Three cheers for these realistic and inclusive fitness ads!

By Lauren Mazzo
Updated: March 19, 2019

Although the body-positive movement has evolved, health and fitness advertisements often look the same: Fit bodies working out in elegant spaces. It can be tough to face the world of Instagram fit-lebrities, lithe ad campaign models, and the ultra-fit celebs we see in media on a daily basis. Sometimes they're exactly what we need for inspiration and motivation, but they can also create unattainable standards for most people. And while working out is all about feeling your best and getting healthy, it seems the emphasis on looking good isn't far from mind.

But the reality is, a healthy body doesn't look the same for everyone (and it rarely includes a six-pack). And one fitness chain-Blink Fitness (an affordable gym with 50 locations in the New York City area)-takes that seriously and has strived to do things differently for the past few years. In 2017, for example, Blink's health and fitness advertisements didn't feature toned, perfect fitness models or pro athletes, but regular members of their gym. The "Every Body Happy" marketing campaign featured real people with real bodies of all shapes and sizes. (BTW-here at Shape, we're *all* about being your Personal Best.)

The gist: Any active body is a happy body. (Seriously-it's time to give your shape some love.) "'Fit' looks different on everyone and we celebrate that," said Ellen Roggemann, VP of Marketing for Blink Fitness, in a press release announcing the campaign. In encouraging "Mood Above Muscle," they're hoping to place "less focus on physical results and more on the mood-boosting potential that comes from being active," according to the release. Blink also commissioned a survey that showed that 82 percent of Americans say it's more important for them to feel good than to look good. That's why they wanted their health and fitness advertisements to praise and welcome all bodies in their facilities-because any active body is a happy body.

In 2016, Blink asked their members to post an Instagram flaunting their confidence and explaining why they should be chosen. They narrowed the 2,000 submissions down to 50 semi-finalists and had them audition in front of a star-studded panel; actress Dascha Polanco (Dayanara Diaz on Orange is the New Black) and former NFL punter Steve Weatherford. In the end, they picked 16 people who embodied the various shapes, sizes, and fitness abilities of the members of Blink. (If you love this, you need these body-positive self-love hashtags in your life.)

While we're all about scoring our best bodies (because there's no shame in wanting to get stronger, faster, or fitter), it's pretty damn nice to see some regular ol' humans in fitness ads, instead of people who dedicate their entire lives to exercise. (Question: Can you love your body and still want to change it?)

And most people agree with that; roughly 4 out of 5 Americans say their relationship with their body could be improved, and almost two-thirds say that it's discouraging to work towards unrealistic body images they see in the media, according to a study commissioned by Blink. That's why they promoted their campaign with sayings like, "The best body is your body," and "sexy is a state of mind, not a shape of body."

Can we get a "yassss"?

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