18 February 2020
Word Count: 1079
The Fitness Discourse Community
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”, Micheal Jordan said. In other words, individually one may be strong but as a group you’re even stronger because the bigger the group the stronger the army and the more you’ll achieve. However, this quote doesn’t just apply for athletes but for everyone else as well. Although athletes work in teams/groups and communicate to achieve their goals non athletes do as well, and that’s known as a discourse community. Whether people realize it or not, everyone is part of many or even some sort of discourse community. For example, fitness is a discourse community. When it came to fitness, my initial assumption of the discourse community was that it contained mainly overweight people who were members among that group. On the other hand, after looking more into it and being exposed to the fitness/gym lifestyle, I realized it contained all types of people. For instance, skinny people, fit people, muscular people, etc. were all apart of that group. Also it didn’t matter if you were already in shape and healthy, you could still be part of that discourse community.
When it comes to the fitness community and my involvement; where it all began was school, specifically physical education. In high school, my Phys Ed teacher was also the coach of the sports team in my school. He felt physical education was very important. As he was passionate about our health as well. In which, he was very strict and extra hard on us as if he were our personal trainer . In other words, he treated his gym students as his football athletes. At the beginning I was upset (as were many others) but it began to rub off on me and didn’t seem like I was forced to do the exercise workouts. I noticed I belonged to that discourse community when I began working out at home during my free time. Then later, signing up for the gym over the summer with my sister and cousin.
The fitness discourse community is a group that communicates with one another to achieve their health goals through workouts and exercises. Whether their goals are about their emotional/mental, social, spiritual, or physical health. Through research, you learn that many people workout for a variety of reasons. For the simple fact that; “Exercise benefits every part of the body, including the mind. Exercise can help you look better and help a person to age well. Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases” (Gavin), according to a kids health article. In which, you learn exercising has many long term and short term benefits for all. As stated in a Harvard Health article, “adults of all ages, children and even pregnant women” are able to exercise as it recommends informative specifics of what each should do. Although you learn a lot from articles through research about the group, you also learn through observations as I did myself. What I mean by observations, is through videos and actual physical observations. As I learned that muscular physically fit people can still be in the gym day in day out because people don’t do it only to lose weight, to gain muscle, or only because their doctor recommended them to. But they do it to release stress, boost their mood, for social reasons, for fun and many other non assumptive reasons. Through observation and interviewing you get a better understanding of the fitness discourse community as they communicate and help one another reach their goals. For example, at the gym there were also different classes (e.g. zumba, kickboxing, etc.) at different times that worked on something specific about the health of the body. In which, it had various options and were open to ideas of classes to help them achieve their goals.
When interviewing a gym/fitness discourse community member about being a member, she answered to the best of her ability of the questions asked. And here’s what Shayma had to say… “Our goal was to promote healthy living, develop a routine so that exercise could be our regular lifestyle. Basically to improve our health”. “This group communicates with each other by talking in the gym with other people you would see around especially if you’re regularly attending”. “ Our group primarily would communicate through email be its members to know what classes or instructors are available. It would provide information that would help benefit or make our experience easier and more enjoyable”. “Our group would communicate with outside members by providing deals such as a week free at the gym for friends of members”. “Our group would be very informal when it comes to language. You were talked to as a friend not really a formal professional atmosphere. It allowed for comfort and casual interactions between the group”. “Before joining this group a person should know that it is an enjoyable experience and you don’t need to know someone prior to joining. The atmosphere is flexible enough where you can keep to yourself or interact with others and receive ample assistance and encouragement throughout your process”.
Overall, what the group taught me was although you each may have a different method on what you’re working on, it’s the same result you’re trying to achieve which is some sort of health goal. In addition, what surprised me was the fact that it stated pregnant women should exercise because I thought the whole agenda was for pregnant women to gain weight not lose weight. However, that was before I learned exercising isn’t all about losing weight and more about maintaining consistency whether already being fit and meeting your goal or not. This led me to rethink what I initially thought of the group because I found a passion for it. Also because I like to do my research first as it’s not good to judge a book by its cover without doing a background check first. Instead of thinking, “Why are they in the gym if they are already skinny? Why workout if you’re already muscular? They care about their appearances too much.” You learn that it’s not all about physical appearance and physical health when it comes to this subject.
- Alzebedi, Shayma, Personal Interview, 16 February 2020
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Exercise & Fitness.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/topics/exercise-and-fitness.
- “Why Exercise Is Wise (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth.” Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Jan. 2018, kidshealth.org/en/teens/exercise-wise.html.