Hot Girl Summer.
Body positivity or toxic fitness culture?
I've been seeing a lot of content recently with the hashtag and title "hot girl summer."
And at first, this got me annoyed because it seems to be everything that's wrong with the fitness community (short-term gains, obsession with aesthetics, toxic dieting), but then I tried to view it in a positive light.
I think what it comes down to is two things. We're going to unpack it in this blog post (and video).
It looks like we have a glass half empty glass half full kind of situation.
(1) How inclusive is the definition of "hot girl"?
If there's one definition of hot girl that could be toxic fitness territory if there's more than one definition that's better. That's body positivity in that case.
Does it allow you to celebrate looking the way you want to look as opposed to the way you think people want you to look? There's nothing wrong with going for a fit, muscular body if that's what you want and what makes you happy, and without putting enormous pressure on the aesthetics. It doesn't mean that you're a failure if you don't.
Is it inclusive of multiple (healthy) body types and the emphasis is more on the feeling of being a hot girl as opposed to the aesthetics of a hot girl. And also this is subjective, what you might consider a "hot girl" might be different from what another person might view as a hot girl. Is it more about the feeling that archetype exudes or are we taking it literally based on society's definition of a hot girl?
And also, why does the emphasis need to be on summer. What about hot girl winter? And that brings me to the next point.
(2) Does this promote short-term or long-term goals?
Is it just to get that summer bod or is it to cultivate a love for lifelong fitness? Fitness that's just as important when we're 100 as it is now.
Having the primary focus be the health and energy you have and the byproduct of that being the aesthetics is a more sustainable approach and less stressful.
In my experience when focusing on aesthetics only it can be very easy to fall into body dysmorphia and also never be satisfied even when you reach milestones with your goals because where does it end when do you stop and say wow I reached my goal or are you in a constant state of yearning to achieve something that might not even be worth your time energy or mental space that just continues for perpetuity.
Once you get the perfect leg definition then you move on to perfect stomach definition then you move on to perfect arm definition and where does it end.
However when the focus is energy levels and how healthy you are you can appreciate all that your body can do for you and what a marvel and privilege it is to be able to move your body the way you do with the byproduct being the toned figure the muscles and the aesthetics that you get from let's say strength training.
This approach in my experience helps calcify the idea that change takes time but if you focus on how you feel you'll be able to feel better more quickly and get the results of how you feel rather than necessarily the results in your physical appearance because building muscle becoming leaner whatever your goals might be that takes more time then feeling really good after a walk or after a workout so focusing on the feeling can be mentally more satisfying and calming then obsessing over things like growing your glutes, growing your thighs, “shrinking your waist” (healthier approach: strengthening your core)… those kinds of things.
In any event, when you stick with a fitness routine and you have healthy eating patterns, and good sleep and recovery, the aesthetics will happen and when we just let it unfold and let the process run its course we might be happier for it and less stressed about the process.
Sometimes it's just better to let go. Let the process run its course. Trust in the process. The results will follow and the progress will unfold.
So my takeaway is hot girl summer is what you make it out to be.
If you find strength and power in this archetype and define it along with the terms that empower you then I'd say that great. And the more personal meaning you ascribe to it the more likely it'll become part of your lifelong fitness journey as opposed to something that is focused solely on aesthetics and short-term gains.
So that's my two cents. I'm curious what your thoughts are about "hot girl summer" is it body positivity or is it symptomatic of toxic fitness culture? Share that with me :)