A couple of days ago a friend sent me an ad for a mom fitness program, saying she thought of me and thought I might want it for market research. How kind of her to think of me and take the time to send it! It was helpful for market research, and I’m not in any way cringing because of her.
I’m cringing because of the ad. It had a beautiful woman talking about how the program is getting busy moms “fast transformations” in 15 minutes a day without gym equipment. So far so good! I’m all about finding solutions for fitness in the toughest situations.
Then she talks about seeing her friend drop the “extra baby jiggle” before her kid was 4 months old. She mentions being skeptical that the program could help her trim her “growing midsection” She proceeds to talk about “mom bod” and how happy she is to put on her skinny jeans. The ad ends with the phrase “get that MILF status”.
I’m not calling out the specific program because I actually don’t have a problem with it. Many people only work out for the physique benefits, and there’s nothing wrong with that. She talks about what she wants for her body, and doesn’t body shame other women. Do I love it? No. I prefer more body positive content. But that’s my personal preference, not a judgment.
What DOES bother me is that THIS IS THE DOMINANT NARRATIVE FOR MOMS.
You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been advised to change my marketing, because “most moms” don’t care about real fitness from the inside out. They just want to lose weight, look better, and maybe have more energy.
That’s fine! But there are other moms, too. There are moms who care about fitness performance. There are moms who care about holistic health. There are moms who care about the mental health benefits. There are moms who work out to live longer and healthier lives. Why should they be ignored?
They’re not totally ignored. They’re lumped into programs for “women”. Makes sense. Moms are women. But those programs don’t address the obstacles unique to moms. They cater to women who can get uninterrupted gym time. Apparently, if you don’t have someone to watch your kids while you work out you must not care that much about fitness. Wtf?
The truth is, many moms care deeply about fitness, and are interrupted a gazillion times and/or climbed on every time they try to work out. They fit it in whenever and however they can, and barely get any results because they don’t know what works under those conditions. They blame themselves for not having the willpower to wake up at 3am after 4 hours of interrupted sleep. And then when they seek help, most trainers either…
1. Tell them they have to lower their expectations because of their situation, or
2. Shame them, and tell them that if they really care they have to make time.
We need another narrative around moms and fitness, and moms
who want to reach high levels of fitness need programs designed around their needs. If I do my job right, all of those moms will one day be aware that there is another option for them.
Oh yea, and I’m not saying moms who strive for fitness from the inside out won’t look as good. Quite the opposite. Except for them, “MILF status” is a side effect.