7 Toxic Fitness Phrases To Stop Using Immediately

Toxic language and gym culture can go hand in hand.

There is no standard definition of toxic language. But within fitness culture, you can think of these as phrases that spread the false belief that lean or muscular bodies are morally better or healthier than others, says Brit Guerin, a licensed mental health counselor and co-owner of Current Wellness, a weight-inclusive wellness center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Fitness culture has bought into the idea that fitness has a different look, says Lauren Pack, a body-positive personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) in Londonderry, New Hampshire. “Fitness marketing and messaging often end up revolving entirely around appearance, as opposed to the hundreds of other benefits of exercise, such as improved strength, bone health, heart health and self-esteem.”

Toxic language can also be involved in the way people talk to each other in the gym – and many of them don’t realize the harm they’re doing. They may be trying to motivate themselves to make healthy changes, but “it’s a lot harder to stay motivated and consistent with your workouts when you’re constantly telling yourself you’re not good enough,” Pack says.

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