Instagram was originally founded as a social platform that put imagery above all else. Early users took to hashtags and filters to promote their pages, but, like most other social sites, it has evolved dramatically in the last ten years into a completely different platform.
If you scroll through Instagram’s popular pages, you will likely come across a few dozen 30-second videos of girls in branded workout gear documenting their entire leg day routines. Set to the latest remixed-pop record, these videos are supposed to inspire gym-goers across the country to try out the moves for themselves and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
But like television and magazines before it, Instagram has simultaneously become a place of image obsession. Filters and editing tools can give virtually anyone 8-second abs and leaner legs, giving viewers an often unrealistic picture of what these workouts can deliver.
So how can you navigate the world of Instagram fitness for your benefit, without becoming obsessive?
Spot out the professionals.
There are a lot of popular fitness trainers who offer easily digestible workouts and clean eating suggestions on their pages. But, there are also thousands of individuals, without the education and experience, who will try and offer the same advice. It’s important to consult a professional before starting any new fitness or eating routine, but if you’re going to turn to an Instagram account for advice, make sure the person behind the account has the degree to back it up.
Don’t attempt moves you’re uncomfortable with.
Sometimes the moves that fitness accounts put on display seem near impossible, and that could be because this person had attempted the move dozens of times to no avail, but perfected it through practice. Never lift more weight than you can handle (especially without a spotter), and, if you can, attempt any new moves at home first to make sure you don’t injure yourself.
Remember, everyone’s journey is different.
Instagram has not only become a place for fitness professionals to post their favorite exercises but also a place for people to document their entire fitness journeys. Whether you’re following the account of someone who started their journey to lose weight or to compete in fitness competitions, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. What helped one person get in shape might not work for you. Take their advice with a grain of salt, and incorporate healthier habits until you figure out what works.
If you’re unsure of where to start on your fitness journey, Instagram can be a great place to start. It’s chalk full of quick, easy-to-follow workout videos, healthy recipes, and more to get you on the right foot, as long as you know how to navigate it.