The #REALFITSPO Project : Issue 1

Since when did “fitspiration” become synonymous with photos of photoshopped, tan, single digit body fat women in a posed photoshoot in skimpy lingerie/workout clothes with maybe a dumbbell or two for emphasis?

When I think of the term, “fitspiration” (a mash-up of the words “fitness” and “inspiration,”) it brings images to mind of people doing. 

And while posed photoshoots are awesome in their own right, honestly they aren’t as inspiring to me. Maybe my bit of modeling experience has jaded me on it, too- but honestly I’ll see images of MYSELF from past photoshoots and think, “that’s not even me. That’s not real. It’s an idealized version of myself.” While I can appreciate the photo for what it is, it’s not who I am.

DSC_0122             2014-01-08 16.43.24

See my point?

So I thought- instead of completely banning “fitspiration,” why not re-invent it? Why not make it real, relatable, and actually inspiring and representative of the term “fitness inspiration?”

According to Wikipedia: “Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being or specifically the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. “

Odd then- seeing as most fitspo doesn’t actually show people “performing aspects of sports” or a “general state of health and well-being”  at all, just an idealized version of what a fit body should look like. The real irony here is that some models and competitors aren’t even in a state of health or well-being at the time the photo may have been taken! Some fitness competitors have coaches putting them on plans eating 600-800 calories and doing 2 hours of cardio on a daily basis to get “shredded.”  That’s not healthy. And it doesn’t promote a healthy state of well-being, I assure you.

I will say there are many more fitness competitors doing things the right way these days, though which is awesome! Thanks to people like Layne Norton and others who are revolutionizing the fitness competition coaching industry, it is possible to do competitions and be a fitness model the healthy way, and if that is something that is a goal of yours, please make sure your coach has your well-being in mind. Many don’t. I’m also not a competitor so I don’t have much information in that area, but looking up Layne Norton’s video blogs are a great place to start if that is something that interests you!

FYI I am not against fitness competitors in any way, just making a point that
just because you see a photo of someone who is at an extremely low body fat, doesn’t mean they did it in a healthy way or are happy, necessarily.

But I digress.

I know personally, I’m always so inspired seeing people perform amazing feats of strength and fitness and I know others are, as well! I’m also inspired by people who have made positive mental transformations when it comes to health, fitness, and body image.

The #REALFITSPO Project:

Through my Twitter account, I asked my followers to send me some photos of them doing something awesome and inspiring whatever it means to them! (Health/fitness related, of course.) Some were photos of lifts, doing a crazy awesome physical feat, and some were just a simple progress photo.

I didn’t want to set too many limitations, because we all are inspired by different things! The key here is that they are all real people undergoing a fitness journey and living a day-to-day life.

(Not that models aren’t real, duh. But you know what I mean. 😉 )

So here is the first batch! SHARE them with your friends, Pin them, do what you want. The goal is to get these OUT THERE and overshadow the masses of photoshopped idealism masquerading as fitness inspiration.

Some of the below participants added their own quotes/edits, and some were completely edited by me. I added the #REALFITSPO stamp to them all.


photo 5



one handed handstand

overhead lunge






These were so inspiring to me and I hope to you, too! Make sure to follow these lovely ladies on Twitter and congratulate them if you so wish, I highly encourage that 🙂 

The #REALFITSPO project is ongoing, and I’m ALWAYS looking for more submissions! To participate, here is what you need to do:

1.) E-mail me ( a photo of you similar to the ones above. It can be anything that inspires you and that you think would inspire others!

FYI:  I encourage you to submit even if you don’t feel like you’re at an “After” photo state if that makes sense. One of my most-liked photos of me ever was the one where I’m literally pinching my lower bellyfat and saying “DEAL WITH IT” and just embracing it. Nobody is perfect- we are all on the journey together! And this is what this project is all about. Embrace YOU! 

2.) Include a quote that motivates you, or just a simple statement of how fitness changed your life/mentality.  I’d rather it not be similar to some of the “fitspo” images you may have already seen. (AKA nothing like “Suck it up now and you won’t have to suck it in later.)

If you can’t think of anything, I will find something and add it myself, so no worries!

3.) Include your twitter handle, blog name, any way of identifying you on the web. Or if you just want your name, that’s fine too!

Don’t worry about doing any fancy editing, that’s what I will do afterward! All you have to do is send me a picture.

And that’s it! Again, my e-mail is

I’m so excited to open this up to my blogosphere and see what you inspiring ladies come up with. I feel really strongly about this project and many have expressed interest in seeing it evolve.

I will be sharing a link to the official Pinterest board so you guys can Repin to your hearts content! Eventually I’m planning on also creating an Instagram page for them. Yay, social media! So stay tuned for all these developments.

***NOTE: My $25 Kroger gift card giveaway is still going on, all you have to do is comment on my last blog post! So if you missed that, get on it 😉 ***


10 thoughts on “The #REALFITSPO Project : Issue 1

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Half of these are still just photos/selfies of girls’ bodies, albeit a slightly less “perfect” version than a typical competition model. And the rest are lifting pics. When did fitness become synonymous with lifting? Where are the girls running, hiking, cycling up hills, rock climbing, swimming, spiking volleyballs, kayaking, roller skating, etc? There’s SO much more to fitness than sculpting your abs in a gym and taking a picture. Get outside and do things!

    • janinecdemichele says:

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for your comment! I totally agree with you! These were not curated by me, actually- I only added examples that were self-submitted to me specifically for this project. I would love to have more examples like the ones you mentioned- but I just didn’t receive any of those this go-around. In the second version I do recall that there is an example of hiking specifically. Honestly, I would LOVE to have examples of all the other things you mentioned. And I could easily Google search examples, but that isn’t what this is about! It’s all direct from people that decided to send them to me with their permission 🙂 In no way are these an all-encompassing type of display of fitness, nor did I mean for it to be! If you know of any examples or if you have any yourself, send them my way and I will gladly include them in a third installation.


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