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Social Media: How’s it Affecting Our Performance in the Gym?

Let’s face it, you’re probably one of the 99% of my readers who are using social media on a consistent basis. More specifically, a daily basis.

In the world of fitness, bodybuilding, CrossFit, you name it, Instagram is the place to be for it.

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You’ve got your “fit-chicks” and dudes juiced up to the gills, all the way to your average Joe just looking to document his journey into the big, scary world of fitness. There’s so much variety out there, that there’s bound to be something for everyone.

But is it too much variety? Are we being bombarded with too much information? Too much “fitspiration?”

The Psychological Aspect

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How can this so-called “information overload” be affecting our mental health? It can’t be good for us, can it? Well, just like with everything in life, it’s not so black-and-white?

In all honesty, it’s very difficult to tell, because there are so many different variables at play:

And I could go on and on about this. Many casual female users of Instagram (those who seem to scroll through rather than post content) seem to have an issue with the content released by other female “influencers”, as it often includes similar themes; sexually suggestive images/poses, emphasizing appearance-related ideals, all in an effort to promote a product a large majority of the time. And I’m not alientating here either, men are just as guilty of this.

Now, don’t get me wrong, promoting oneself and their products via social media is not a problem in its own right. The problem occurs when people are giving excessive credit to a product that helped them build and produce the body that they possess. Even though this sort of dishonest marketing has always existed in the fitness industry, social media gives it a whole new depth on which to thrive.

A Money-Making Machine

If you’ve been an avid reader of my content, you know how I feel about most sports supplements: Garbage

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There are exceptions. Feel free to take your multivitamins, fish oils, protein, creatine, and several other scientifically-backed ingredients in order to boost your performance, along with some other supplements to relieve any deficiencies in nutrients that you may have.

But you know what I’m talking about here as it pertains to social media. The constant bombardment of detox teas, testosterone boosters, weight-loss aids, and other supplements that have zero evidence that they work!

The problem here is that the body is a great selling tool. A great physique is powerful. It illustrates hard work and intelligence. It tells their audience that they are an individual who is experienced and knows what they are talking about. And a lot of the time, that’s very true.

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It does take intelligence, patience, hard work, and a whole slew of other positive qualities in a person to build and form an appreciable physique. But what’s also true is that one can turn this intelligence and use it for the sake of pure monetary gain.

“Money talks”, as they say. Usually, most of those who start out on Instagram or any other social media platform have the best of intentions. They aim to document their progress; share with you how they got to where they are. And given, there are people out there just like that, selling products and services they truly believe in and that have worked for hundreds of thousands of people.

But most of the time, they sign contracts and deals with companies who look to prey on the desperation and innocence of others. The point here?

ALWAYS BE SKEPTICAL!

Always do your research before investing into a product or service that somebody on social media is promoting. Whether it be a scientific study on a particular supplement, or reviews of a person’s training programs, always arm yourself with the knowledge before you invest your hard-earned money.

So Are There Any Benefits to Social Media?

Alright, enough of being a negative Nancy (for now). Of course, not all of social media is bad. There are plus sides of having access to a vast array of people and information at your fingertips.

The Information

You have access to so much information out there, it’s unfathomable. A valuable skill that you need to develop here is how to cycle through what’s good, and what’s crap.

This can be tough to do since there are so many different kinds of people out there that exist on social media. So the only real practical piece of advice that I can give you is to follow certain accounts from different parts of the fitness community for a little while; maybe a bodybuilder, then a bikini competitor, a science nerd, a dietician, you get the idea.

Follow people from a variety of different subcategories in the fitness community and over time you’ll see who’s providing valuable information to you, and who’s just trying to shove their BS product or service down your throat.

The Motivation

Can many people on Instagram be fake as shit? Sure.

But, what Instagram is a great place for is motivation. As I’ve discussed previously, it takes pure discipline to achieve the majority of your success.

But motivation is still a piece of the “success” equation. We can’t rule it out entirely. None of us out there are “self-made”. We all receive influences from others in one way or another, whether it be from family members, friends, celebreties, and yes, even Instagram “influencers.”

There are some days where you really don’t want to train. You’re too tired. You’re too hungry. There are some days you really don’t want to stick to your diet. You’re miserable. You feel like you’re being deprived.

But sometimes all it takes is looking at the hardships and struggles that somebody else has gone through, even if you don’t know them. Instagram provides us with such a powerful tool to see this all unfold; visual images and videos.

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For many, this is so much more meaningful then just the written word.

Keeping Up with New Products and Services

Yeah, yeah, I know I just completely bashed this earlier, but there are actually some good products and services out there in this field!

DISCLAIMER!!!

Anything I’m about to mention here I am not paid to advertise or endorse, these are my true opinions of what I believe to be good examples of paid services in the fitness niche.

Coaching Services

Let’s take Mike Matthews, owner of Legion Athletics, for example.

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This man created a very honest and down-to-earth supplement company, even stating that supplementation is a very small piece of the equation when it comes down to your muscle-building and fat-loss goals. He also makes blogs and offers coaching services based around the science that his company uses to formulate its supplements, as well as his own anecdotal experiences in the realms of training himself and others.

Go check him out at @muscleforlifefitness

Nutritional Information

Although very controversial, a name that pops into my mind is Layne Norton for this category.

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He has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, and is also a champion bodybuilder and powerlifter. Many feel that his approach is too bashful (which I can agree it can be at times), but it provides a unique twist and insight into the info that exists on sports nutrition.

Go check him out at @biolayne

The Bottom Line

So as you can see, there’s no simple one-size-fits-all answer to this very broad question. Social media is going to affect everybody differently. Some people even prefer not to use it at all. And that’s okay!

What I want you to take out of this is that as long as social media provides value to you and you use it in moderation just like anything and everything else in life, then you’ll be okay.

Agree or disagree with any of my points? Let me know in the comments!

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zachmacdonald

Boston-born bodybuilder currently residing in the beautiful city of Tampa, Florida in pursuit of a Master's Degree in Exercise & Nutrition Science. Competitive NPC Classic Physique athlete with a passion for strength training, health, well-being, and the science that makes it all possible. I want to sift through all of the B.S that's out there to provide you with the best information possible for you to achieve YOUR goals, whatever they may be. Human physiology is an amazing thing, let's find out what the human body is capable of!

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