“Instagram models” only show you their highlight reels
By Sarah Stubbs
Hit the explore tab on your Instagram account and you’re bound to see hundreds of pictures of dolled-up twenty-somethings in their workout gear. Their hair is perfectly styled, their makeup might even be contoured, and they are usually clad in a matching Nike pro shorts and sports bra combo.
In between the daily selfies and videos of proper squat form you’ll see on the explore page, you’re also likely to see several snapshots of the routine Instagram model meal or meal-prep process. Pretty green and pink smoothies, “fit teas” that are sure to give you the flattest stomach achievable, stacks and stacks of Tupperware filled with lean meat and veggies, and meals stuffed into cute little mason jars decorate their pages.
This trend I’m talking about is something that I’ve recently seen Tumblr call “rich girl fitness.”
All over the world, women have social media accounts dedicated to their fitness journeys and lifestyles. Most of them look a lot like what I just described. A lot of my friends, girls I know, and I all follow accounts like these to gain workout inspiration and learn more about being healthy and fit.
I love that people are getting serious about their health and the fact that this is a trend on social media. With obesity on the rise all over the world (seriously, a recent report cited in MircroCap Magazine article on April 2 says that if the current trend continues, about one-fifth of adults will be obese by 2025), it’s refreshing that people are taking a real interest in their health. What I don’t love, though, is the damage it does girls’ body images and how it perpetuates this obsession with perfection.
I often remind my friends and sisters that what they see when they are looking at a social media account of someone famous (or Instagram famous) is somebody’s highlight reel. Even the richest girls who have no responsibilities other than going to the gym, meal prepping, and shopping, have dark days and obstacles. They aren’t flawless, either, because no one is. The right makeup, angle, and filter might make someone look perfect, but off camera, it’s a different story.
Social media in general creates a lot of space for comparing and contrasting. This, I think, is a waste of energy but it happens nonetheless because this is the digital culture that we were born into. In fact, it’s almost unavoidable if you’re young, impressionable, and on the Internet at all, in my opinion.
I know girls who are self-proclaimed “Instacure” (insecure on Instagram). They only post at certain times of the day, spend a long time deciding what filters and captions to use, and are often measuring their worth in likes.
Thanks to my introductory statistics class, I know that correlation doesn’t always mean causation; however, I don’t remember the last time I was with a group of girls scrolling through social media and I didn’t hear anyone say they wished they looked like somebody else.
Ladies, this isn’t worth your time.
If you’re a busy college student, and you are (most likely) if you’re reading this, you don’t have time to be Instafamous or an Instagram fitness model. It’s not realistic. The time you’re dedicating to your studies, extra-curriculars, Netflix binging, or going out with friends is so precious. We are only young and in college once.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend my free time measuring out exactly how many ounces of chicken I’m consuming or making sure I’m photograph-ready when I’m headed to the gym.
Even though the rest of the world does, you don’t have to glamorize fitness.
My life happens to go back and forth with months dedicated to working out six times a week and other months (like now) where I’m lucky to get two workouts in per week.
When I do workout, though, like I did today, I do it for that rush of endorphins and the sense of satisfaction that comes afterward. I love leaving the FRC knowing that I’m a little bit stronger today than I was yesterday.
When I push my body to its limit, I’m drenched in sweat, my face is beet-red, and I’m ready for a big meal. And I think that’s OK. My workouts aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect about making sure I workout enough, and I definitely don’t look perfect.
Follow those fitness accounts because you want to learn new exercises or recipes, not to swoon and obsess over their seemingly glamorous lives.
Workout for yourself – for your mental and physical health. Don’t workout for Instagram likes.