What The Readers of GQ Think About Fitness, Food, and Body Image Right Now

Will Kreznick

To many of our readers, the new focus on body positivity and holistic wellness only works for some people. “There’s more emphasis on health,” wrote one reader, “but the world is pushing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ version of it.” For many, but not the majority, of respondents, concern about their body translated […]

To many of our readers, the new focus on body positivity and holistic wellness only works for some people. “There’s more emphasis on health,” wrote one reader, “but the world is pushing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ version of it.”

For many, but not the majority, of respondents, concern about their body translated to watching what they ear. 

Are you currently on a diet? 

One specific diet question we had: 

Do you eat meat? 

12% vegetarian might not seem like much, but that’s more that double the national average

Of course, fitness and wellness routines have been extremely disrupted by the pandemic. And a solid majority of our audience saw unwanted weight loss or gain. 

Did you experience any unwanted weight changes during the pandemic? 

Many respondents struggled, understandably, with the stress of the last year and a half. “I dealt with anxiety so I didn’t do anything,” wrote one reader about their fitness routine. Others described lost progress in their favorite sports, like jiu-jitsu and rock climbing. 

And it’s clear things are not yet back to “normal” for most respondents. 

Have you returned to the gym after COVID closures?

The pandemic has meant setbacks for many people, but a vocal minority of respondents credited the disruptions of the pandemic for improvements in their fitness routines and physical well-being. “The lockdown was good for me. I stopped alcohol, ate less, and I walked every day,” wrote one respondent. “I am in my best shape ever,” wrote another. As GQ’s fitness and wellness columnist Joe Holder pointed out in the Body Issue, the disruption of the pandemic can also be an opportunity. 

Survey responses have been lightly edited and condensed. 


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