Zoe Williams, in a recent Guardian column, argues that pursuing fitness and wellness can lead to self-righteousness and judgmental attitudes, potentially making individuals more right-wing. Williams asserts that the immediate benefits of getting in shape, such as increased strength and improved mood, foster a belief in self-mastery. This newfound confidence often leads to criticizing others who are less healthy.

Williams highlights a “capitalist logic” in the pursuit of fitness, where individuals constantly strive for improvement and competition. As people achieve fitness milestones, they become more competitive and often develop a sense of superiority, which can be irritating to those around them. She describes how fitness enthusiasts might begin swapping workout stats and forming communities with like-minded individuals, leading to an internalization of market-driven values.

Furthermore, Williams notes a divide between physical and personal development, suggesting that focusing heavily on wellness could lead to neglecting other areas of self-improvement. She emphasizes that this obsession with fitness can transform someone into “a bit of a jerk,” driven by self-righteousness and an incessant need to improve, even if it means belittling others.

In her column, Williams ultimately cautions against the potential pitfalls of the wellness movement, warning that the quest for physical excellence might come at the cost of becoming more judgmental and politically conservative.