Mind Your Words: Fitness Entitlement Epidemic

“What you end up being good at is usually what you didn’t mind being bad at…” Salman Khattak (Oct. 13, 2018 – Calligraphy Workshop)


Physical DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, CONDITIONING … all great words and then you get involved in fitness. Here you are instantly thrown into the sales pitch of what can you do better; and what do you want to look like or be …

How glorious it would be if we were encouraged to embrace exercise as a practiced skill first instead of a means of getting what you want. Let what you want be the byproduct of developing your movement skill.

  • What if being skinny or the runners high was simply the byproduct of heart health/conditioning? 
  • What if we didn’t drive our conditioning before understanding our current condition? 
  • What if we choose food for nourishment instead of image, reward or punishment? 
  • What if a great booty was simply a byproduct of learning to squat properly?

The what if list of questions is endless really.

So often as instructors we witness clients becoming completely frustrated with themselves because they ‘can’t do an exercise.’ OR they immediately move as big and as bold as they can with maximum effort. Thus neglecting the body and brain the time or tempo we all need to digest what is required to complete the movement with ease and efficiency. When this happens at the studio, we have started to gently question clients.

  • When have you ever produced this movement previous to now? 
  • What opportunities have you found to repeat this movement with conscious effort?
  • What do you believe the point is in this exercise? 

The answer is often never, or I don’t know.  This doesn’t make someone good or bad, fit or unfit, it simply is a byproduct of the life we lead; we could call it a societal trap. 

Movement and exercise (fitness) is at the bottom of societies hierarchy of what we should learn or educate ourselves around.

Instead fitness is something we do to get something we want; and because we want it and we showed up to ‘get it done’ we expect our bodies to perform without question and give us the results we said we wanted. 

This culture of entitlement has merged or perhaps has always been a part of the ever expanding  bubble of fitness trends. 


Want to move past entitlement? To embrace exercise with intention try this:

Step one:
Learn what your body can do in it’s current state (be in the moment); spend time being curious about what connections in your body you can make easily, what comes naturally to you and what are the concepts that need some developmental time and care. 

Step two: 
Spend some time there, where you are.

’See What Is’ ― Pema Chödrön, Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

Spend time in exercise learning and experiencing.
Ditch the labels and the constant push towards striving for better.
Remember better is based on a knowing or understanding what is.

  • What are your base lines? 
  • Who are you right now? 
  • What do you value? 
  • How will taking care of your physical being find priority in your life?

Step three:
Only then set your goals.
With self compassion and realism.

Step four:
Return to step one …. Be aware of the “wash, rinse, repeat” cycle of fitness; (this saying is a sarcastic metaphor for following instructions or procedures slavishly without critical thought)

“Expansion never happens through greediness or pushing or striving. It happens through some combination of learning to relax where you already are and, at the same time, keeping the possibility open that your capacity, my capacity, the capacity of all beings, is limitless. As we continue to relax where we are, our opening expands.”― Pema Chödrön, Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion