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TALKBACK everyone’s talking about . . .

celebrity fi tness T

he switch in editorial focus in women’s magazines – from plastic surgery to exercise – has to be good

news for our industry, doesn’t it? Surely teenage girls, or young women who stopped sport once they left school, might be motivated to get fi t if they see the positive impact exercise has had on their favourite celebrities? Yet with Central YMCA research

suggesting 90 per cent of women want to see more diverse images in the media and advertising, do these celebrity pictures represent an unattainable goal, out of reach for the average person? Does it give

the message that great abs are only achievable if you have the fi nancial means to hire a PT and several hours a day to devote to training? Do these images of perfect bodies – however they are achieved – just make the vast majority of people feel inadequate? Former Equalities Minister Lynne

Featherstone says young people are being set an impossible standard in the media and advertising, which can erode their self-esteem. So is the celebrity trend a good one for us to capitalise on, and build campaigns around, or is it a dangerous bandwagon to jump on? Jon Roberts, co-owner of Matt Roberts Personal Training – which

david stalker fitness industry association • ceo


ny media coverage which puts a stronger focus on the health

and fitness sector is positive and helps to communicate the mission of the FIA and its members: to get more people, more active, more often. I’d like to think the positive change

in focus in the consumer media is partly due to our sector’s work to

build relationships with journalists, and to provide innovation in our offerings as exercise providers to capture the public’s imagination. Also, it can’t be over-emphasised what the home Olympics have done for exercise and sport; already we are seeing peaks in interest in people wanting to take up a new activity and emulate our Olympians. This, coupled with strong and widespread media coverage of academic research – such as The Lancet report released in July on the dangers of inactivity – has pushed health and fitness up the media agenda. We need to use this publicity to drive forward and target

the large percentage of the population who are still inactive. In addition, the sector needs to continue building relationships with health and fitness journalists, to give writers the support needed to get more impact. We should not fear the media.

” 30

kath hudson • journalist • health club management

A scan of the newsagent’s shelves will show that botox is so last summer. Now it’s all about celebrities toning up with exercise. Is this an opportunity that we should be capitalising on?

counts The Saturdays and David Cameron among its clients – says he has lost count of the number of people who have said they want Kylie’s bottom, even though their bone structure means it would never happen. Rather than burst their bubble, he says it’s possible to convince them what they actually want is tone and shape, which is achievable. And surely there’s a balance in all of

this, whereby we celebrate the current focus on exercise without giving people unrealistic expectations. The question is: how do we do this? Do we hitch a ride on all this publicity with direct campaigns, or just make the most of any interest generated? We ask the experts.


rosi prescott central ymca • chief executive

active, I think it’s important not to focus too heavily on the ‘body beautiful’. Most celebrities have personal trainers, dietitians and ample time to exercise, so the end result is unrealistic and unattainable for most people. Aspirational images of celebrities


might inspire some people, but since two-thirds of the country is overweight or obese, the images are just too far removed to be motivating for most. Research from Cambridge University showed that women are 200 per cent more likely to buy a product if the image shown is like them. We welcome any shift in editorial focus which extols the

benefits of exercise, although we are keen to see a greater diversity of models used by the media to promote health and fitness. Aspiring to look like some of the ‘perfect bodies’ which are often associated with health and fitness could set people up for negative cycles of exercise and dieting, or even deter people from starting in the first place. Instead, we would advocate promoting the many other benefits of exercise – for example, the fact that it makes you feel better, is sociable and fun.

” Read Health Club Management online at october 2012 © cybertrek 2012

hile we welcome anything that promotes being physically

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