Fitness and healthy living has become a trend globally. This is evident in the increase of the number of gym enthusiasts across age and gender groups (Matthews, 2018). All over the world, there are more than 180,000 fitness clubs, having 145 million members, earning an estimate of $84 billion. This fitness trend has already reached the Philippines. There have been an increasing number of Filipinos who indulge themselves into sports, monitor their health and become wellness-conscious. As a result, the fitness gym industry in the Philippines is currently rising and accelerating, even in provincial areas (Gamboa, 2017).
People who go to gym differ in terms of their frequency in going to gym. An individual could be considered as a gym enthusiast if engaging in gym activities is considered to be part of his or her lifestyle. Moreover, these people are those who go to gym at least two to three times a week (Hosie, 2017). On the other hand, individuals who go to gym may also differ when it comes to their purpose of going to gym. Some people go to gym for health reasons and physical appearance reasons, while some go to gym so they can work out and be with other people.
Also, other people go to gym out of responsibility, such as the athletes who compete and actors who need to maintain their bodies for a good public image (Martey, 2016). Empirical studies demonstrate that men and women have a tendency to have different goals and intentions in going to gym. Females’ interest in gym has generally expanded and is essentially concerned in weight loss, thus engaging more in cardiovascular activities, while male gym goers appear to be more concerned with arm, back and chest strength (Ortega, Gonzalez, Sanchez, Knox, Muros, Garofano, 2016).
People also do believe that exercising and going to gym are beneficial in developing a healthy lifestyle. Such activities help one to protect the heart, burn calories and reduce the risk of being obese (Davis, 2017). Yet, aside from health reasons, an individual may go to gym for the desire of gaining an attractive body, to feel good about himself or herself. The way a person sees his or her self is influenced by how they look, especially in today’s society where people are obsessed with body image.
Men and women differ in terms of defining what the body should ideally look like. For men, they prefer shapelier figures on both genders. On the other hand, women favor thinner bodies (Yenisey, 2018). People put an effort to enhance their physical appearances, not just to be socially acceptable, but also for them to feel good about themselves. In a study conducted by Crawford, (2017) he stated that regular exercise has a positive effect on how a person sees his or her self.
One of the benefits of doing gym activities and exercises is having a better body image. In a study by Salci and Ginis (2016), they stated that even a thirty minute exercise can have a positive effect on body image. Body image is the way people perceive their bodies in terms of size, weight, and shape, whether in a positive or negative way. It refers to the subjective concept a person has in his or her physical appearance (Jaypee Brothers, 2012).
This perception is influenced by self-observation, reactions from other people, and the interaction of one’s attitudes, emotions, memories, fantasies and experiences. Thus, body image is considered as a multidimensional concept, for it involves several factors such as neurological, psychosocial, and cultural (Pallan, Hiam, Duda, &Adab, 2011). In a study conducted by Gavin, Simon and Ludman in 2010, results show that people who are overweight and obese are more prone to having body image problems, which sometimes lead to experiencing psychological distress and certain depressive symptoms.
As a result, these people with low body image tend to engage in sports and other physical activities, thus showing an association between their body image, lifestyle and behavior (Slater &Tiggemann, 2011). In a study conducted by Khalaf, Westergren, Berggren, Ekblom& Al-Hazzaa in 2015, only a minority of their respondents had an agreement between their actual, perceived, and ideal body image.
“Self-concept includes the influence of body image on inner personality (McLeod, 2014),” thus, influencing the way an individual thinks, feels and behaves. Self-concept refers to the way an individual thinks about, evaluates or perceives his or her self. In other words, it is the awareness of oneself.Physically, a person may see his or herself as beautiful or ugly. An individual may also perceive his or herself as a good or bad person. These perceptions they have on themselves influence the way they act towards themselves and towards others, since the physical body forms the basis for the self in the form of self-concept (Owen, Robinson & Smith, 2010).
In the study conducted by Dogan in 2015, results revealed that gym exercise has a positive influence not only on health, but also on numerous behavioral variables, such as self-concept (González &Portolés, 2014). Exercising and engaging in sports affect an individual’s physical self-concept, including its dimensions with regards to physical ability, physical condition, strength, attractiveness and psychological well-being (Reigal, Videra, Parra, &Juárez, 2012). Moreover, it is related with better physical condition and appearance, resulting to an improved self-image (Ortega, Gonzalez, Sanchez, Knox, Muros, &Garofano, 2016).
Physical Fitness can enhance self-esteem and can develop positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness (Elavsky, 2010). In adolescents, self-concept seems to be an important determinant for physical activity. Particularly in the change of period between adolescent and young adulthood, interventions goal to increase positive self-concept are promising (Jekauc, Wagner, Hermann, Hegazy&Woll, 2017).