There is no doubt that Instagram has become one of the most significant and active social media to date. The service launched in 2010, as little as five years ago, becoming one of the fastest growing cultural arrivals of the twenty first century with recent figures soaring over 300 million active users by the end of 2014. But what makes Instagram phenomenal is that it has become such an influential platform in marketing and monitoring the game of fitness.
And what do we exactly mean by Instagram? #doyoueveninstagram
To the majority of us, the app requires no introduction however we must acknowledge that Instagram only launched in 2010. Advances in technologies and its impact on culture has us both tech and trend savvy. It’s still important to be open minded that our age and generation plays a huge role in this cultural transition. Instagram is a photo and video sharing service based online and on mobiles. The app enables members to capture, filter and share photos and videos onto their profiles and across other social media including Facebook and Twitter. But, distinctive features of the app include confining photos similar to Polaroid images but most importantly users are able to digitally enhance their images using filters.
Why is Instagram obsessed with fitness? #fitspiration
Photos speak more than words, in fact, they speak volumes. Instagram is image saturated, the whole concept itself is solely focused around imagery. When words are difficult to communicate, posting images simplify the task especially as other social media is either constrained with character limitations or crammed with too many functions of statuses, albums, videos, etc. An image is visual, artistic, the best and perhaps the only way to share your progression in fitness to whoever and whenever you want. The app allows you to follow whomever you wish, mainly for motivational purposes of cultivating these beautiful, inspirational fitness, health and nutrition accounts to help support and motivate us in our day to day goals. It’s common sense that sharing beautiful images creates a positive, motivating ambience, radiating positive emotions.
It’s more than perving #WOD
Many of us students including myself follow fitness accounts not only on the basis of aesthetic images but we love nutritional recipes, workout plans and exercise tips and tricks – all of which are free (almost! if you’re careful)! But this is the best part, we are extremely lucky to have access to so many sources of information in targeting our fitness goals, bearing in mind that not so long ago these little gems of tips were difficult to access without purchasing the magazines or hiring nutritionists and personal trainers. I’m talking about the days before the technological boom! Yes, there really was a time.
So exactly who are these leading fitness gurus?
#WCW women crush wednesdays
The Superstar Booty: @jenselter
Jen Selter, 20, New York 2,450,000 followers
“I don’t really post a lot of face pictures. I mainly do body selfies,”
The Personal Trainer: @nataliejillfit
Natalie Jill, 42, San Diego 320,000 followers
“There’s a few things that work: the picture needs to be colourful and happy, and people like seeing me do tricks on my rings. The ones that get the most likes are my morning work-outs. I try to teach something, not be all ‘look at me.’’
The yogi: @yoga_girl
“The pictures that get the most traction? The upside-down poses – especially if I’m in a beautiful location – paired with some words of wisdom. People are really hungry for inspiration, not just for tips on how to do poses.”
The celebrity trainer: @mankofit
“A lot of people do ‘shout-for-shouts’, where they ask you to follow their friends. I could have three million followers if I did that. My followers are all word-of -mouth. I want to show people that working out should be fun.”
The ballerina: @balletbeautiful
Mary Bowers, 33, New York 110,000 followers
“The photos of me dancing pregnant were popular because they were so unexpected. No one had seen a ballerina in a leotard doing advanced moves like that. Ninety per cent of the comments were supportive, but it made some people uncomfortable.”
#MCM Man Crush Mondays
The superstar body: @kyleclarke
Kyle Clark, 27, Los Angeles 67,000 followers
“When you focus on problems, you’ll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities”
The personal trainer: @lazar_angelov_official
Lazar Angelov, 31, Bulgaria 1.4m followers
“I want to inspire people, I want someone to look at me and say, because of you I didn’t give up”
The yogi: @carsonclaycalhoun
Carson Calhoun, 35, Arlington 88,900 followers
“One of the most important elements of a well-rounded workout is stretching and no other activity does it better than yoga. Press up handstands and arms balances reveals the importance of flexibility and engaging your core to achieving a flawless practice on and off the mat”
The celebrity trainer: @therock
Dwayne Johnson, 42, California 8.4m followers
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come”
The ballerino: @marcodalia
Marco Dalia, 23, Italy 1483 followers
My Personal Favourite @kayla_itsines
Kayla Itsines, 23, Adelaide 2.4m followers
“I have been personal training women since 2008. It is my mission to bring incredible confidence and pride to women all around the world. We all deserve to feel great about ourselves. Everyone always says change your life today, but no one ever provides how. My life goal is to provide the how to as many women as possible”
Kayla’s beliefs summarises the reasons as to why she appears on my IG feed. The publishing of her Bikini body workout guide that aims to motivate women into fitness has become a global success. For myself, I need motivation and encouragement to keep going and Kayla provides the perfect balance of tough love and lots of love. This guide is dominating and proves to be working for her hundreds of subscribers and millions of followers. Kayla’s Instagram feed is saturated with motivational images, not only of herself but of the women that have followed her programme.
Interview with Bryan Leong
In seeking a male student’s position on fitness accounts. I’ve kindly sat down with student and powerlifter Bryan Leong to quiz his perspective.
What do you look at for in terms of following a fitness account?
“Twofold. For powerlifter’s accounts I am looking for advices in technical lifts. For accounts of Youtube’s celebrities, I mainly follow them for their persona.”
Who are your top favourite IG fitness accounts?
@Marksmellybell and @Silentmikke. The more I get into the sport of powerlifting, the more I study ways to maximize progress. One of many ways to achieve this is to dig into powerlifting-specific gym equipment and accessories. Marksmellybell and Silentmikke are the spokespersons of the company ‘How Much Ya’ Bench’, in which their IG accounts focuses mainly on demonstrating and test-driving their latest products. Plus occasional posts of motivations featuring top powerlifters in the US.
What makes them different from other accounts?
The one thing which all of these accounts stands out from the other is, they represent the pinnacle of different aspects and field of ‘fitness’. To be fair, based on the current trend of fitness, the content of every fitness-related accounts share 90% of similarities. But I rather follow those who are at best at what they do to receive the most reliable content.
Any other fitness related accounts you’d like to share with us?
- @Marksmellybell for powerlifting motivations and advices.
- @thebodymass for general student fitness activity log.
- @Stevecook_32 for its unique approach to motivation and the preach to balance different goals and aspects in life.
- @Dangreenpowerlifter for the ‘animal’ side of powerlifting. helpful in learning the mindset of a champion.
- @Nikkiblackketter for her persona and physique.
Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies student