There's nothing I love more than seeing people improve their physical and mental health by hitting the gym. Even though I still hold some disdain for Planet Fitness (see my article from a while back calling them out), if people feel most comfortable there and are actually working on their health, I am 110% behind them. However, there is something missing from the majority of those who are the face of the fitness world — transparency.
As my headline suggests, fitness isn't always fun and gains. If you're like me, I thoroughly enjoy physically and mentally pushing myself to the brink. For most people, however, the physical and mental grind is the reason why fitness turns them away because it's not easy. From a mentality standpoint, putting your body under stress doesn't seem worth the investment of time for many people. The problem I have with the fitness world as it is right now is a lack of transparency. We know that people put the most filtered versions of themselves on Instagram. It can be a perception thing, an art-based form of a self-marketing thing, or a completely born out of insecurity thing (this list is not exhaustive). This is dangerous for those trying to get into fitness, and those trying to stay in fitness.
People who are learning about the fitness world, i.e. how to diet and exercise as well as find the routine that works best for them, see the polished versions of those individuals they look up to. They never see the entire truth. Yes, most days working out for me is great and overall, I love dieting because of its structure. However, rarely shown is how much fitness can plain and simply suck. When I'm sick, do you think I want to lift? You think eating the same meal for five or six days a week is awesome every single day? You think I don't feel like slacking off sometimes? I don't, it sucks, and hell yes.
Those who play face in the industry, however, like to act like fitness is a breeze. They post short workout clips and make it seem like getting results is throwing some weights around a few days each week and hitting the treadmill. Then they post their "cheat" meals that they can eat "because they lift," and promise results from a half-assed regiment.
I can tell you one thing about these people — they are either genetically blessed, or they are faking it to make themselves look good. I used to idolize these people in the industry because their lives seemed so perfect. But just because @GirlsNameHereFitLife is 5'2 and has been naturally toned her whole life doesn't make her a fitness personality that you should follow just because she posts a few lifting photos and videos. Same for @BrosWithBigArmsAndChickenLegs, posting cheeseburgers and pizza after a "lift session."
We as people should learn to better see through the BS people put online.
This fakeness on social media creates a false perception for those who don't understand how a fit lifestyle actually works. They get discouraged because they don't see results that they want, even though they follow the plans that these fitness personalities sold them on. Even better, they believe they can run the weekend warrior diet of crash dieting during the week and feeling like garbage, but slam down drinks and junk food all weekend and still look shredded.
Most importantly, good and honest people are duped into believing that a lackadaisical workout and dieting regiment will produce results, simply based on what the influencers are publishing on their pages. These new people don't understand that it takes consistency, and doing the work even when you do not want to. Or that calories are the ultimate determinant of your overall body composition, and orienting your diet around them and not some dumb fad diet is the way to achieve results.
So many great messages get lost in the polished bullshit because fitness is "cool" now. Fitness isn't always fun, and gains don't come easily. The reason I started my fitness page, @gainwithgoodwin, isn't that I wanted to show off or get endorsements. It was so I could be someone different in the industry, and help enhance the messages of those who don't put out bullshit content (see @syattfitness as a great example).
You don't have to torture yourself to make progress with fitness. Just know that progress isn't always as glorious as these semi-celebrities make it out to be.