Yes, fitness professionals actually enjoy working out, they put a huge priority on their training and nutrition, with many seemingly defining themselves by gym prowess, numbers on the bar, or the amount of ab veins they have, and not shy about flaunting it on social media as a highlight reel of pictures and video.
What you can’t tell from these pictures is that it requires many hours each week in the gym, many hours thinking and planning their nutrition, and many hours focussing on body shape. Selfies in the changing rooms, or topless training videos from every conceivable angle, under the best lighting they can find and posting them as a highlight reel for their social media also ranks high on the agenda.
If I want to learn to swim I don’t really want to see videos and pictures of the instructor jumping off the 10m board with somersaults and half twists in his speedos, when I’m afraid of the water to begin with.
We’ve seen a recent article by a girl with a huge following on instagram delete her social media accounts and admit ““…Stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs,” O’Neill wrote. “I just want younger girls to know this isn’t candid life, or cool or inspirational. Its contrived perfection made to get attention.”
With such expectations, inevitably come extreme measures for those seeking that perfect physique. At best it demands fad, quick fixes, restricted diets and overtraining, and at worst, well, the needle exchange centre in Merchant’s Quay has seen an increase in steroid usage for the last few years with the average age of users just 24.
So what can you do about it?
Know that overly dramatic results in a short period of time are either the result of drug use or manipulation of certain variables between before and after pictures ie. water manipulation, lighting, tanning, angles etc. Drugs are illegal of course so you’ll never find an admittance of this but suffice to say if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Know that bodies come in different shapes and sizes and what’s possible for one person or deemed healthy, may be unhealthy for another. Dropping to extremely low levels of body fat can have a detrimental effect on endocrine health (including reproductive health), your immune system, mental health and for women amenorrhoea.
If all of this sounds a little depressing know that it’s written to help you avoid travelling down the wrong road and choosing the right one. Find a sustainable plan with both training and nutrition that you can stick to. Find a gym or trainer that’s welcoming, approachable and can devise a plan to fit your lifestyle, but most of all, know that dramatic results are possible but they’re a consequence of time and hard work, and if you need a dose of how most people feel about the gym you might just be better off swapping #fitspo for Adele…