The Fitness Inequality Gap*

Thursday, 14 January 2016, By James Drury

When I entered the Fitness Industry as a Personal Trainer eight years ago, running a half marathon was an impressive feat. And, for the vast majority of people, it still is a wonderful achievement to be extremely proud of.

The fitness elite, however, have pushed on. For these people, half marathons became marathons and are now ultra-marathons. Ironman events are standard fare, body fat decreased and heavier weights lifted. When these events proved achievable we started to combine different pursuits for an additional challenge.

All of this is a natural progression, particularly in the world of social media. The rule of competition means that this trend will only continue through fitness 'one-upmanship' as these fabulous achievements are shared amongst our ever interconnected social circles. This group of people continue to demonstrate the amazing adaptive capabilities of the human body with consistent training.

The fit are getting fitter, faster and stronger than ever before.

It must be said, this trend is not restricted to health and fitness pursuits. We see the same in other areas of our lives including wealth, career, relationships, and even friendship 'success' (see, '#squadgoals').

There is of course, the other side of the coin. Most of us are familiar with the growing income/wealth inequality gap. The richest three people in the world have as many financial assets as the bottom 730 million and the gap is widening. Within Australia, the real incomes of the top 10% are roughly 12 times the amount of the bottom 10% and the gap has grown over the last 20 years at a rate of approximately 4:3.

We are seeing the same in the area of health and fitness. Whilst the fit are progressing, rates of obesity are increasing. In Australia, approximately 5% of people are joining the ranks of overweight and obese every ten years (currently at around 65% but predicted to be over 70% by 2025).

Put simply, we are witnessing an ever-increasing fitness inequality gap.

Wealth is a relative, not absolute measure. That is, if everyone receives an extra dollar the end result is inflation, not increased wealth. For one to gain, another must not gain. Health and fitness, however, can be absolute. Meaning, the incredible achievements of the fitness elite do not need to come at the expense of others' progression. Everyone can become healthier regardless of where others are at.

The relative (scarce) resource that seems to be causing the issue is confidence. The increased confidence obtained by the fit may be coming at the expense of the confidence of those becoming increasingly unhealthy. There is one key message that needs to be communicated to turn this around, and it has been often described as, 'don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20'.

For those looking to commence their chapter 1, there are many people who would be more than happy to help you put pen to paper. There are Personal Trainers, Ironmen, and Ultra-Marathoners who are more than happy to take you for a short walk. You don't need to know where the story will go, you just need to be brave enough to pick up the pen and get started.

James Drury is the Head of Operations for Vision Personal Training and Owner of Vision Personal Training Bondi Junction.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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