Is this a rant? Kind of.
We’ve all seen those insanely shredded, jacked up and perpetually pumped fitness folk with quotes like,“Your only competition is yourself” or “Harness the Power – Conquer,” touting a bottle of BCAA’s. Then there are the overly made up, contoured, false eyelashes and all, glamour shots with the side pose-glutes-out-ridiculousness. One more thing, (scratching head) how have some managed to accumulate over 250k + followers? Apparently now everyone is a physique model with a sponsorship. – spoiler alert – or, perhaps just a Canon EOS 7D Mark II.
What’s even more astounding are the sky-high prices (no joke) being offered for “Online Training.” (But still have gmail accounts?) Things that make you go hmm…. Let’s just dispel one thing – no, they are not all organic followers. So, into the spam they go.
To scroll or not to scroll
That is the question. It’s called feed scrolling syndrome and it’s legit. That being said, social media has provided us with a way to constantly occupy ourselves, aimlessly going through picture after picture. As I see it, this really is no genius creation. Back in the day we called them photo albums. The big difference here is that after taking the pictures and anxiously awaiting for them to be developed, we compiled them in an album for display.
According to goodtherapy.org “Young people turn to Instagram, Facebook, and texts to communicate and find a sense of belonging, which can lead to unrealistic expectations of happiness, a decrease in empathy, false presentations of self, and possibly isolation.”
There is a big difference between doing something to get attention and getting attention doing something. Fuggedabout the apps with filters and the ability to cleverly adjust shadows, contrasts, structure, and brightness. So, sans the perfect overhead lighting and filter, let’s get to the real meat and potatoes shall we?
Working out isn’t a glamorous activity. You work up a sweat, at least you are supposed to, so I’m sure mascara in the eye isn’t pleasurable. And do we really need to see another transformation pic? Let’s not get it twisted, I applaud the hard-work. When I think back to my early twenties, and leaner than a walking boneless chicken breast, I had one thing on my mind and that was to build muscle. I poured over magazines, books, and asked everyone I could for advice and those magic tips that would help me get the results I was after. Now we call them “Gains.”
Every gym has a mayor. You know, those peacocks who strut around lats’ flared, like they own the place. Except they don’t – they pay a monthly membership fee to be there just like you and me. They like to regal us all with their knowledge so I would ask anyone I could, for pointers and ways to become a mayor just like them. I listened, took the knowledge I thought was relevant, and moved on. I met people in the process too. One day I walked in and people noticed changes. There was no need to say anything. Results speak for themselves.
It’s called social interaction.
Over time, I began to see results. But not without hard work, sweat, determination, and most of all patience. Once I left the gym exhausted, went into the parking lot and puked. I worked my ass off that day. On one hand I was miserable, and on the other proud. I pushed myself to the limit. This was long before social media, however, and I wouldn’t have felt the need to let people know any way. Particularly not with a “clever spin” one-liner. It was what it was.
With age comes wisdom. First, we should never compare ourselves to others. Ever. We are are all individuals, with our own genetic makeup. Second, is progress easy? Hell no. Nothing is. However, when you see the memes about the summit, don’t forget about the mountain. Nothing is instant and results take time. Instead of “transformations” we should be focusing on how to get there. Ways and techniques on how to achieve those results. I applaud the short videos on demonstrating technique. And the ones showing just how creative a person can get with standard attachments and boring routines, are down right brilliant. But what’s with the hair styling videos? I thought you where a “Fitness Model.”
And just for the record to some of the youngsters: We older folk who have been around, and in more than our fair share of gyms, know the signs and symptoms of, shall we say, someone who isn’t natty. If in fact that word still means “natural.” We know what to recognize. Just saying. (Insert emoticon winking) So, please stop doing what I believe is a major disservice, and telling people its natural – when it isn’t. Just come clean with everyone. Many will probably still follow you.
Hitting the gym on days the sofa calls out, following a nutrition plan designed specifically around your goals, and sticking to it, and continuous hard work, dedication, and sweat pays off. Really, it does. Not everyone aspires to be a physique competitor. We should all aspire to be stronger, healthier versions of ourselves though.
And so, all rants eventually must come to an end. Before you go scrolling through inspirational memes again, keep this word in mind: Realness.
For more realness follow @jwilltrain on Twitter.
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