Strong is the new skinny

Tough Mudders and paint runs are trending health. (Photo by Wikimedia)

Tough Mudders and paint runs are trending health. (Photo by Wikimedia)

By Camilla Santos

Like most trends that come swarming in full force, “being fit” is no different. Do you love keeping up with trends? Go ahead and jump on the bandwagon of this one! Sit down and brace yourself because being healthy has now been deemed cool. In other words, fitness is the new black.

Male and female students everywhere are diving into the world of fitness head first. With a “health is wealth” mentality, students are taking steps to live healthier lives. Green tea overdoses and daily prayers to the kale gods have this trend going strong. Move over Freshman 15, Freshman 15 Pounds of muscle is here to take your place.

Across college campuses in the US we have seen the high-waisted shorts, pants, skirts (anything that can be high-waisted) epidemic. Floral headbands and beanies alike, students are no strangers to fashion trends that spread like wildfire. With that being said; no overalls, you can’t make a comeback. So what is different about this new health kick in comparison to all the fashion and behavioral trends we’ve seen before?

For starters, the word “fun” comes to mind. Tough Mudders, Crossfit, paint runs; all these different groups and events have instilled a sense of fun into fitness. When it’s no longer a chore, people actually enjoy exercising and therefore exercise more.

Crazy right? A lot of these organizations have other brands instilled in them as well. For example, Crossfit swears by the Paleo lifestyle. What is paleo you ask? The idea is that you eat like a caveman, no processed foods AT ALL. While that kind of lifestyle may be hard for most American students to follow, it’s another aspect of how fun can encourage overall health.

In an age where social media is truly taking over, it is no surprise that it has played a part in the underlying interest in staying lean and getting ripped. Thank you Instagram, one #fitfam hashtag later and you now have 30 new “likes” from completely random fit strangers on your filtered picture of broccoli. Seriously though, the fitness community on Instagram has absolutely blown up.

Talk about an informative and supportive community. Accounts like @mankofit, @thefitbaldman, and @transformationfitnation are educating people, sharing fun healthy recipes, and inspiring users to transform their bodies. All this information and more at the touch of a button, how much more accessible can it get? Fitness accounts are influencing people to squat heavy, toss protein powder in every meal possible and drink green smoothies out of mason jars and there is no telling when it will stop.

The sense of community instilled by the organizations previously mentioned, including Instagram, are key components to the success of this fitness movement. If you haven’t found your swolemate yet, rest assured he or she is out there somewhere in the #fitfam world. When it comes to hard work (homework, working out etc.) many people lack motivation. In a community where motivation is pouring in like the almond milk you’ve swapped for your old trusty 2%, there is very little preventing students from hitting the weights.

When Drake described a woman in his song as “running on the treadmill and only eating salad” he did not have the true fit life on his mind. Women were once confined to ellipticals, treadmills and eating leaves but now weightlifting and chicken breast with sweet potato have become the new norm.

Junior and avid gym goer, Jacqui Flaherty said, “I personally have noticed that fitness and lifting is becoming an increasing trend, people who only participate in cardio are actually looked down upon in some ways, getting labeled as ‘cardio bunny’s’ which to me is an insult. Also, I’ve noticed that big companies like Victoria’s Secrets are even joining the trend. The usual stick skinny models have been recently advertising and posing in fitness clothing more than before.”

College students are known for their reputation in extremist behavior. Now I’m not talking about anything TOO horrific but lets just say doing things in excess is a common thing. Library marathons, Netflix binges, alcohol binges, eating too much, eating too little, sleeping entire days away or not sleeping at all- doesn’t matter.

Point is, it’s not an uncommon thing for students to dive into something head first and go a tad bit too far. This fitness fad is no different. The students getting involved are truly jumping in fully committed. That kind of commitment isn’t something that just goes away (especially after finally fitting into those jeans you haven’t been able to get past your knees in two years).

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