On the killer insight that women like sports and spend money, this Tuesday Nike released their biggest ad campaign ever targeted to women, #BetterForIt. The lead spot hinges on the defeatist inner thoughts that supposedly plague women during their toughest workouts. Turns out this isn’t exactly the same thing running through our heads, which we asked The Chicks to share—along with their thoughts on the campaign.
Casey: Regarding the ad, I don’t relate. Not because I don’t have the “I can’t” moments, but because I give zero fucks about the other people around me in the gym. If I can’t, it’s completely because of me and not because of everyone else, and that ad blows for reinforcing to women that our abilities should be based on competition with other women.
Regarding “I can’t,” for me, if I’m not feelin’ it, I straight up won’t do it. It’s not good for me to spend my workouts half-assing it, and I’m not about to feel bad about myself because maybe today is just not my day. If I’m not motivated to give it my all, I’m not going to, and there’s no shame in trying again tomorrow. I will say, having a workout buddy to hold me accountable usually circumvents any feelings of “I can’t” in the first place, because I don’t want to let my buddy down.
Sometimes when I’m mid-stream and I think, “man, I really wanna bolt,” I start thinking about mozzarella sticks. I start asking myself, how many more reps do I need to do to make it ok to have mozzarella sticks for dinner tonight? Usually I’ll get so lost in the math that I’ll have forgotten about my urge to leave, and then I’ll also have worked enough that I don’t even want those mozzarella sticks.
Erin Sian: I definitely have some gnarly inner thoughts, but they’re not focused at people in my class… unless that person is a coach or classmate who is “motivating” me to finish a harder than usual workout. I either a) get this feeling like I’m going to cry BUT I ALMOST ALWAYS DON’T, OK? or b) I think/silently scream I DON’T WANT TO. I DON’T WANT TO. Shit. That makes it sound like I have some pretty traumatic workouts, but I do feel “better for it” when I’m able to push myself past where I thought I couldn’t go on, so thank you people who do that to me.
On the Nike thing: the inner monologue may be relatable, but the tone is judgey and the casting is still pretty aspirational/intimidating. It’s like the young models are annoyed that there are young models in their spin class. TRAGIC. For a campaign with a more realistic array of body types and ages, we’ve talked about and recommend the British spot, “This Girl Can.”
Jess: Yep. I can relate to the ‘I’m never going to finish’ statement. I often find myself rationalizing and bargaining, using statements like, “you didn’t want to do that much today anyway” or “you were feeling kinda sick earlier, maybe you should take it easy.” Often that “kinda sick” was a week ago, but it seems valid in the moment. I’ve looked at my watch and realized I was not even 1/4 of the way into my workout and groaned. Sometimes, I’ve quit—like when I did half of a half marathon in Vegas. Sometimes, I’ve pushed through.
I agree with Erin—I can’t stand people ‘motivating’ me. I want to punch them in the face and walk out. And I’m soooo not a “we got this” cheerleader. Most often, I find myself rationalizing, “just a little more; one step at a time; just concentrate on what you’re doing now” and that will get me through the workout, feeling great and makes my form MUCH better too. And I’m SOOOO in agreement with Casey, I gave up on giving any fucks about the people around me at the gym, unless they’re doing something absolutely bizarre, and then I spend time judging them rather than worrying about what they think about me.
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Photo Credit: all via Nike.com