Thank you for this, Melissa.

By Blake Bakkila
March 27, 2018

“We all have the same 24 hours in a day,” the saying goes. Often tossed around by successful people, these words are supposed to motivate the rest of us to to make time for our goals and not put them off with the I'm-too-busy excuse.

Thing is, we actually don't all have the same 24 hours; some people are dealing with life and work challenges that require them to back-burner their goals temporarily. Melissa Hartwig, the founder of the popular Whole30 plan, just posted the most perfect explanation of this on Instagram.

Considering that her post has been liked by thousands of users, it's clearly struck a nerve. 

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“The problem is, we DON’T all have the same 24 hours,” Hartwig wrote. She was specifically referring to the way fitness influencers often use the saying to imply that everyone can and should carve out time for daily gym sessions and healthy meal prep.

“A few years ago, my 24-hours looked like me working my ass off just trying not to fall apart, as my marriage was crumbling, my business was up in the air, and I was single-parenting my young son. Those 24 hours look NOTHING like the 24 hours I have now.”

Yesterday's post about privilege and fitness brought up another subject: The idea that "We all have the same 24 hours," and some just work harder than others. The problem is, we DON’T all have the same 24 hours. • A few years ago, my 24-hours looked like me working my ass off just trying not to fall apart, as my marriage was crumbling, my business was up in the air, and I was single-parenting my young son. Those 24 hours look NOTHING like the 24 hours I have now. I worked just as hard then. I wasn't lazy or unmotivated. I even went to the gym, occasionally. But I was certainly nowhere near as fit as I am today, and looked nothing like I look now. I was working just as hard as you, but you'd never have known it. • Occasionally, I'd complain that I felt out of balance and missed the gym. And had someone dared to say to me then, "You know, we all have the same 24 hours," I would have borrowed your hands to flip them off four times. • Life stress, marital stress, financial stress; responsibilities to a job, a child, a sick loved one; your own health challenges, physical and mental... all of these shape our 24-hours. We don't all have the same days, and suggesting someone does ALSO suggests that the issue is THEM; they're not committed, hard-working, or making the effort. Which perhaps comes from a place of motivation (honestly, I question that, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt), but really only serves to pile more guilt and shame onto an already burdened mental and emotional state. • So, fitness influencers and trainers, instead of saying, "We all have the same 24 hours," try supporting your community by sharing fitness strategies that actually WORKED for you. How did you find time as a busy working parent? How did you stay motivated when life was kicking your ass? What did you do when you didn't have money to join a gym? By offering REAL tips from your personal perspective, you can make an authentic impression in a space littered with image crafting, have the feel-good experience of actually making an impact in someone's life, AND help us all shake off the shame that is so often disguised as "fitspiration." • #melissarants #weallhavethesame24hours

A post shared by Melissa Hartwig (@melissa_hartwig) on

She went on to explain that while busting her butt to keep her life together, she didn't have the time to vigilantly maintain a healthy lifestyle, and therefore wasn't seeing fitness results.

Life stress, marital stress, financial stress; responsibilities to a job, a child, a sick loved one; your own health challenges, physical and mental… all of these shape our 24 hours,” Hartwig wrote. “WE don’t all have the same days, and suggesting someone does ALSO suggests that the issue is THEM; they’re not committed, hard-working, or making the effort. Which perhaps comes from a place of motivation … but really only serves to pile more guilt and shame onto an already burdened mental and emotional state.”

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Of the more than 13,000 comments, the majority praised Hartwig and thanked her for her honest message.

“Thank you for this,” one respondent said. “I am in a season of heavy and it seems like I can’t make traction in the fitness area of my life. It’s all I can do right now to ‘mom’, homeschool our three young kids (ages 3-6), prepare nourishing food and keep all the plates spinning. Thank you for offering grace for this season and a reminder in the process that this season isn’t permanent, just like yours was not permanent.”

“I love you. Never needed this more,” shared another. “All of this,” wrote another supporter. “Every.single.word!!”