It’s 2017, we all look exactly how we dream of looking with our body’s performing exactly how we want them to. I myself am 6’2, comfortably sit between 6-8% body fat, can eat what I like when I like. I am able to deadlift and squat 3 times my bodyweight, can bench press twice bodyweight along with being able to run for miles without tiring, all whilst getting an average of three hours sleep a night… sound likely?
Well this may be the picture that you’ll get painted, if you were to go by some modern day social media fitpro’s. Yet many reading this will wake early, work incredibly hard at their career, crush it in their overly crowded gym on the way home, do as best as they can to stick to the nutrition and supplement programme their favourite social media star sold them and unfortunately still look absolutely nothing like them!
There’s never been a time in history like this where there has been so much social pressure to look fantastic year round. But is comparing yourself to social media stars healthy? Or is it just mentally, physically and socially damaging?
Here are five things to consider about when comparing yourself to your favourite fitpro’s.
1 Paid Advertising
For anyone on 150k followers plus it can be assumed that it is their job to produce content, which is a full time commitment. With this then being their career, they somehow need to make an income to live right? Well a lot of the products your favourite fit pro endorses and promotes on their page, you can safely assume they are getting paid handsomely to do so. Now it’s up to you to make up your own mind on this, but; they may or may not actually be using the product themselves! They may be promoting this special belt that will help you to burn more body fat around your waist, but seriously… look at them. Can you really imagine them needing or using the product? If the answer is no, then it’s probably not going to benefit you a great deal by purchasing it.
As mentioned in point 1, these guys and girls are professionals at this and as such it is literally their job to make each and every one of their photos and videos look as impressive as they possibly can.
Altering the lighting or camera angle can change the outcome of a photo vastly. If executed well, an individual can appear significantly leaner than what they actually would if you were stood in front of them. This is why the top fitness photographers are paid so well, as they make the subjects they are shooting look incredible.
So you are of a similar height and have been blessed with a similar skeletal structure as your favourite fitpro. You have followed their training programme down to the last rep, you’ve not missed a single meal, taken all of the suggested muscle building supplements and been getting consistent sleep. Yet your results (or lack of) go way beyond genetics and they just don’t come anywhere near comparison.
Now they may be taking these certain supplements which “guarantee” to help you pack on muscle, but there is also a high likelihood that they are taking a certain special kind of chemical that greatly supersedes the effects of any supplement… If you catch my drift. (This is far more prevalent than you might think… in both males and females!)
So regardless of how hard you train, or how much of this muscle building supplement you take, you’ll never reach their level of muscularity unfortunately.
Nowadays it’s seen as admirable to be superman and work 16 hour days, including weekends and to never take time off. I personally do ‘work’ 14/15 hour days Monday through Thursday, 8 on a Friday and will do an average of 4-5 hours or so at the weekend, but I’m self employed. This is my business and I thoroughly enjoy my ‘work’ as it involves: researching, writing, reading, training, instructing, coaching and a heck of a lot of analysing… but even with the amount of love I have for what I do, I know I am absolutely fried if I don’t take extended breaks at certain times throughout the year. At least one week off every 3 months is my goal which I try to stick to, where I will allow my body and mind the chance to recharge from the intense pressure of running a business.
It doesn’t matter what you do, or how much you love it, #grinding 24/7/365 and consistently producing a high quality of work is not physically, mentally or emotionally possible as a human being.
The same applies to training. Knowing when to step back, switch off and recharge will 9 times out of 10 yield you a greater outcome in the long run than just ploughing on and on.
5 Be Realistic
These people are literally paid to be in peak condition year round, they sometimes train multiple times each day, they get adequate sleep, eat exactly when they need to along with being provided an unlimited supply of supplements for that added boost. These guys and girls are essentially professional athletes! Comparing yourself to a fitpro with a massive following on Instagram and getting disappointed that you don’t look like them, is no different to being disappointed at not being able to run as fast as Usain Bolt, throw a pig skin like Tom Brady or shoot with the accuracy of Lionel Messi.
Unfortunately social media paints this unrealistic expectation of achieving results faster than has ever been possible before. A tip that I promote with the people I work with is to focus on becoming better each day. Every time your feet hit the floor in the morning, your days focus should be on becoming 1% better that day… because a 1% better you each day across a year, leads to remarkable change.
Where really is your competition and what should you be comparing yourself to? It’s YOU vs YOU! Only you have had to go through what you’ve been through in life and guess what, you’re still here! Use old photos of yourself, an old pair of jeans that are now a bit snug, a time that you once achieved when running. They are your targets to beat! They are your source of motivation! What someone looks like on social media has absolutely no baring on your life whatsoever and as such, should not be what you compare yourself to!
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Yours in health.
(P.S, I’m 5’8, sit between 10-12% year round but struggle to get much below 10% and am a distinctly average runner. One can only wish of being 6’2).