The Culture of the Fit Body

Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)


In spring 2007, the central London branch of an international fitness chain tried to entice my subscription with a succession of emails, as I had enquired at their health club in the winter, but did not join. While the glossy brochures of fitness clubs tend to stress a number of accessory motivations – such as fun, relaxation, sociability and so on – by and large the marketing of fitness is managed, at its most external margins, via incitements related to body shaping, including both appearance and health. “Looking good for the summer” and “tone up for the beach” are a staple of fitness magazines in late spring, just like “a New Year resolution to lose weight” and “get healthy” feature prominently in mid-winter issues. Fitness magazines appear indeed trapped in a bulimic seasonality, swinging between health and beauty. Just a few examples: the 25th anniversary copy of US magazine Shape in December 2006 guarantees “the 5 minutes workout blasts anyone can do: get a body you’ll love by new year’s”; the 2007 New Year issue of Health and Fitness proposes a three-month shape-up plans focusing on “get fit, tone up, shift pounds” that can “change your life”; in the same year the April issue of the British magazine Zest produced a cover with a slender girl in the sea with a bikini supported by the claim “fit & sexy in 5 fast moves!”; and in May Women’s Fitness sports a similar cover with the claim “your beach body starts here! Get a head-turning figure to die for”.


Personal Trainer Body Objective Early Thirty Circuit Training Commercial Image 
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Copyright information

© Roberta Sassatelli 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MilanItaly

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