After Jessie James Decker posted a photo of her toned kids over the weekend, some on social media accused her of photoshopping their abs. The country pop singer has since set the record straight, and a fitness influencer is slamming the backlash to Decker’s post as “very, very wrong.”
Decker—who competed in the most recent season of Dancing With the Stars—has addressed the controversy on Instagram. She posted a video of her kids to prove that their physiques are au naturale and not digitally altered, also blasting the furor as “bonkers.”
Fitness model and coach Katie Corio told Newsweek that the controversy surrounding Decker’s toned children is akin to body-shaming. Genetics play a huge role in how shredded someone appears, she explained.
“Some people are just really naturally muscular and have really good muscle definition and others don’t,” she said. “And it just all depends on your genetics and what you’re doing, and there’s so many ways that you can train to change your body.”
In her social media post, Decker explained that her kids are athletically inclined, participating in activities like gymnastics and dance, and that their father is a former NFL player.
“Let’s not pick and choose what we normalize regarding bodies and be accepting of all people and children,” she wrote in part. “If we wanna do ‘better’ then do better.”
Corio told Newsweek that “muscle is muscle.” There isn’t a certain age when ab and muscle definition becomes a reality, she said, regardless of whether someone is 5 or 85. And the activities that Decker’s kids are involved in require a lot of core work, stabilizing and bracing.
In addition to genetics, eating well plays into how muscular someone appears, and kids also have fast metabolisms, she said. Sometimes, you might even see Olympic athletes with “very normal bodies.”
“So I think that this whole thing is just absolutely crazy,” Corio added. “It’s really sad to see that someone is coming after her kids, because I hate for people to—for young people, especially—to see that.”
Even though Corio is a successful fitness model, entrepreneur and influencer with a large social media following, she also has been on the receiving end of hateful social media messages. Regardless of whether she appears a bit more “soft and normal” or “super shredded and ripped” in photos, the criticism can be “relentless,” she said.
Corio added that she can’t imagine what it’d be like to be a young girl growing up with social media now and facing that added level of scrutiny.
“It’s tough to see it targeted at young kids specifically, because what are we teaching our young people now? That it’s OK to bully?” she said. “And like, that if you’re proud of your body and you want to show how fit you are, that you’re gonna get put down for that? I don’t know. It just seems very, very wrong.”
The fitness guru is also a business owner, presenting personalized workout programs via Corio Fit and athleisure and loungewear through her clothing line, Corio Active.
Corio said that no matter what, social media trolls will always have something to say, as seen in Decker’s case. To her, the controversy is “just sad.”
“I feel like we need to use it as as a lesson to highlight that type of hate and body-shaming online,” she added, “and just be more aware of it and try not to let it happen.”
Newsweek has reached out to Decker for comment.
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