Almost everyone will follow fitness influencers or 'fitspos' on Instagram, be it for motivation, workout ideas, recipes or helpful tips. Many of these influencers manage to cultivate enormous followings with zero qualifications, and very little science based knowledge of the industry; and then promptly release a workout guide or endorse a brand despite the lack of professional qualifications or research.
The vast majority are very genetically gifted, and just because they look the way they do, it certainly doesn't mean you should train as they do nor that it qualifies them to give fitness advice. Everyone is different and you should train and eat as such. It may be very easy to fall for the cleverly marketed new supplement they are selling, but that doesn't mean that it will make you look like them, or that it is right for you. The best advice you can get will come from a qualified personal trainer or fitness professional who can advise what's best for YOU.
On top of the unregulated and misinformed information that is spread around social media, a huge negative is the way that it can make you feel. A study showed that women who viewed a set of Instagram fitness images reported lower levels of body satisfaction and self esteem than women who viewed a set of Instagram travel images. This just goes to show the negative impact that these images can have. Yes they may be motivating but perhaps for all the wrong reasons?
It's impossible to ignore the positive sides to Instagram fitness: it's inspired people to love fitness, makes people accountable, has created a great community and there is some really good information out there - if you follow the right people.
Some suggestions of people who are great to follow are:
Alan Flanagan (@thenutritional_advocate)
Alan has a masters in Nutritional medicine and consistently churns out post after post of helpful, insightful and research backed nutritional advice and information.
Jeff Nippard (@jeffnippard)
Jeff has a youtube channel where he talks about all the different styles of training and even goes into depth on each exercise and how small exercises can be manipulated to achieve greater results. Again, everything is backed by research.
Khrys Speed (@kdotspeed)
Khrys is a weightlifter who is one of the very best at helping people get the most out of specifically their Olympic Lifts and Squat. Personally I have stolen countless corrective exercises for both myself and my clients (Sorry Khrys).
It's a great thing for people to be inspired by something they see on Instagram, and this can sometimes be the push they need to improve their lifestyle and health, however it's important to remember that images on Instagram aren't real. They show an edited, photoshopped, filtered highlight reel of someone's life. When was the last time you posted about the negative parts of your life, or an image where you thought you didn't look good on social media. Never! So comparing yourself to something unachievable and unobtainable is both demotivating and demoralising, and certainly won't help your progress to a healthier lifestyle. However following helpful, Motivational and Entertaining individuals can be a better way to help you on your path to a healthier you.