How Instagram Fitness is Ruining Your Self Esteem

You know, I spend A TON of time online, especially since my business is based within the non-contact world.

And because of that, I’m always scouring the internet looking at other fitness professionals to see what trends are hot as far as training, fitness gear… And overall what fans are attracted to on social media.

I’ll tell you what…

As someone who has been at this game for a LONG time, I’m like totally disturbed sometimes by what I see online – and how many women choose to present themselves on social media. It’s kind of like we’re in this era of amazingness. Meaning, everything you could possibly want or need, as it relates to your fitness goals, is totally accessible – and at your fingertips.

But sometimes, accessibility isn’t always that great. Especially when a lot of the imagery being put in front of you is based on half truths, digital manipulation, fake followers, and pretty much sheer narcissism.

In fact, I find that a lot of times I spend my time talking to some clients about not trusting everything they see, and the importance of NOT comparing themselves to what they see on a social media feed.

So, today, let’s explore a few major tips that you need to keep in mind in order to balance (and maintain) your motivation, fitspiration, and SANITY…


Take What You Read with a Grain of Salt

I remember reading about (and you might have heard of this too) a young woman who had a MASSIVE following on Instagram. Her name was Essena O’Neil, and she had a TON of followers on her fitness based profile.

Everything perfectly curated. Beautiful pics of this fit and beautiful girl. Everything picture perfect…

Or so she led her followers to believe.

O’Neil came out and told her followers that it was all a lie. And she actually ended up closing her social media accounts because of it.

What’s even more interesting is that her story isn’t unique. There are a ton of other fitness influencers on social media who are JUST like her.

What YOU have to understand as a follower is that fitness is a big BIG business. And nowadays, as with many industries, your credibility is often judged by your reach and influence. So the more followers a fitness personality has, the more that person is seen as an expert – whether they have the necessary professional skills or not.

So imagine this scenario now…

You’ve got this social media phenom sharing their day, their diets, their training – but a majority of it is staged. They share progress photos, yet some of it is modified with clever photo editing. And you have all these impressionable followers seeing these posts, not realizing that a lot of it isn’t even real.

Then comes the comparing why “so and so” is so perfect, and always doing everything right – yet you can’t even count your macros correctly, or stay on your plan for more than a day, or train as much as they do… And thus your efforts are almost fruitless.

Do you see how this whole cycle can be a complete “Debbie Downer” to your own efforts?

And that’s why I’m telling you, take what you see with a grain of salt. Let it inspire you, but don’t let it dictate to you that YOU must always be perfect in order to see long term change.


Be Inspired, But Stop Comparing Yourself

The next thing I want you to do is simply allow yourself to be inspired by those you see on Instagram, but don’t compare them to YOU.

Keep in mind that many of the profiles you follow actually spend time curating their feeds to an extent. So whereas it may SEEM like they post spontaneously, or organically, but in reality they aren’t. They are instead picking and choosing what to show you, how to show you, and when to show it to you.

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And honestly, from a business and marketing standpoint – THAT’S BRILLIANT.

The problem becomes when what is being shared isn’t really rooted in reality – but instead based upon a partially imagined reality. And to be honest, it’s hard to really tell who is being real and who’s not. So instead of pointing fingers, just keep a general filter in mind whenever you are viewing anyone’s feed.

When looking at what someone else is doing, don’t put yourself down simply because YOU don’t do it the way that person does. Or that YOU haven’t seen as much progress as that person, despite having started your journeys at about the same time.

Instead of comparing yourself to an online persona, try to really observe what they are doing right, and pick and choose which elements of their process may benefit you.


Apply Tips You Read Online – But Know Not Everything Works for Everyone

Now, I do have to add a little bit of a caveat for the advice I gave at the end of the last section. In the midst of picking and choosing what elements of someone else’s plan may be good to apply to your own – keep this in mind…

We are each unique, and genetically different. So what works for one person may not work for you.

And realize that is ok!

Look, if you are out there trying to figure out the game on your own, especially if you don’t have a trainer or coach, then experimentation is really one of the only ways you have to figure out what works for you!

So I say to GO AHEAD and try things out. But if they don’t work out for YOU, don’t beat yourself up. Make tweaks to whatever tips you are trying to apply, and keep adjusting until you find the right method that simply works for your body.

But one thing you don’t want to do is think that you’re a failure because someone else’s approach doesn’t work for you. This can be a MAJOR blow to your self esteem – and one that you can avoid if you continue to keep things in perspective.


Find What You Love About YOURSELF – And Celebrate That Too

The final thing I want to encourage you to do is simply embrace YOURSELF and appreciate your own journey – even in the midst of change.

I say this very often to clients, but we all spend SO MUCH time focusing on our flaws, and what we DON’T like about ourselves, that it weighs down on your self esteem after a while.

And honestly, think about this… There are SO many people in this world (on social media alone) that are willing to pull you down! So why do it to yourself.

Positive reinforcement is often the best form of reward, and of encouraging on going progress. So my challenge to you is to find the things you DO love about yourself – and celebrate it. Accentuate it on your body. And yes, even though you are working towards a better physical version of yourself, keep in mind we are ALL ever evolving in that process.

Perfection does not exist… And honestly, it doesn’t have to. So be kind to yourself, and realize that in the pursuit towards your own goals, you may be inspiring someone else in this very moment. So be that example of what a positive mindset, and true determination towards ones goals looks like IN REALITY.

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