Men's consumption of fitness and exercise: An exploration of motivations for exercise and fitness involvement
Individuals in the U.S. have become increasingly involved in fitness and exercise within the last decade. As health of Americans decreases due to unhealthy diets and stresses of family and career coupled with society's obsession with attractiveness and physical appearance, more individuals are turning to exercise and fitness to get healthy and enhance the physical appearance of the body (Bordo, 1999). Men, in particular, have increasingly become a target for the fitness industry as more and more men spend money on fitness, diet and appearance products (Dworkin & Wachs, 2009). The purpose of this research was to understand men's use of exercise, fitness and health club memberships, as well as the meanings behind their participation in these activities. In addition, men's fitness and exercise behavior as it relates to appearance, body image and the muscular male body ideal were examined. Ten men, who were regular exercisers, were interviewed for this study. The men's motivations for engaging in exercise centered on health, appearance as it relates to both muscularity and weight management and desire to engage in athletic activities. Participation and involvement in exercise and fitness was very important for participants and was a significant part of their identities and lifestyle. Several related theoretical frameworks including Foucault and the “Docile Body,” Symbolic Interaction (SI) Theory of Fashion, Bourdieu and Social Capital and Postmodernism were used to interpret and provide meaning to participants' responses.