8 Things Instagram Taught Us About Health & Fitness

“Your body can withstand almost anything. It’s your mind you have to convince”

– Someone smart

Ah, Instagram. To have invested in that venture at startup. A simple way to share one’s art, interests, memes about art and interests. The whose who and the what’s what is on there and there is a wealth of information within the confines of sharing images and short clips. Cooking, cars, politics; all offering a brief glance into lives. That’s all it is though, right? So, what does that mean to someone who has hundreds of thousands or millions of followers?

The internet celebrity

If you believe what is said, that Facebook is for the older generation and that Instagram is for the younger than what I’m about to say should and shouldn’t surprise you. In the age of Instagram Memes have become the new satirical cartoons. Telling a whole story in one image. What happens when people harness that for-profit?

There is a blurry line on fame these days. One is a physical being, maybe an actor or actress, a writer or singer. The other is a blogger, YouTuber or…and influencer. These are individuals you won’t see walking the red carpets, have paparazzi stalking there every move or see on your local news promoting an event while serving soup to a homeless person. Yet companies pay big bucks to have their endorsement and both kids and adults sway to their every post.

This can lead into many areas but for now, let’s discuss one. What Instagram teach us about health, fitness, and wellness?

● The negative impacts they have. They create unrealistic imagery, expectations and results. While not all, most of these people don’t live the lives we imagine based on what they present. Giving us, especially the younger generation all but impossible goals while deepening the already high percentage of issues like body dysmorphia.

This certainly isn’t to say it is all bad. If you need motivation to hit that 5 am workout, need help tweaking your deadlift to reduce low back pain, or learn how protein synthesis works over hours, then it’s great. But if your looking to it for how life should be, your setting yourself up for failure.

● Life in 1080 x 1080. It’s easy to forget and hard to understand that what a person posts is but a snapshot of their life and does not necessarily represent their true selves. Yet we can so easily associate one image with a person’s entire personality. Ask any insta-famous person and they’ll tell you that after a while exhausting because they have to maintain a specific persona. So when we see how talented they are or strong or healthy, that may be all fluff. As fans and consumers, it doesn’t take much for us to become dogmatic about it. This person’s methods are the best. This person’s information is the truest. Honestly, if it lines up even a fraction with what we think, we’ll take it all day long.

● What you see is not what you get. Fitness models are either juiced on gear or are the genetic exception. Avoid comparing your gains to theirs.

It’s the only true means of measuring

● Take advice at face value and do your own research. Fads can dictate a lot in the online realm. When Paleo first came mainstream you were practically ostracized if you weren’t on board. What works great for one might not jive well with you. Take time to research and experiment. I personally don’t so exceptionally well on a high-fat diet but cannot over-consume on carbs either. I have to balance both.

● Remember influencers need to make money too. Support if you like but just because they take a supplement doesn’t make it an end-all deal.

● Remember why you are doing what you do. If you are trying to get healthy, fit or just share wisdom, be cautious of adopting a particular model or modality because it worked for someone else. Your not them. Brand yourself.

● If you base your progress on a picture of another your doomed. Sometimes that’s not even where they are currently but have to maintain status. I’m not condemning influencers, but the rise of insta-famous people has hindered the progress of what true health looks like. Society basses their model of health on, well, models. This is not only unrealistic but dangerous.

● It’s best to compare to your own progression photos. Those show your real effort and validate the sacrifice and discipline. You are your biggest critic and your biggest competitor, best to keep your mind in the game.

Find joy in the process, make your own mark and forget the rest. Self discipline if key to success.