Is the Fitness Industry Becoming All Sex and No Substance?

The "Sexy Motivational Quote" is the latest sex-sells trend hitting the web


Sex sells….I get that.  Beautiful women and scantily clad bodies have been used in product promotion since it became socially acceptable in the 60’s.  In an industry like health and fitness this is to be expected.  I’m not expecting pictures showing a bunch of nuns doing clean and presses, but I am beginning to question the real impact these over-the-top images and fitness personalities are having.  Could it be people are more drawn to an image, or an “ideal” body type, than to the workout or content itself?  If so, the wool has been pulled over the eyes of consumers yet again and millions are simply falling victim to clever (and not so clever) marketing campaigns.

I’ve been wondering for some time if people are simply more attracted to the person leading the workouts than they are to anything else.  If so, the problem here is obvious.  Quality and safety of workouts can be thrown to the wind…as long as the person leading the workout has six-pack abs and (in some cases) a lot of silicone, rest assured people will be hooked. When combined with the fact the average person will NEVER be able to achieve this body type, a monumental set up for burn out and loss of motivation occurs.

Suspect #1

Let’s take a look at one of the most glaring examples of what I’m talking about; BodyRock.TV.  BodyRock.TV is lead by Susana Spears, Zuzana Light.  She’s got a great body, lots of plastic, and a nice Russian accent.  It’s easy to see why both women and men are attracted to her.  But when we really get down to it, Zuzana is an ex-porn star (Susana Spears) who decided to start videotaping herself doing exercises at home wearing next to nothing.  I’m not going to knock her right to do this…based on her number of followers and supporters, it clear is working for her.  

That said, the camera angles are usually shot from behind, or overly zoomed in on her butt, stomach, and breasts.  How is this helpful when someone is trying to learn proper form?   Zuzana is clearly using the “sex sells” approach to get her message out there and attract impressionable viewers.  You need to ask yourself, is an ex-porn star with a great body really qualified to be giving fitness advice  AND is said fitness advice going to do more than waste my time? 

I’m not here to say whether BodyRock.TV works or not.  I’ve done the workouts and they are solid, I’ll give respect there.  I’m here to remind you to open your eyes and look past the glitz and glammer.  Starting a new workout program simply because the girl in front of you has double D’s and a flat stomach doesn’t mean you’re going to totally transform your body into something resembling hers. 

Of course there are countless other internet trainers who are using over-the-top outfits and angles to emphasize their sex appeal, BodyRockTV is just a well-known example.  If half the workout is shot from an angle like the one to the left, you may be getting all fluff and no substance (no pun intended).




The Good Guys

Now, please don’t take this as an assault on all the pretty and fit trainers out there.  There is nothing that gets my blood boiling more than the out-of-shape, overweight trainers commonly found at places like 24 Hour Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, etc.  These companies expect top dollar for training sessions led by people who don’t even know how to get themselves in shape.  Absolutely ridiculous.  But that’s another story for another day. 

The sex sells approach isn’t necessarily what is at issue.  If you’ve got a great body and the FOCUS of your videos and workouts isn’t on your body, but on the quality of your workouts, you’re on track.  More power to you if you want to show off your body and hard work while you’re doing your workouts.  I think a perfect example of this is found in the Tone It Up girls.  Karena and Katrina are obviously both fit and beautiful, which they emphasize, but not in a sleazy and over-the-top way that BodyRock.TV does.  Further, Katrina has overcome some weight issues of her own, which she proudly displays on their blog. 

With all things, consider the source of your information.  Whether its news, recipes, or workouts, you’ve got to consider the person delivering it and how they portray themselves.  Personally, I’d rather get my fitness information from someone who has been through a weight battle of their own, as opposed to an ex-porn star who groans, moans, and rolls around on the ground and calls it a workout. 



At Share It Fitness, you’ll never see me in a string bikini rolling around on the floor grunting and groaning using a sex sells approach.  (For those who don’t know, I’m a dude, so that’d be tongue in cheek). 

Me….Anyone still dying to see me in a string bikini doing deadlifts?

The point is, we like to give you the best possible advice we can, from the best (and most qualified) trainers we have on our team.  We’ve never said the Share It Fitness way is the only way.  We appreciate and support all of the quality trainers, bloggers, and healthy living guru’s out there who sell themselves and their product based on quality, not sex.  Big shout outs to Tone It Up, Nerd Fitness, Workout Nirvana, Roman Fitness Systems, Play a Good Knife and Fork, Fit Bottomed Girls, the team over at Greatist, and all of the other people out there who are putting in the time, effort, and dedication to improve the lives of their readers…often without any recognition.


Support This Post? 

Share It with your buddies and give credit to all the good internet trainers and health bloggers out there.  Interested in learning more about the Share It Fitness method?  Head over to our full site ( where you’ll find hundreds of OnDemand fitness classes ready to stream to any internet connected device, live health and fitness professionals ready to answer your questions, and a thriving community of other like-minded people offering support and guidance.  Best of all, signing up is FREE, just click HERE!


10 thoughts on “Is the Fitness Industry Becoming All Sex and No Substance?”

  1. I love your article!  I used to do BodyRock (Zuzana is no longer there) and I did think their workouts were pretty good, however, I just got tired of the sex sells angle.  I don’t want to look at big ole boobies and butt and crotch shots when I’m trying to work out.  You’re right though, people are drawn to this image or this person and not really what they’re selling.  Really though, I don’t know many products out there being hawked that aren’t pushing the sex appeal angle.  It just makes it harder to make the right decision for your life when you’re attracted to a product or service for the wrong reason. 

  2. Very well written and, for me, a timely blog entry. I’m only 17 months into my fitness journey and get discouraged at times because I’m still not confident to walk around shirtless. After reading this I know that it’s possible especially under ther right direction. Thank you for your motivation!!

    1. Appreciate the kind words. You’ll get to the point of being able to walk wherever you want shirtless as long as you stay consistent with both your exercise AND diet. Put in the work, mix up your workouts, and stay consistent and you’re guaranteed success. You should check out our full site, We’ve got a ton of OnDemand fitness videos to help you out, live fitness professionals in addition to myself…think you’d enjoy it. Anyhow, best of luck on your fitness goals and please let me know if you ever have any questions.


  3. i have been doing bodyrock for 3 yrs not so much since zuzanna left but she now has her own you tube channel again working out again and i  have to say the workouts are tough and they do work they leave you in a sweaty mess and work  the entire body at once and doesnt take hours i get mandny compliments on how good my arms look and my butt has never been so round and tight ! so if you only have 12  to 20 min. go check out and older workout and see if you can finish every round wthout gasping i think youll change your mind fake boobs or not

    1. Well I have used her workouts before..and I agree with you, they are tough. Maybe the idea got away from me a little in the post, but the main issue I wanted to address was these near-perfect bodies that are constantly engrained into the minds of impressionable viewers. I worry that it might set a lot of people up for disappointment which will only lead to burn out and loss of motivation.

      I certainly have no problem with someone using what God or a surgeon has given them, but to make that an over-the-top focal point of what you are doing seems a little sleazy.

      1. She isn’t with the body rock website anymore, that was her ex who’s in charge of it taking that approach for you tube views, her new you tube channel is more toned down. And who cares if she’s an ex porn star? (She’s Czech by the way not Russian) she didn’t do hardcore porn and she did what she had to, to get paid and get out of there.    

  4. Great article Matt, very well written. I completely understand your angle here. The workouts are tough for sure but you just can’t help but notice the sleaze appeal even if you’re trying hard not too! I personally love Karina and Katrina and the example they set! Great job can’t wait to share this article!

    1. i also love the tone it up girls who doesnt want to workout on the beach everyday although i refuse 150 for a diet plan sometimes i need a little perk me up workout and theyy are there for metheirs are not easy either

  5. That was a great article and very good advice but I’ve got news for you- you’re totally hot!!
    That’s not a bad thing- just saying.
    You should include more photos of yourself in your articles- not in a bikini though 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s