Is Fitness Becoming The New Religion? - StrongLife

Is Fitness Becoming The New Religion?


Is fitness becoming the new religion?

January 2020 is well underway.

And for many, that means kick-starting their health and fitness goals.

Whether it’s to run a 5km, 10km, marathon, climb a mountain, Squat your own bodyweight or maybe compete, everyone has different goals.

But as you dive deeper into your health and fitness regime, you’ll possibly read into various topics.

Keto, Vegan, Protein, Carbs, Detoxes, Strength training, Crossfit, Powerlifting, Running, workout clothes, exercises, warmups etc.

There’s a world of info out there.


Is fitness becoming the new religion?

Let me try to explain.

The Development Of Cults And Factions

Now first of all, when I mention cults or factions, I’m not talking about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh telling you to move to Oregon to set up a new community.

But, if you were to take an objective view of the fitness industry, it would be fair to view it as forming cults and factions.

Almost religion like.

Not a week goes by that you don’t hear or see the Vegan vs Meat debate.

Vegans impose their ideologies and beliefs and want everyone to stop eating meat.

Meat eaters are prone to ridiculing vegans.

Keto people push their agenda versus Carb eaters.

Then you have Bodybuilders and Powerlifters critiquing Crossfit.

Runners don’t always see the point in lifting weights.

Cyclists absorb the hate from drivers.

And so many Personal Trainers believe that their way is the best and only way to do it.

If you dive further into the health and fitness industry, you’ll find homeopaths pushing alternative medicine for better health.

And then of course, you’ve an absolute abundance of people out their selling you products deemed to be the key to your ultimate health and longevity, all in the process of taking your cash for their pyramid scheme.

The fitness industry has exploded in recent years thanks to the internet and social media.

However, it seems like it’s also creating those factions within it.

Fitness Is The New Religion

In only a matter of years, it appears that a lot more people around the world have become more health focused.

Parks are full of people walking, running, cycling and just being active.

It’s fantastic to see, especially with a rise in lifestyle related diseases.

But, is there a case that many fall into the trap of treating their form of exercise or diet like a religion?

It can be easy to become so attached to your exercise type or type of diet that you almost feel superior.

A pedestal is almost created.

By choosing that path to health and fitness, you feel you’re right.

And you may also inadvertently begin to preach your way to those around you.

Whether that’s in the office, social occasions or within your gym.

Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the thinking of “well anyone that doesn’t do it this way is stupid!”.

Now it doesn’t help when the “Click Bait” era of journalism has pushed us into propaganda and sensationalist headlines.

It also pays to have people argue in comment sections about who is right and who is wrong.

Living With The Blinkers On

But the other issue that arises is this:

As you believe more and more in your own method, be it exercise or diet, you tend to lean into confirmation bias.

Meaning you focus on surrounding yourself with people who believe in the same way.

You read the articles, listen to podcasts and watch the videos that support your beliefs.

And anything outside of that is plain bullshit, because it challenges your beliefs.

So then we end up with these biases, beliefs, cults and factions developing within the fitness industry.

When in reality, we all want to look better, feel better, have fitness to do fun stuff in life, stay strong into our later lives, feel confident in clothes and in the bedroom, have more good sex, and maintain health for longevity.

So why allow yourself to become a victim of the growing religion of fitness and instead follow a blend of things.

Lift weights to stay strong, maintain muscle mass and bone density for when you’re older. Plus, it makes you look and feel great.

Run, Hike or Cycle, because time outdoors is a fantastic way to clear your head, test your body and give yourself a good dose of natural hormones.

Years ago, people would plan when they’d sit down in the evenings due to manual labour.

Nowadays, we have to plan when we move as the world has evolved into a more technological focus.

So when you choose to run, hike or cycle, be sure to swap the treadmill, stepper or stationary bike for the outdoors.

Eat good food to be healthy, because staying healthy means more time to go on adventures.

Maintaining a healthy body weight is a great predictor of future health.

And you don’t need to assign yourself to a buzzword diet.

Instead, you can focus on eating more vegetables for nutrition, fibre and micronutrients, meats for protein, butters, oils and nuts for fat, and use your carbs to fuel your exercise and workouts.

And focus on reducing your consumption of processed foods, especially those you’re prone to overeating and heavy in sugar.

Reduce stress and improve sleep quality, because without keeping tabs on stress levels, things can unravel mentally.

And with more and more distractions from phones and Netflix, our sleep can become disrupted.

So aim to take necessary downtime to de-stress and set some ground rules for bedtime so you get 7-8 hours in the cot.

Look after your mental health, because life will always throw up times of adversity, challenges and struggle.

So look at ways you can simply unwind, relax and give yourself a strategy to deal with all that goes on.

That could be a walk by the sea, taking time away from social media, socialising with friends or taking some days away to chill and relax.

And read some books that give you perspective on life.


Overall, we should spend less time treating fitness like a religion, and more time improving ourselves by using the different methods and modalities to become fitter, healthier and stronger.

By removing yourself from those of opposing views, you may also be removing yourself from the chance to learn.

Lift, hike, run, cycle, dance, eat, and have fun.

We’re not here long enough to be falling out with one another over a few carbs or weights.

Let’s all just focusing on building longevity so we can keep on doing fun things in life so that whenever our final day comes, we can look back at all the adventures we had along the way.

Give it socks throughout 2020!


Colm Duignan

Colm Duignan

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