and I LOVE it. I LOVE running. Lifting is alright. I still do some weight work every day, just not like I use to. I don't neglect my muscles, but I focus on being a better runner because it makes me happy. Who CARES if I'm not super lean? I'm HAPPY.
Overall, I guess the main thing I want to say to the "fitness industry" as a whole is "it's not you, it's me." This just isn't the life for me. I like eating healthy and running and just living my life in a fit way. I don't want to pose in just a sports bra showing off my abs. I don't want to spend 2+ hours in the gym each day and freak out about body fat and macros and everything else. I admire the people who can dedicate themselves so fully to the lifestyle, but it's just not for me. I'll be fit and healthy in my own way, a way that meshes with my life and makes me happy.
I have learned a TON by immersing myself in the world of the "fitness industry" and I don't regret it. It's just not a good fit for me personally and that's okay.
<3 - CFC