6 Things to Stop Saying in the Fitness Industry or to Simply Be a Better Human

Allison Tenney Mindset

  1. “Those People”

If you use this phrase to refer to another group of people as inferior or to dismiss someone’s concerns or beliefs simply because they are not your own, we have a problem. To separate and see as “other” denies someone’s humanity. While it may seem minor to you to simply brush off a request or dismiss beliefs because they are not your own, this is a slippery slope into deplorable behavior that must be called out. Enough said. The intent and purpose behind this statement absolutely matters. Please check yourself if you seem to brush off groups of people or their concerns with this phrase. There is no them, only us.


  1. “Stay motivated”

Motivation is key if you are going to tackle any fitness goal (or goals in general). BUT motivation is an emotion, and like all emotions, can come and go. You cannot remain motivated all the time. Instead, connect to your WHY. Ask yourself why this goal is so important to you. How does it align with your life’s values? How will it make you feel? That’s something you can always come back to, even when motivation is running low.


  1. “No Pain, No Gain”

Are we really still saying this to clients and people in general? Please stop.

Yes, you have to test physical and mental boundaries to improve. I agree. There is research that backs up stress related growth… But this reductionist viewpoint assumes we ONLY grow and improve by increasing stress ALONE. This is not only wrong, it’s dangerous. Humans thrive and improve in conditions where they feel secure and supported. You must provide mechanisms for rest and recovery. This is JUST as important as the stress stimulus you are putting on your clients. You need both sides of the spectrum to see healthy, sustainable changes to your overall health – intensity AND recovery.


  1. “It’s a choice”

I am a firm believer that we have what my friend Jill Coleman (@jillfit) calls “radical responsibility.” We always have a choice in any situation as to how to react and handle it. This is a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset and is critical if you want to take ownership of your life. AND, some people have an advantage to the choices that are put in front of them. It was Glennon Doyle (@glennondoyle) that said “many of us were born on third base thinking we hit a triple, while others starve outside the ball park.” Make sure to check your privilege before dumping the responsibility of ‘choices’ that YOU may have but are not afforded to others, such as money for gym equipment, a membership, fancy yoga pants, or even feeling safe in your own body to go for a walk. Use your privilege to create safe and welcoming spaces and fight for those who need it.


  1. “No excuses (just results)”

This one might be the biggest racket run on people in the fitness industry, or in general. This way of thinking forces us into a narrow-minded and shame ridden mindset. A “no excuses” approach assumes we all have the same circumstances…which we obviously do NOT. It ignores the fact that I may have very good reasons for not achieving my fitness goals, and these reasons need to be differentiated from excuses. Not all of us have the same opportunities, resources, privileges, and motivations. Are these excuses? Or simply reasons why a person may struggle with physical, mental, and emotional health in a way that is different from you. So I say No to “no excuses” and embrace a “what are your reasons,” approach.


  1. “I don’t mean to be rude, but…”

Are you R. Kelly about to singe ‘Remix to Ignition’? Then don’t finish this sentence. Better yet, don’t even start. Unless:

  • I have toilet paper on my shoe
  • I have something in my teeth
  • You’re letting me know you just farted so I can vacate the area

Those are acceptable. That’s it. Please keep all you other rude opinions to yourself.

I’m sure there are plenty more sayings we should cut out of the fitness industry and just not say to be a better human. Language matters. Words matter. Consider the impact before speaking, and if that impact is harmful or negative, apologize.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou.