Confession Time: Social Media Fitness Stars Do Nothing For Me

Recently, while reading Greatist’s list of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness, I realized that I recognized next to none of the men and women who were known primarily for their social media presence.

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As much as people look to social media for fitspo photos, my ignorance doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve never looked to individuals, wanting to emulate them, not even from my formative pre-teen and teenage years. While some girls wanted to be Britney Spears or Beyoncé, I simply enjoyed their music and stage performances. You won’t find me riding for the Rihanna Navy or shouting from the rooftops for any other legion of superfans. The only people I stan for are family and some exceptional friends, and, of course, my husband.

Looking to what other people are doing also translates to personal relationships, romantic and platonic. The #squadgoals and #relationshipgoals movement mostly amuses me me. I see the excitement, the posts and comments, and I think “When we spend so much time looking to others for how we want to conduct our lives, how do we determine accurately what works for us?”

Going back to fitness: if I’m so busy being obsessed about this woman’s abs or another personality’s arms, am I starting from a healthy point? While inspiration can help kickstart the process, it’s also important to accurately assess what is viable based on the time and effort we’re willing to put in. If you’re working 70+ hours a week at work, you might not be able to take that romantic Italian vacation with your super-hot, 6’3” boyfriend like you saw some social media celebrity do. Similarly, if you’re on a first-name basis with the 7-11 clerk due to your need to get Blue Bell at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday after the club, you’re not on track to get six-pack abs. This is not to say it’s unachievable. It’s just improbable based on the level of dedication that these things take.

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The only thing that’s going to help you hit those fitness goals.

The moment I gave up on absurdist goals like six-pack abs or a butt you could bounce a quarter off of, I gained clarity about what I could actually achieve. I could definitely feel stronger. I could definitely lift heavier, week by week. I could definitely see the progress in a yoga posture, in the number of burpees I can do, in the way I feel about sprinting on the track. Achievements happen outside of the social media bubble. They happen when you put social media down and actually get up and out, challenging your best efforts. So sure, scroll through those top 100 fitness personalities. But when you put down your phone or tablet, be sure you’re picking up the kettle bell!

Are you affected or inspired by fitness personalities on social media? What extra element do they bring to your exercise program?

6 Replies to “Confession Time: Social Media Fitness Stars Do Nothing For Me”

  1. I love this post! Its so honest and raw. I personally like following fitness enthusiasts (not necessarily celebs) because it motivates me to keep moving. The reason for that isn’t because I want to be that person, but because I think to myself “we have the same amount of hours in the day.”Like you said, we fill those hours differently, but it does keep me from making excuses at times! I completely agree with you though, trying to be like other people or have the things they have is completely unrealistic!

    Great post girl!!

  2. I LOVE this post. I totally believe there’s a difference between the fitness celebrities that show off their body more than trying to inspire people to be healthy. I’m all about balance and enjoying life and making realistic goals. Not everyone has what society deems “the perfect figure”. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I absolutely loved that you called this trend out!! There are people out there who are “fitness celebrities” that dont promote healthy living, rather they promote the products that sponsor/pay them. Many have unrealistic body compositions and it is sad that many young girls are stressing themselves to look like that. I am not affected by fitness celebrities on instgram. Do I follow them? Yes, but only for exercise ideas, meal ideas and new fitness apparal brands I have never heard of before. I don’t look to them and wish I can look like them because I know that can never happen.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. I find inspiration in fitness accounts. I’m not one to follow spammy “buy this” type people but I do think that if you are a confident individual, it is healthy to find inspiration in others. On the opposite end I do believe that with the younger generations they have a hard time differentiating between realistic and unrealistic “goals”. This is one reason why I am happy I am still in the classroom, stopping the purchase of “flat tummy teas” one teen at a time. lol This is def food for thought! Great post!

  5. You mentioned it in your post, “inspiration”. As well as the importance of realistic vs unrealistic goals. Unfortunately there are people who do not have enough confidence in themselves to begin with, that end up obsessing over some of these social media superstars, and create unrealistic ideas in their heads. However, lets not forget that a good number of these fitness stars on social media are real people too. Many of them started at a similar place a number of people find themselves in – overweight, unhealthy, etc. Someone or something inspired them, and they worked hard over a course of time to get where they are today; it didn’t just happen overnight. Because they did that, and displayed it for the world through blogs, instagram, FB, Twitter, people became inspired and they gained popularity. Then the endorsements and accolades came. I follow a ton of people; fitness stars, chefs, people in the arts, and many of my friends. I find inspiration in all the people I follow (which is probably why I follow them). Many times, after looking at their pictures, blogs, etc. I get inspired. Whether its to exercise, try a new recipe, or read a new book. If someone gives you that extra push to improve upon the life you are currently living, expand your horizons or just try something new, then that’s okay. Heck, people reading your blog may actually be inspired by you (I started following you) 🙂

    1. You are right, Chris, it comes down to knowing and honoring your own path and recognizing that none of these people are perfect. They have days they eat donuts, or hug the pillow or just generally don’t live the same kind of life they’re representing to their followers. Everything they’re showing on social media is curated, carefully reviewed and posted for a specific reaction. Take that grain of salt and use it to inspire your cooking, fitness or reading list and leave it there.

      And also, you COMPLETELY made my day with your last line. Thank you SO much. 🙂 <3

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