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Can social media supercharge your fitness regime?

While there’s no doubt #fitspiration can motivate us to move more and eat better, it also has the potential to dampen self-esteem and bring on major comparison envy. Sound familiar? Here, we explore how to safeguard yourself from the negative effects of social media fitspo and how to use it positively to boost your functional fitness routine.

Connect with likeminded fitness buffs

Thanks to social media, there are no barriers when it comes to reaching out and following your favourite pro-cyclist, personal trainer or yoga teacher – no matter where they are in the world. Choose likeminded people to follow with similar interests and fitness levels – research shows you’re less likely to feel discouraged if you feel you can fairly compete. However, don’t let it stop you sussing out the aspirational fitness gurus – sometimes it’s just the motivation you need to get off the sofa. Last up, use social media for its power to bring people together in real time. From mum and baby yoga sessions to pre-marathon meet ups – it’s now so effortless to physically connect with those who share your interests.

Choose fitness inspiration from not-so-obvious sources

Often, the biggest fitspiration comes from people who have overcome the biggest challenges, ultimately inspiring perseverance and persistence above all else. Take Alex Honnold @alexhonnold the world-famous free-solo climber – with nerves of steel and the inspiring stability of the granite cliffs he summits. Then Ellie Simmonds OBE @elliesimmonds, the 24-year-old Paralympian, who won her first gold as the youngest member of the UK team at aged 13 in 2008. The list goes on, but it’s simple proof that fitness and strength come just as much from the mind as the body.

The newest fitness trends on your smartphone

The next big thing – 7-minute ab workouts, muscle-blasting arm workouts, or barre meets bootcamp. New fitness trends are no longer reserved for die-hard gym goers only. Now, from motivational hashtags – #fitspo, #F45, #WOD – to targeted Insta ads, it’s easy to discover the next trending topic in fitness straight from your smartphone.

Check your fitness facts

Miracle workouts, fitness shortcuts, promises to get-ripped-quick. The net – and social media – is packed with conflicting fitness advice. If you’re motivated by an influencer’s fitness tips or must-have menthol muscle rub, do your research to make sure they’re reliable before committing. Check your PT's credentials – use client reviews to ensure that they are qualified and trustworthy. Others may look the part but are more of a fitness model than knowledgeable expert. Even when something seems legit, check your sources so you don’t end up with a new injury as a result.

Insta fitness vs reality

It’s easy to get caught up in the visual side of social media, but don’t forget the time and dedication it takes fitspiration stars to get their body, their fitness level and their following. Imagine how much effort, make-up and styling goes into every photo, and how much time it takes to maintain their look. After all, this isn’t just their hobby, it’s their livelihood. Plus, you can never quite tell what filters and camera tricks Insta stars are using to hide their imperfections. The lesson? Don’t compare or pressure yourself to achieve unrealistic results.

From motivational fitness influencers pushing boundaries, to discovering the latest functional fitness trends (thanks to your smartphone), social media is making the world of fitness a whole lot more fitspirational.

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