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Saving Yourself From The ‘POISON’ Of Social Media

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Social media gets a horrible rap these days but does it really deserve the bad rap it gets?

I have a go- to line to sum up social media/my thoughts on social media and it’s one I’ve shared before on social media itself:

Social media is like a chainsaw; use it wisely and you can create amazing things. Use it badly and you’ll f*ck sh*t up.

The risk or danger lies in the hands of the user. You need a real strong head to not be made sick by it though, that much I will concede.

The sickness melting pot

Anyone, yep ANYONE can market themselves as anything on social media and post what they want – providing it’s not nudes I guess. And with that we see people creating alter egos as influencers, experts and coaches, tricking you into thinking they’re on the ‘journey’ with you while actually taking your money and validating their fragile egos no end, courtesy of your likes, follows, story watches, shoutouts and endless shares of their content.

Ask yourself how many times have you looked at a girl, or guys, profile solely based off their look but actually come away with precious little other than feelings of inferiority or maybe you even wonder, ‘they’re not that special, how do they get all this attention? There’s nothing they’re doing that I can’t do or people I’ve seen in the gym do?’

At least dozens of times, right?

Worse still, most don’t even post any genuine/original fitness content at all. No workouts, no successes, no wisdom, no original motivation, nothing!

Look between the lines and it’s all bum selfies, sexual angles, skin flashes and attention seeking pics. Even when you see the captions that seem ‘motivational’, you’ll see they’re actually stuff you can pull off pinterest or find in your level 2 fitness instructor course manual (if you’ve even kept the toilet paper this long).

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It’s not genuine motivation. They want you to look at them, to like them, to click like on them and follow them. How many times have I said THEM? Yeah, too many. And that’s just it: it’s all about THEM in their eyes and you’re allowing it by following these pages and fanboy/girling over them.

Here are some classic lines I’ve seen so many times from these wannabee gurus…..

Social media scenario 1:

*Girl in tight leggings and her butt angled perfectly to make it look 3 times bigger than it is*

Caption: ‘Really in love with my brand new ________ leggings! Super comfortable to train in and they’ve made me crush my workouts this week. Food has been on point, work has been great and check out how awesome my bedroom looks in the background!

Translation: Tell me I look good because I know I do but I still need it said – and the more it’s said, the better! And while you’re here, yeah my life is great and I want you to think it is. Even though it isn’t and I actually don’t look like this in real life to the naked eye, I’m quite happy for you to think I do! Everything’s perfect my end, just know that!

Also, I’ve made it sound like I just happened to look in the mirror and like the way I looked, so decided to grab a quick snap, but if you saw my camera roll, you’ll see 25 snaps of the pic I’ve posted with fractional changes to each one. Different angle, filter variations and multiple poses. It’s hard making you think I look this good, you see?

What real fitness professionals think when they see this: Where’s the stuff that helps your audience? What was your big achievement this week? What worked? What didn’t? What do you need to work on? What’s the big weakness?

Social media scenario 2:

*Girl in a bikini posing in a supposed everyday setting with a humble quote underneath*

Caption: ‘She realised who she was and the game changed! I used to be like you, I didn’t want to show my body off. I was scared I didn’t look good enough but now I accept my flaws and am not bothered about anyone’s approval or thoughts about what I look like. If you don’t like it, bye Felicia! I’m not doing this fitness thing for anything other than me!

Translation: This is the cliche image everyone likes to think of themselves as. So I’ll join the circus too! I’ll say my flaws but I won’t actually show them because the photos and angles I’ve used are designed to make me look flaw-less. I say I’m not bothered about approval but this post has a like threshold – 500 likes minimum or I’ll archive it or delete it because I’m not flopping in public like that, no way!

What real fitness professionals think when they see this: Here’s someone who plays on your desire to be like other people. They try to market to those who buy based off initial feelings in response to the first thing they see aka fitness newbies. When you scour their profile, you see no actual evidence of them doing anything athletically themselves or any real world transformations, be it in the visual or athletic form. This is a red flag really as these people are hoping to get rich quick and cash in off affiliation and crappy marketing ploys.

Time to talk straight……..

It dumbfounds me that these people still get the followings and hype they do online, seeing as in 2021 mental health hygiene is preached left, right and center. One of the first things you can do to cleanse your mind and well being is not follow or expose yourself to the falsely painted ‘lives’ of others.

Comparison is the first step to misery. And we can all do it. I often find my mind wandering to thoughts of why my parents didn’t expose me to all the self improvement and lifestyle hacks I know now? If they did, where could I be now? I ask myself. I look at others and see how right they had it from a young age and wish I could have had my early twenties where they are.

The problem with this is: they’re them and you’re you. Whatever happened, happened and can’t be changed, alas. You can only control what you’re doing right this moment and every moment from here on out. You can’t change the past and you never ever know someone’s true struggle unless you live with them for years and know them inside out.

Even humble successes are downplayed in the public and even if they weren’t, you would never see someone else’s grind as harder than yours because we’re hardwired to put ourselves first. And with that comes the tendency to think we’re superior. We’ve worked harder. We’ve suffered more and we deserve it more than them.

When the reality is suffering, hard work and justification are subjective and to try and quantify them as if they were a competition is foolish and a waste of time, energy and a massive emotional drain.

And this is why it’s the in-thing nowadays to delete all your social media for periods of time. It’s a mental cleanse and far harder to be constantly reminded of who’s doing what, who’s better than you and how average you really are, when you can’t tap the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram icon 25 times a day.

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But as a good friend of mine said: why does it have to be so extreme? Why can’t we control what we do and how much we do it? In other words, can’t we limit our social media use and unfollow/not interact with accounts and people who serve no purpose other than to make you feel shit about yourself?

That’s the approach I use. I don’t follow anyone who thinks they’re an influencer or guru and carries themselves like it. Anyone who starts off a certain way and then transforms into one of these is unfollowed and forgotten about.

Although these platforms are smart and like to ram down your throat what they think you’ll like or want to look at. This is how you can fall down a 20 foot rabbit hole looking at loads of stuff that leads you feeling mediocre, all the while costing you an hour of your life! (And that time is gone FOREVER).

If I hit the ‘explore’ section on Instagram it throws up loads of calisthenic athletes, coaches and pages making all the cool shit look easy and boasting about how many clients they have. But there’s always that realistic eye of mine knowing this is a manufactured glimpse of their life THEY want me and everyone else to see. It’s not real; it’s not even 5% of the true story.

It will also try to put all these pretty girls showing skin doing workouts and posing under my nose. Some of them are hot and the red-blooded male in me can’t resist wanting to see more of them. So I check their page. And I see the same stuff we chatted about earlier – heavily edited images, workouts with no thought, structure or purpose to them, attention seeking captions and conflicting quotes with the image they’re actually putting out!

A total turn off.

And before we wrap up, if you’re still struggling to digest the idea of these heroes and influencers being fake and tricking you into a false sense of reality, allow me to shed some light on how easy it is to boost your followers, likes, comments and everything else. Basically everything pertaining to superficial status online.

You can do this on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and no doubt twitter. It’s funny because this last week I’ve been approached by these ‘promoters’ promising boosted stats for cash. You’ll see a screenshot of such an ‘offer’ below. I’ve known about these procedures for some years now as an ex of mine hilariously promoted one of her ‘transformation posts’ through a ton of these bot carrying pages!

One of the recent emails I received about ‘growing my following’ online

The problem is it’s totally fake and doesn’t pay the bills, as my mentors at Propane Fitness always say. They’re not potential clients, fans, like minded people or even real. They’re just a figure on a post that’s essentially dead in a few days; who even looks at old posts?!

Don’t get suckered in. Don’t fall for stats. Don’t follow or interact with anyone not benefiting your brain or life in some way. Follow your friends and people you know but if someone posts stuff or has a presence that grates you, get rid of them! It’s simple.

Social media has treated me very well by abiding by these ‘rules’. I’ve met loads of people I now call friends and networked with people who’ve taught me a ton. And isn’t it funny these people just share their findings from their experiences and if they have nothing to say, they keep quiet. If they have nothing to post, they don’t. The algorithm and ‘staying relevant’ mean nothing to them.

And that right there is what real fitness influencers do.

JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

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