While all of us are somewhat influenced by fitspiration, you may not have heard the term before or know exactly what fitspiration is; allow me to enlighten you.
By definition, fitspiration is an umbrella term for all things fitness-related that stimulate our process of achieving a physically ‘fit’ body. It is the source of inspiration for individuals looking to make a positive life change by connecting with a network of people in search of the same goal. Internet communities and fitness influencers share posts detailing their vigorous workouts and diet to promote this ideal. While the concept seems valid, and even positive, the harsh reality is; fitspiration causes more harm than genuine inspiration.
The social media world has more than doubled since 2015; it is estimated that there were 4.48 billion users in 2021. Each user in the UK is predicted to have around 6.9 different social media accounts, making it inevitable that, at one point or another, we will be exposed to a form of fitspiration content. (“How Many People Use Social Media in 2022? (65+ Statistics)”, 2022)
The drive to become aesthetically pleasing appears detrimental to mental well-being. Thousands of articles are focused on female body dissatisfaction; males suffering with body image issues and resultant mental health troubles are heavily overlooked by society; Instagram posts show male fitspiration images and videos motivated by appearance and attractiveness, emphasised by their muscularity rather than fitspiration’s core principles. Male consumers are driven by the obsession of achieving this unachievable ‘beach bod’, but in the end, the question stands: are great abdominal muscles really worth your mental decline? In retrospect, then, social media may not be the best fitness teacher after all.
In a world where becoming absorbed in the hype of social media is so easy, we rarely stop to ask ourselves: is it time the social media world began to set more realistic expectations to the public? In this day and age, should we really bestow the fate of our body image and mental health on a social media platform as toxic as something like Instagram?
Maybe it’s time to ask these questions of ourselves, as well as those we care about.