Social Media: The Unrealistic Face of Fitness
It's the age of new media and since the launch of visually-led social media platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr, the image of what's considered fit has taken a drastic turn.
Gone are the days where Marilyn Monroe was the epitome of health, now we welcome the days where people consider you out of shape for not having a visible six-pack.
And is it healthy? Absolutely not.
Because these images of fitness are mostly unattainable or unsustainable, and honestly... they can damage your well-being. For example, the lowest body fat percentage a female can obtain before fertility and other health issues arise is 14%. Saying this, it's evident that a lot of images of fitness models on social media are definitely sitting well below that percentage.
Besides these facts, these kinds of lifestyles seem celebrated. The more 'shredded' a person becomes the more popular their social media page becomes and so it sets the new bar for this perfect image of fitness. It becomes more and more extreme without anyone really speaking out about the effects it can have on both your mind and body.
As well as this, we also have the addition of Photoshop and steroids.
Photoshop being the well known image editing tool, which is used in many social media posts to create pretty much any figure desired. Whilst steroids increase a persons muscle mass to a level which is impossible naturally, is readily available on the online market and used a lot more than people would assume.
Both create an even more unrealistic body image, which to innocent viewers believe to be genuine. When it couldn't be further from the truth.
When viewers then try to achieve these unreasonable levels of fitness and end up failing they then become frustrated,
"Why don't I have a six-pack all year round like the guy I follow on Instagram?"
This kind of failure can quickly spark an obsession, no one likes to give up and if you're surrounded by images of this unrealistic fitness on a day to day basis it becomes impossible to ignore. Things like eating disorders, over-training, psychological issues and body dysmorphia then seem all too real and you quickly find yourself in a very big hole.
But you can get out of it.
Remember, we are living in the age of new media. The image of fitness and beauty are not on the same scale as they were before. They are heightened beyond belief, doctored by technology and most of the time an outright lie.
All you have to do now is realise when it's unrealistic and unhealthy.
Know that not having a six-pack is completely fine and doesn't mean you're not trying hard in the gym. Know that if you have cellulite on your legs, you are sharing the same issue with millions of women all over the world. Know that you don't have to be lean all the time, it's okay to have body fat because this is what your body needs. Know that we all come in different shapes and sizes, there is never one image of beauty and there is never one image of fitness.
And know that even though we don't see these real images on a day to day basis, it doesn't make them unacceptable.
Be your own version of healthy, don't be pressured by the world and make sure you always look after yourself. And maybe one day healthy body images such as Marilyn Monroe will come back into the equation, bodies which are healthy, positive and most of all realistic.