With her unique perspective as a historian and deep roots in the fitness industry, Natalia Petrzela, Ph.D embarks on a mission to uncover how fitness has gone from a "suspect" activity in the early days, to an essential part of modern life, leading to the crucial question of how we as an industry can make it more accessible to all.
"I think we've got to find a way to talk about obesity, health, and morality that isn't just about like, well, 'you look that way, make better choices,' because I don't think that's fair. We have to make it easier to work out and to eat healthy food," she states.
Natalia is a historian and professor at the New School in New York City. She is the author of the newly released book Fit Nation, The Gain's and Pains Of America's Exercise Obsession.
Natalia has always been curious about how the fitness industry has changed and evolved. She "found" the gym as a teenager, leading her to become certified and take a deep dive into the industry. Through her extremely thorough research, she uncovered a narrative of how fitness had gone from a weird subculture to becoming a mainstream activity embraced by many. And while choices and willpower are important, there are many other structural factors that make it difficult for certain people to make those choices. Fit Nation brings her two passions together: History and fitness. This is the story of how the industry has changed and how it can continue to grow. It should be required reading for anyone in the HALO sector.
In this episode, she and Pete discuss:
1. How our attitudes towards fitness have changed over the last 50 years.
2. What are the connections between physical fitness and mental health.
3. The challenges that exist for those from lower-income backgrounds when trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.
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