By now, you’ll probably have gathered that I love fitness, but have a problem with the #fitspo community on Instagram.
I feel as though my irritation with instagram fitness is heightened due to the fact that I was very much a part of the community for so long, so I know it inside out. A recent maturity/realisation has caused me to view Instagram fitness in a totally different light… a sort of sinister one.
In summary, here are my main issues:
I’ve become very selective with who I follow on Instagram, and I’ve had to mute the fitness category (and even some people that I follow), simply because I’m fed up of seeing bottom. There are some incredible fitness accounts out there, but it’s really such a pleasure to find an account which doesn’t have an underlying ‘bottom’ message being thrust upon me. As I wrote in my last blog, the celebration and validation around these bodies is causing a sort of obsession around this look. Girls everywhere are contorting their bodies to have tiny waists and huge bottoms to get celebration and validation. It seems how big your bottom is and how many followers you have on Instagram is a sort of currency – it’s distorting what people value and is causing obsessive and unhealthy behaviours.
Posting a picture of my bottom. Seems pretty harmless right? But what if the reason I’m posting is because I feel overwhelmed with competition. As though everybody is better than me until I post a picture proving that I too, am a ‘BiG bOoTy BiTcH’ who deserves praise and validation online. As I said, Instagram likes and followers have become a sort of modern-day currency. The more extreme the ass-to-waist ratio, the more likes a picture will get. It’s a constant battle to post a picture which contains more outrageous proportions than the last persons.
If you scroll down on my Instagram page, there are so many examples of me doing this. I’m explaining a really deep and meaningful piece of research which could help somebody be healthier, but overshadowing it all is a sexualised picture of my bottom in skin-tight leggings twisting around to suck my waist in an extra 5 inches. Come off it – do you care about helping other people get fitter and healthier? Or is this entire thing just a massive ego/self-validation trip? Or are you just trying to get more followers? After all, we know that the more sexualised an image is, the higher its engagement will be.
Over the years I’ve promoted a few products here and there, but if I’m completely honest, there has only ever been 1 brand which really made a difference to my life and that I could promote with absolute honesty and confidence. That brand is Gold Standard Nutrition. They sent me pre-cooked chicken breasts which I absolutely loved and ate for years and years. I eventually parted ties with them after I’d just got bored of the chicken. I think I’d actually over-eaten it because I loved it so much – it was so convenient for me to eat around work and I genuinely enjoyed it! I recently parted ties with my Musclefood and Myprotein sponsors simply because I wasn’t getting any benefit from the brand and our messages were misaligned, so couldn’t confidently and happily promote it on my page.
There are lots of micro-influencers who will promote nutritional products that are backed by no evidence or that are damaging, just because it gives them free product or the credibility that comes with working with a brand.
In summary, the whole #fitspo community is becoming increasingly disingenuous and dangerous as people continue to try and make a living off the Instagram platform. Nobody wants to hear that getting in shape requires eating less and exercising more. That’s too simple, it’s going to take AGES, and ultimately, it’s not going to sell any product.