The term influencer is synonymous with those who are leaders in their field and people who effect change but we hear it so often that its starting to lose its meaning. Studies have shown that the over use of social media can cause depression, the worst offender being Instagram which also happens to be the leader in influencer culture. Now i’m not knocking Instagram, I think it’s a great platform but I learned a long time ago how to curate my feed so I'm only seeing things that are positive and useful to my life. I’m no longer letting the so called influencers influence me, unless its someone telling me where to get the best burger and then I may be swayed.
Being a fitness professional my feed was littered with images of buff dudes lifting weights and women with 6 pack abs all offering the promise of a better body if I just do what they do. So much of what I was seeing made me feel bad about myself. I tried what they suggested, the workouts and the food plans but it never really changed anything. Why?! because there’s no one method that works, there are so many external factors to consider. When I work with someone whether it’s in person or online I delve deep into someones past and present. Beware anyone who wants to push something or sell you something without truly understanding who you are and what you want or someone who makes promises but offers no guarantees.
I work very hard to stay healthy. I’ve never been the fastest, strongest, had the hottest bod or been the most coordinated but I'm dedicated and I understand what it takes. Over time I have done things with my body I didn't know were possible and pushed it to its limits. I’ve dropped weight and gained weight to understand the bodies process. I’ve worked through injuries and I’ve dealt with my own issues of anxiety and self doubt.
Thanks to social media and pop culture our lives and our phones have become inundated with mixed messages and conflicting ideas. The concept of getting in shape and being healthy is simple and the act itself is easy, as long as you know how to block out the noise of 10 different people telling you to do the exact opposite of each other. First and foremost do what you enjoy. If you hate your workouts you’ll never do them, if you know you can’t stick to a food plan be honest with yourself and find a plan that does work for you. If you set unrealistic goals you've already set yourself up to fail and that just leaves you open to feeling bad about yourself which is the antithesis of what you set out to achieve.
Im not saying that everyone who promotes themselves on social media is a fraud. There are some amazing trainers, group instructors and health food bloggers. You just have to know who's legit and who you should quit.
- Beware those who post constant selfies of themselves working out without an explanation of what they're doing and why, to me that shows you can take a killer photo but there should be context.
- Avoid those who never let you see them fail. If someone’s doing some crazy exercise I guarantee they did not stick it on the first try. It’s a false narrative and it can really mess with your head.
- Stay away from anyone who does paid partnerships with questionable sponsors. No reputable fit pro would endorse fit tea or the latest vitamin vape. Look for collaborations that make sense with brands or charities that are known and respected no matter how big or small.
- The number of followers does not equal influencer status, popularity sure but those are very separate things.
- Anyone who is comfortable with calling themselves an influencer is another major red flag for me. This title is earned and to be comfortable with it is to understand who came before you, who are the pioneers the people that they have modeled their career on.
It’s ok to follow people you admire on Instagram, like I said there are some great accounts. If what you’re seeing starts to make you feel bad or question yourself then it’s time to delete and close the app. Don't let your success be dictated to you by a stranger. I sometimes think that inspiration and influence get lumped together but they have very different meanings. I would rather be inspired than influenced. Some synonyms to explain both are:
If you’re looking for a mentor find someone who inspires, inspiration is uplifting and helps generates ideas where as influence is more rigid and less forgiving if you screw up.