This summer, I decided to start a fitness instagram page. "@grace.b.fit" became a place where I could share my passion for fitness, tips for running training, and my daily weight training workouts.
Originally, I started the page because I wanted to have a platform for networking purposes. I received my certification in personal training this summer from the National Council on Strength and Fitness, and I wanted to have somewhere I could refer potential clients who were interested in my workout style. Intriguingly, over the first few weeks my page began to gain traction from a certain demographic. Fellow college-aged women were following my account, commenting on my page, and generally engaging with the posts I produced. It was so encouraging and lovely to hear from other girls my age with the same passion states or countries away from me.
After returning to school, I have been unable to post as much as I would like to. But the passion remains the same. I love sharing my workouts with others because I would love to be able to help even just one person. It has taken me years to learn all that I know now about nutrition, running, and weightlifting. If I can share some of that knowledge with others to help them better their life, then I would love to do it!
My absolute favorite thing is to have close friends both at home and at Emory come to me in person and say they've tried one of my workouts. A downside to social media is how anonymous it is. I can chat to other accounts in the comments but it remains a conversation between two screens. When someone in my daily life shares that they have done a workout of mine, it makes my day. It proves to me that I am reaching people that I care about.
Unfortunately, many people start social media accounts in order to gain a following or to get noticed by brands for sponsorships. This is especially true in the fitness industry. Often that means that there are so many accounts out there with ulterior motives. They share fat-burning products, workout routines that lead to overtraining, and promote an unhealthy body image and relationship with food. This balance is so hard to find and I do believe that many of these accounts have the best of intentions. It is highly probable that they are sharing the best information they have. If I had attempted to run a fitness instagram just one year ago, it would look so different to the account I have today. My knowledge about nutrition, exercise, and running grows everyday because I push myself to try new things, experience discomfort, and work on my body image. Often, I fail.
I still have days where I look in the mirror and nit-pick every inch of the body I see. But I do my best to remind myself that past-Grace would have killed for the way I look now. Every now and then, the gym is the last place I want to be. I make sure to share that on my platform so that my page doesn't look like an unrealistic fitness highlight reel. I'm also working on sharing my failures too. If I don't hit a lift or fail a new exercise, I want people to see that just as much as I want them to see me hit a PR, complete a long run, or make a perfectly healthy meal.
Through starting this instagram, I have learned that life is messy. Sharing both the ups and downs is far more important than feeding into the fad diet culture and cardio bunny stereotype. Social media can be an amazing platform if you use it in the right way. As long as you don't place your worth in your followers, likes, and comments, the instagram community can be incredibly inspiring. I have learned so much about different forms of exercise and how it affects my body over the past few months because I have pushed myself to try things other people post. No one person knows everything there is to know about exercise. You can constantly learn more. I guess my focus has shifted from my original networking purpose now. I use my account to better myself and push myself out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, I can also inspire others to live a healthy and happy life at the same time.