How Social Media Gives a False Conception of Health and Fitness
Social media is loaded with images that aim to influence, from the vain-glorious selfies of beautiful women on Instagram standing in the most posed unnatural positions to take 100 photos to only edit and post that one “perfect” photo. it’s easy to fall into a comparison trap. Everyone does it and you always have to remind yourself that you are not them. It’s so easy to compare. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, or to look in a magazine and decide you’ll never be that pretty or that skinny.
When you see a “fitspiration” photo, you probably (sometimes even without realising it) look at how good her legs, arms and abs are and then instantaneously think how bad your legs, arms and abs are in comparison. It’s unhealthy and can do more harm than good. Social media can easily make you feel that you aren’t good, confident, skinny, wealthy, healthy, educated or empowered enough.
Images traveling throughout social media can do that to you, too. Instagram puts an endless stream of ab shots, flexed muscles and plank times right in your face for self-comparison. And consequently, self-criticism.
If you regularly use social media such as Facebook and Instagram, you will have noticed posts plugging fitness by way of body-conscious photos and memes meant to get people moving.
However, evidence that this type of messaging actually works is not reliable. Does the sight of a ripped body on social media motivate people to pursue health? Does it help clients feel great about their bodies? No it doesn’t and it isn’t realistic either.
Someone who may be able to deadlift 200kg may not be able to run 800metres. Everyone is different and there is so many different aspects of health wether it be cardio, strength, resistance, mental, or even nutritionally healthy. We cannot compare because health and fitness to each individual is different and everyone has goal unique to them. You wouldn’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree.
I have clients who simply just want to learn to eat better, or improve their stamina, or get stronger, who want to loose weight and put weight on. Social media has the power to make us forget that we are individuals with different goals and that just because someone had a success to dieting a certain way does not mean that its going to work for you and everyone else.
Always take a step back and look at the bigger picture, what you see daily on social media is not true to life, its just an idealised version of what’s happening, what something looks like, or how things are going. What we see isn’t how we should be.
– Aaron McC
Evolve Health & Performance