The 6 Worst Fitness “Motivational” Posters on Facebook

Being Facebook friends with so many fitness enthusiasts is for the most part great. Idea-sharing, knowledge bombs, studies, inspiration – the wonders of social media. One trend I don’t particularly care for, however is what I deem to be the overuse/misuse of “motivational posters” which usually include a nice picture with a fanciful catchphrase of some kind. And while most of them are cute and harmless, there are those posters that are somewhere between inane and deplorable.

Without further ado, here are the worst “motivational” posters I’ve seen so far making the rounds on Facebook.

Stallone vs. the Overweight Child


This was posted by a very prominent figure in the industry and is festooned with the following quote; “65 vs 16 - Your life is your choice.” This poster and its message are wrong on so many levels. It’s disheartening as it is disturbing that one could even BEGIN to draw a comparison between these 2 individuals much less make such a dichotomous and ill-informed conclusion. While I’m a big proponent of personal responsibility, you cannot possibly attribute a 16-year-olds health and weight to his own choices alone.

Not taking anything away from Sly but he is paid very well to look the way he does and do doubt works hard at it (with some documented pharmaceutical assistance). But to compare him to a 16 year-old boy who’s situation is unknown is purely obtuse. This poster had hundreds of “likes” and “shares” with a disturbing number of people not only defending the poster but ridiculing the poor boy.

Cheat on your Girlfriend, not your Workout

Cheat on your girlfriend, not your diet

So when your advertising and promotions department get together in a board room and pitches this idea like this for a poster, you’d think there would be at least one person in the room that raises their hand and says “you know what, guys… I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”… Apparently there is no such person in the world of CrossFit and Reebok.

In an apparent attempt to make their advertising match the stupidity of their exercise programming, this poster made its way into the world and ergo, the interwebz. Thankfully this campaign didn’t last too long as the folks at Reebok/CrossFit bowed to public pressure took the moral high road and removed it. Here’s a novel idea: How ‘bout we cheat on neither our workouts OR our girlfriends? …Nah, way to uncontroversial.

Unless you’re about to Die – keep Exercising

Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going

Exercise, nutrition and change in general require a swift kick in the comfort zone. A swift kick, however is not a full-on “kick-you-while-you’re-down until you’re black and blue beat-down”. The message here is that you should ignore signs that you are doing too much. Pushing the envelope a bit is good – it’s how we progress in fitness, fat loss and life in general. But ignoring physiological alarm bells is ill-advised and potentially dangerous. I would say that I expect more from Jillian Michaels, but that would be a lie.

The Rock looks better on Gorilla roids?

The Rock

Make no mistake, I like The Rock. At the risk of being a complete jabronie – how in the name of all that is holy and sacred do people think he looks better in his “after” pic? If this were posted to point out how incredibly freakish he now looks compared to his previously adequately-muscled and un-freakish-looking pic – then by all means I’m on board. Thankfully, most people who have chimed in on this poster do think he looks better on the left, but that doesn’t stop people from posting this as “motivation”. I realize too that this type of physique does appeal to the more hard-core lifters but rest assured if you look like the man on the left - you are doing pretty freaking good.

My Guru’s better than Your Guru

Diet gurus

I’ve seen a few of these creep up in recent months. These “extreme comparison fallacies” abide by the following logic: Person A: A guru or promoter/competitor following dietary/training program “x”: depicted as weak, frail-looking, pale and generally unhealthy.


Person B: A guru/promoter/competitor following dietary/training program “y” (the one followed religiously by the one who posted it):  Looks like the epitome of health – vibrant, muscular and well-postured.

The poster usually ends with some snarky or otherwise over-used quip like “Just sayin’”

The truth here is that we can hand-pick ANY guru to suit or own preconceived dietary preferences. These posters are devoid of context and utterly useless in proving anything.

All Bodies are Good Bodies… not exactly


I tread very carefully here at the risk of being misconstrued. Let me be clear; most certainly you can be healthy in a wide range of these body types. Also, you should accept yourself and others – regardless of size. That being said… the gal second from the left is obese. Now in the same vein as the kid next to Stallone – it would be irresponsible for me to definitively say this woman is unhealthy. It would be EQUALLY irresponsible, however for people to assume she IS healthy. Someone at her weight is generally at a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, joint issues and other obesity-related conditions. So while I like the warm-and-fuzzy Dove commercials that promote healthy at every size (HAES) are great messages to promote – it would be a disservice to suggest that being obese is “healthy” – even if it is possible at a variety of sizes.

Accepting yourself is one thing… accepting your situation is quite another.

Parting Thoughts

Inspiration and motivation is a continuous journey and can be an equally continuous struggle. Finding that internal fire to spark your actions requires daily effort – both mental and physical. Find what inspires you daily and try and cut through the noise as best you can.