Personal trainer Emmet shares why we shouldn't be so quick to make assumptions about fitness influencers on Instagram.

Instagram is becoming one of the most used social media platforms in the world.

Since being acquired by Facebook in 2012 it has grown to over 700 million daily users and it’s ever popular Insta Stories feature has grown to over 250 million active users.

Every interest on Instagram has its own group of ‘influencers’.
These people will have thousands, hundred of thousands and sometimes millions of followers and their word is very powerful.

The ones with the largest followings can command huge fees for endorsing products.
Pictures of these influencers with a certain product can cost brands anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per picture, depending on how many followers the influencer has and how much weight their endorsement has behind it.

Here, unfortunately is where we run into the issue with Instagram.

I am going to talk about the fitness and nutrition side of Instagram, as this is where my interests lie.

When you take a look through different feeds and accounts on Instagram, you can pick out trends.

If you take female fitness accounts and you look at the ‘likes’ on their posts, you can see huge differences in the number of like depending on the type of picture that is posted.

A picture that is informative can have a few hundred likes.
A picture with a partner doing something together will have similar likes.
A picture of the female in a bikini or semi naked (which seems to be the trend) will have a few thousand likes.

Every time, it is almost guaranteed that the last type of picture will have 3-4 times the likes of any other type on their account.

So, you tend to see a lot of them using these type of pictures more frequently in order to grow their following and gain more likes.

Then you will see their body posts and their ‘before and after’ pictures.

These look impressive, but with the amount of filters, and apps that are on the market at the moment, it is very difficult to pick out whether these are honest and accurate or whether they are all angles, filters and photo shopped.

Ben Carpenter has made a fantastic video on how easy this is to do and how you should always be skeptical about what you are looking at.

You can take a look at that here
Ben Carpenter Instagram Filters

This literally took a few minutes and he made drastic changes to how he looked physically, while also removing any skin issues that he had.

You don’t even need these type of apps in order to make yourself look different physically.

  1. Pull your leggings up higher.
  2. Angle yourself off at a 45 degree angle.
  3. Suck in and tense your core.
  4. Take the picture from a higher angle.
  5. Get some flattering lighting.

That’s how easy it is to make yourself look visibly thinner and more toned in 10 seconds.

It can also be done in 3 seconds

Now when we look at the influencers on Instagram and we look at the possible endorsements they could get and the weight of having to look a certain way for their followers, do you honestly think that they won’t be doing these things in their images?

I can tell you that they are.

Wouldn’t you?

We all would, and we all do it.
Every time we take a selfie.
Every time we see a picture after a night out.

We are all critical of ourselves and how we look and want to look, especially when the pictures will end up on social media.

Whey then do, we look at these influencers and their images and feel bad that we do not look that way?

We assume that they actually walk around looking like their images.
We assume that the products they endorse actually work and are what keeps them in shape (Fit Tea anyone)
We assume that they don’t use filters, editing apps and lighting angles to make their images look the best they can be.
We assume that the images of them looking their best, is how they look all the time.

We assume.

Yet this is not how it is.

We strive to walk around looking like people who don’t actually look like that.

So why do we feel bad that we will never look like that?

We shouldn’t, because for the majority of us, it is almost impossible to walk around looking like they do all the time.

It would actually be unhealthy.

So the next time that you are scrolling through Instagram and looking at these people and you start to feel bad about how you look compared to them.

Stop and ask yourself if that person is having a positive or negative influence on you.

If they are making you feel bad, then you probably shouldn’t be following them, no matter how much ‘motivation’ you might glean from their images.

You must always remember that, no matter how good they look in those images, the reality will be very different.

The next block of my Fit in 42 program starts on the 28th of August.
If you would like to train in a comfortable and welcoming environment, drop me a message and join Letterkenny’s leading group fitness program.