Like it or not, we live in a world now where people can earn a living by being healthy and taking photos of themselves living in a said healthy way.
Here is a regram from my @28bysamwood insta page from last week. On my program we are about progress NOT perfection and to help real people you have to keep it real: This is 2 photos of me taken 5 seconds apart! Don’t get caught up in what other people look like. Photos you see on instagram and other social platforms are not a real representation of what people look like. Lighting, posture, a different angle and every other trick in the book are used. If it inspires then it can be a good thing. If it creates an unrealistic comparison or body of desire that effects your feeling of self then it is unhealthy. Be aware of others but not fixated. Spend that time and energy progressing every day and work on being the healthy, happy, best version of YOU! #28bysamwood #forhumanpeople
Whether or not those people actually lead healthy lifestyles outside of what they post on social media seems to be irrelevant – some of them could be constantly fuelled by a mixture of human growth hormones, antidepressants and cocaine for all we know – but as long as they have the right look and a peppy-enough persona in front of a camera, for better or for worse they’re going to make a living.
Of course, we’d never bash anyone encouraging people to become the best version of themselves. That’s what we aim to do here.
But all the same, there’s often a thick layer of bollocks behind the heavily filtered facades, and it’s worth keeping an eye out.
The Word #Balance Is Thrown Around Way Too Much
Let us preface this by saying balance is a fundamentally good thing to have in any lifestyle and you should treat yourself and learn when to let go. It’s simply key to your mental health.
The problem is that all that sentiment loses a great deal of its value when it’s being said by a fitness blogger who’s clearly sacrificed more time, energy and sweat to get to their level of fitness then their followers are ever likely to.
“Balance should be to move in some way every day”
“If your clients are living in the real world then you need to too,” says Sam Wood, Australian fitness guru and founder of the incredibly successful 28 by Sam Wood program.
“Balance should be to move in some way every day; it’s about real food and making good choices (most of the time) and not depriving yourself of things you love as that will not be sustainable.”
Balance is great, but if you want to get to their level, balance often needs redefining.
People Literally Instagram For A Living
Most people can poke holes in how the typical social media lifestyle is played out these days.
It’s not hard to tell when social media celebrities are blurring the lines between where their social media life ends and where real life begins.
“If the only person you have ever trained is you, you simply don’t get it”
Nonetheless, when you find a personality that resonates with you, it’s easy to forget that many of these people are being paid to do what they portray themselves as doing every day, either through selling products, getting ad value or playing a simple prank.
This frees up a whole bunch of time for them to achieve levels of fitness and nutrition that aren’t practical or realistic for any career-driven person who has hopes of also maintaining a healthy social life.
“I always say that if the only person you have ever trained is you, you simply don’t get it,” says Wood.
“As a trainer for 17 years I have trained hundreds of clients, all shapes, sizes, goals, genetics, personalities and attitudes through tens of thousands of sessions. Through this experience I have learnt to adapt and modify to find what really works for most people.”
People Will Plug Anything If It’s Free
We’re not saying that fitness bloggers fundamentally lack integrity, but in today’s marketing climate where likes, shares and comments are treated like gold dust, an awful lot of pseudoscience gets thrown around.
Especially by people who are simply too caught up in their own influencer status to think about whether their plugging is actually helpful for their followers in any way.
Anyone can spin their own bullshit about how well a certain all-natural powder helps their immunity, stomach, skin and hair literally all at once, but a quick glance at a medical journal can often save you a lot of time and a lot of money.
Wood chooses to take these endorsements with a grain of salt “unless they truly align with their bigger picture philosophies and beliefs – and they come with a credible source”.
Everything Is Sucked, Tucked & Angled To Distort Reality
We all live in a constant fight against our own bodies. Perhaps you keep a sneaky bottle of concealer in your medicine cabinet, or it’s become muscle memory to always keep that gut sucked in as you go about your daily life.
“I have shared some rather unflattering pics of myself to show my clients and followers the tricks used”
You’d never think that about fitness bloggers, but short of a few good, honest folks who value progress above perfection, many are leading people to believe that fitness goals aren’t worth having unless you’re striving to qualify for the next Olympia.
Keep in mind that anyone who’s getting paid to run a fitness Instagram has had hours of practicing and perfecting the art of getting their body looking the best on your phone screen.
Woods’ motto is “Progress not Perfection”.
“I have shared some rather unflattering pics of myself to show my clients and followers the tricks used and the response has been incredible – people want the truth.”
You Only Ever See The End Product
The biggest issue with how social media presents the ideal lifestyle to impressionable people lies in how it dictates a way of life.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a personal trainer with his eight pack bulging around Bondi’s outdoor gym, or you see someone who seems like your average joe doing core work that should be way out of their league.
“A place that is relatable is something people want to read and see”
People might stress how much work it’s taken to get to that point, but you never see the failed reps, you never see the pain and you never see the suffering.
This might not always be the case though, says Wood.
“I feel there is a shift here. Will it always be the majority case? Probably, but I and some others see that Instagram is to tell story and a true story that traces right back to perhaps when things weren’t so great ( a place that is relatable) is something people want to read and see.”