I think like many people, over the last year I've been spending more time indoors, more time online, more time on social media. Given my interests and business it's not surprising that the most content targeted towards me is fitness related. I've noticed a trend that there is typically 3 types of fitness content:
#1 - Actually helpful content:
New exercises, technical overviews, PR lifts, etc... - this is the kind of content I think consumers typically benefit from.
#2 - "Grind Don't Stop", "No Pain No Gain", "Fuck Your Feelings", etc...
This is the segment of posts where usually the person posting has a nice edited/oiled up photo of themselves standing beside I dunno - a salad and a kettlebell? There is some kind of inspirational quote like "You are what you constantly do." / "Today I do what others won't so tomorrow I will do what other's can't" / "I didn't feel like training today but I did so I'm better than you."
#3 - "Be Kind To Yourself", "Moderation Is King", "Self Care Is Important"
After two weeks of not caring about your feelings, the curated content does the old 180 and now preaches listening to your body, prioritizing recovery, take care of yourself and load manage, etc...
Now, clearly - I'm a fan of the first category. I love following along with other fitness professionals and seeing how they can get creative at solving problems. @megphil_fit, @benbrunotraining are perfect examples, they're putting out super creative content that I steal often.
Let's talk about #2 and #3.
The constant flip flopping back and forth between "Fuck Your Feelings Work Hard" and "Self Care Is King" is the exact same thinking that leads to crash dieting. Going as hard as you can until you're on the verge of breaking, then undoing all of your work in the name of self care is a roller coaster you don't want to be on.
Like with everything - the world exists in a shade of grey. In the fitness industry money is often made in black and white. When you're at home watching The Office for the 10th time this year and an oiled up fitness model posts something like "If It Was Easy Everyone Would Do It" holding an avocado and a skipping rope, it makes you feel like you need to work harder because you don't look like them yet. When you're eating your healthy snack and see a post showing your favourite athlete eating Ben and Jerry's on a Sunday night, you break your plan and think "if they can then I can."
Step 1: have a plan. Similar to investing, don't do the meme stocks, don't jump on bandwagons, think what is a sensible long term solution for you and keep paying into your "fitness savings" every week/month/year.
Step 2: if you come across content that makes you feel guilty / gives you the urge to deviate from your long term plan - ask yourself if you're doing yourself a favour by continuing to intake that content. For some people these kinds of accounts are motivating and helpful, others might find it detrimental.
I do think either way, you should ensure you're aware of the following:
- Who is making this content and what are they trying to accomplish?
- How does this content make me feel? Is it helpful?
- Do I want to continue to see it?
I think if you ask yourself those questions while you're scrolling through, you might notice there is some content that isn't serving you.
Just a short ramble - until next week!
Mylan Clairmont MSc, CSCS