Happy Monday All!
For this #motivationmonday, I want to talk about social media! Social media is a great source for fitness inspiration! In fact, it’s so common, we even coined a term for it: “fitspiration” or “fitspo.” It’s so easy to log into Instagram or Youtube and find public figures that share tips regarding healthy lifestyles, food, and workouts. I follow five or so daily for motivation!
However, in the middle of scrolling, sometimes I find myself feeling unmotivated. While the tips and tricks gained from watching fitness figures on social media do benefit me, I also find it easy to compare myself to the person on my screen. This spirals and next thing I know, I’m questioning why I don’t look a certain way or why I can’t do what another person is doing. It’s frustrating! The sources I go to for motivation are actually doing the exact opposite by emphasizing everything I am not.
In 2017, researchers looked into “Fitspiration” on social media to see exactly what the ideal model of fitness and a healthy lifestyle looked like. Basically, they analyzed posts with the hashtags “#fitspo” on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr at 3 different times for ten minutes. I summed up their findings below:
Women: thin, less muscle or very muscular, emphasis on glutes and stomach, only 1/2 of pictures show a face
Men: hypermuscular or muscular, ab pictures are common, show face more often than women, emphasize on biceps and pectoral muscles
So, what does this mean? When you are scrolling through social media, you probably see two types of bodies: thin or “jacked.” There is no in between. While this may encourage you to workout for a specific look, it might also make you feel insecure.
Researchers also found that males are less likely to use the “fitspo” hashtag than women. Therefore, further research is needed to analyze the effects of “fitspiration” on men. For women on the other hand, social media may enforce a pressure to look a specific way.
Why am I telling you this? In no way am I advocating for you or myself to stop using social media. I do think there are benefits of the fitness industry on social media! In fact, I even made a post about my favorite fitness Youtube channels (check it out here if you like!).
However, when you are having a bad body-image day and find yourself comparing your body or habits to the person on your screen, remember that you are looking at one version of fitness. It is okay to not look like that person on the screen. It just means you aren’t at your goal yet. Recognize this to try a prevent binging or quitting your fitness/healthy lifestyle. The feeling you are experience is common (clearly, researchers are looking into it!), and it will pass!
If you’d like to check out the research article, click here.
How do you combat “bad” body-image days?