The dark side of Fitspiration
Fitspiration is one of the new hip words. According to the Urban Dictionary Fitspiration "is using examples of good fitness (people, photographs, skinny jeans, etc) as inspiration to attain a fitness goal." Fitspiration is great for getting inspiration and motivation to work towards your fitness goals. However, that being said recent studies show that there is darker side of fitspiration.
Tiggerman and Zaccardo (2015) found in their study that exposure to fitspiration images on Instagram resulted in negative moods and body dissatisfaction among the participants. Blogs, apps, Instagram and Twitter are all full of dietary posts and workout routines. It may not be worded as advise, but so many fit people and athletes posts pictures of their food, bodies and workouts. Some followers take this as advice on how to eat and workout, which can result in compulsive exercise and disordered eating (Hefner et al, 2016). Though followers forget that the majority of people only post pictures of the healthy food they eat and not their cheat meals. The same goes for workouts, the 86 videos of them failing is not online, it is only the 87th video that makes it, as that is the one where they succeed and all their hard work pays off. Nevertheless, people who are motivated by unhealthy sense of guilt, lack of confidence, and tendency to compare themselves with others, can unfortunately often be aggerated by "fitspired" pictures instead of being positive inspired by them.
It is up to us as social media users to stop the cycle and start focusing on the positive things we CAN do and not all the things we cannot do. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration on social media, but remember to focus on yourself and not anyone else.
A personal note:
First of all I am absolutely addicted to Instagram. I love it! As someone who loves working out and challenging myself to see what my body can do, Instagram is a great please to be inspired by other people. However, that being said it can also be a dangerous road to self destruction if I'm not having a good day. I am following all these amazing athletes on Instagram, they can do many incredible things, which is why I follow them in the first place. I sometimes try to copy them and end up failing, which is extremely difficult for me handle. These are the times I need to remind myself of where I started and focus on the stuff I have accomplished and not the things I can't do (yet).
1. Hefner, V; , Sam M. Dorros, S.M.; Jourdain, N.; Liu, C.; Tortomasi, A.; Greene, M.P.; Brandom, C.; Ellet, M. and Bowles, N. (2016), Mobile exercising and tweeting the pounds away: The use of digital applications and microblogging and their association with disordered eating and compulsive exercise, Cogent Social Sciences, 2
2. Tiggemann, M., & Zaccardo, M. (2015), Exercise to be fit, not skinny: The effect of fitspiration imagery on women’s body image. Body Image, 15, 61–67