1. I cringe when I hear the word “influencer.”
I know that this is supposed to be a positive thing or seen as doing good or spreading positivity, but I always get so confused. Then my confusion leads to annoyance. What are you influencing people to do, exactly? Do your workouts? Spend money on your guides? Use your code at checkout? There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, but on the whole, it appears to be a job title with an empty meaning and with no real guarantee that you’re influencing others at all. Because of the blurry definitions, I didn’t want that for myself.
2. The concept of fitness has become shallow to me.
I have mentioned this fairly recently, but there was a point in time where I became obsessed with my physique. I let it consume my behaviors and thoughts. On the outside, it looked like I had it all together because my gains were on point, but on the inside I lacked purpose and clarity. I understand that “fitness” is just what some people do! They live, eat, and breathe it, and this is wonderful! However, I am first a scientist and a wife, and I cannot fulfill my duties as either of these well enough and maintain this kind of obsession over my physique. My mental health suffered because of this, and I realized that to be a whole person, I needed to ease up on the gym (read more about that here).
3. There are too many fake people trying to be fitstagrammers.
Sure, fake people are everywhere, but hear me out.
I made my fitness page to be a source of reliable, evidence-based advice, no BS workouts or MLM scams. It is difficult to scream louder than all of the BS that is already out there. I quickly realized that to grow and get noticed, you had to participate in liking, sharing, and commenting on others’ posts – something that I can’t do unless I really mean it. I couldn’t stand the “omg babe,” “killin it, boo,” “LOVE,” FAKE comments that people would leave on my posts in addition to the follow for follow nonsense. It goes against everything I stand for to give out or even accept fake compliments. I couldn’t be my genuine self to be “accepted” in the IG fitness community. All I see is a bunch of buttholes and bodies everywhere… where is the personality, the imperfections, the things that make you unique and human for that matter? These things were missing from the majority of the pages I came into contact with.
To tell you the truth, I fretted over how many followers I had for the longest time. I thought that a following meant credibility, and I’m so glad that I realized that was a LIE (in Maury’s voice). To get a following, you have to play the game in some way, shape or form, and this just isn’t ME.
4. The Instagram algorithm.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know… this shouldn’t matter if you have good content. But man, I don’t have time to spend 10 hours per day on Instagram! This is a very minor point, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why no one sees my posts anymore, but I simply cannot post every single day. It’s ridiculous to think that a normal person has the time and energy to create engaging posts day in and day out (unless it’s already their job). I do this for fun; I have more important things to do. If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, most social media (not just IG) is set up so that if you’re a frequent poster, your page will get more views, etc, etc. There’s only a few thousand articles about the stupid algorithm online. Hey, guess what, I’m done fighting it, and I’m just gonna post what I want, K?
5. Working out is only one small part of who I am.
I love lifting weights. I love new gym clothes. Whey protein tastes good to me. People in the gym think that I’m some exercise science major or fitness professional. LOL. Yeah, no. I’m a proud nerd. I wear a lab coat and goggles all day trying to figure out why my reactions don’t work. Beneath my lab coat, you can’t even tell how jacked I might (or might not) be. The truth is that physical fitness is just one small aspect that I include in my life. Health has become more important than ever to me, and I value this over having a six pack.
6. It isn’t making a big enough impact.
This is my most important and final point.
Initially, I was so naive that I thought I could single-handedly dispel every health and fitness myth that exists out there. Man, that’s embarrassing. I think being physically healthy is important, and inspiring others to get in shape is great. I honestly have nothing against you if you want to be or already are a fitness influencer. In fact, I look up to a lot of them!
But for me, being a fitness influencer is not making a big enough impact. My Ph.D. journey so far, combined with my nutrition certification, has helped me realize that we have bigger issues than people needing to get in shape.
I finally came to the conclusion that I can’t truly influence the people who NEED to be influenced through social media. The problem is that your followers are people who already agree with you. That’s why they follow you in the first place. This is true of any niche on social media, not just fitness. You tell them what they like to hear. People who disagree with you are not going to follow you!
If I’m trying to change the minds of folks about important issues, it won’t be through social media.
I also realized that I was trying to be something I’m not. It’s hard to realize that about yourself! It requires a lot of soul searching. However, I’d rather realize this sooner rather than later. I’m thankful that I started out as a fitness page, because it opened my eyes to how much misinformation was out there (and ya’ll know how I feel about this!).
It set me on the path of science communication and has sparked something inside of me to make an actual difference. For now, I’m just using social media to the best of my ability to show that your life can truly be improved by becoming a better critical thinker!
This obviously isn’t about appearances, and I can tell a lot of folks have gotten bored by this and left, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m not trying to make a name for myself, or get noticed; I’m talking about influencing informed decision making, behavior change, and societal progress. To do this, social media is not the final destination. It can’t be.
I have no clue where my path will take me just yet, but to quote David Bowie:
I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
I hope that this post inspired you in some way to pursue what you like, what aligns with your personal goals, and what allows you to be your true, genuine self… as cliché as that sounds! Don’t ever limit yourself or your abilities, especially if it’s based on what others are doing.
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