Is Extreme Dieting or Fitness Competitions Healthy | My Opinion

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Have you ever pondered the real effects of fitness, bikini, or bodybuilding competitions on mental and physical well-being? In a particularly candid episode of The Chalene Show, I dive deep into the lesser-discussed side of these competitions.

Drawing from my own experiences in the fitness limelight with programs like TurboJam and PiYo, I admit my own role in perpetuating certain unhealthy fitness ideals and open up about my personal struggles with body image. Plus, I’ll give you a personal life update on my recent six-month travel journey and its effects on my everyday routine.


The Problem with Fitness Competition Culture

There are many fitness competition leagues like NPC, NANBF and WBFFC. Competitors must get their body fat so low it’s unhealthy. Then those unrealistic images are plastered on social media influencing others.

You can’t deprive yourself of nutrients and be healthy. I don’t know any competitor who hasn’t lost their period, damaging fertility. The extreme training and stress wreaks havoc on hormones.

For weeks competitors obsess over their looks and outward appearance. Many experience body dysmorphia and mental breakdowns. You stand on stage being judged and ranked against genetics you can’t control.

Chalene Johnson fitness competition quote - mental breakdown

Why I Don’t Support Most Fitness Competitions

You don’t need strangers to validate your worth based on looks for one day. Do a photoshoot instead and feel empowered.

The perpetuation of unhealthy body standards damages society. Eating disorders and poor body image impact people of all ages. I don’t want to promote that message as an influencer.

The Dark Side of Fitness Competitions: Gut Health, Metabolism, and Mental Strain

Yes, some people stay dedicated to overall fitness and do it somewhat healthfully. But at competition time they still put themselves in an unsustainable state. Even the “healthiest” prep crosses the line of what’s nutritionally sound long-term.

Many emerge with gut damage, a strained metabolism and mental anguish. Then they have to obsessively maintain that look. I’ve been there for shoots and it’s torture.

Chalene Johnson fitness competition quote - valued appreciated

A Plea to Competitors and Aspiring Competitors

If you compete, please use social media responsibly. Don’t present the final stage as #bodygoals – you know it’s the unhealthiest point. Be transparent about the damage extreme dieting does.

  • Find a coach focused on overall health not just shredding for the stage.
  • Get multiple professional opinions to protect your wellbeing.
  • And know you already have worth beyond your appearance.

Chalene Johnson fitness competition quote - judge

What Are Your Thoughts?

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about fitness competitions and the culture around them. Do you wish the standards were different?

I’m thankful we can have open and honest dialogue. Dive into my personal insights by tuning into episode 1013 of The Chalene Show here or watching on YouTube.

Hear more of my thoughts on diet culture and the fitness industry in these related episodes:


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