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Selfie Pictures and Personnel Training

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By Hannah Alderfer, BA

Social media has opened up a whole new world for the fitness industry—for both the good and the bad. Interest in fitness and healthy eating is booming today, especially on social media. And that is fantastic! People are increasingly interested in doing a new workout or diet to get them on track. Unfortunately plastered all over Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other forms of social media are snapshots of men and women showing off their muscled abs, bulging biceps, or tight glutes. The IDEA Health and Fitness Association, a reputable source of fitness information, has just over 48,000 followers on Facebook. But, this is nothing compared to the “Fitness Selfies” fan page on Facebook, which has over 600,000 followers! Their home page states, “Welcome to Fitness Selfies. The place where you can motivate others.”


You all wonder what they’ve been doing to look like that. “Selfie Certified” is what I will call them. These people have followers–thousands of them. And some of them hand out fitness advice because people want to look like they do. I recall watching a YouTube video featuring a young woman dressed in tight-fitting workout clothes (to show off her “apparent” training skills…because she could only look so good if she knew what she was doing) only to present a pathetic series of exercises with little purpose. The problem with being “Selfie Certified” is that most of the young men and women posting in these selfies have absolutely no educational background behind their advice: “Just do what I do and you’ll look like this!” Even if it’s unhealthy, even if it takes precedence over family, even when the only reason you want to look like that is to simply look like that. If the reason for posting such pictures is supposed to be motivating, it’s not. In fact, most people would probably be discouraged because that kind of image is either unattainable, unhealthy, or both. The selfie does not tell you that they are muscularly imbalanced, have postural problems, are taking unhealthy supplements, have too little body fat, or spend all their time in the gym.

However, there is a place for a healthy approach to the fitness selfie: when your best friend just finished his/her first 5K and takes a sweaty selfie to post on Instagram or a college roommate who lost 50 pounds posts a proud before and after shot. They aren’t just showing off their body, they are showing off their improved health. These are motivating. These are healthy. You may ask what they did to achieve their goals, but you understand that they are not the expert. Think about those other “selfie certified” individuals. Just because they look good does not mean they know the ins and outs of the body. Trust your trainer over an attractive photo and some random advice.

Although credentials and a degree aren’t as glamorous to a client, we can answer your questions and we know you personally. Think beyond the surface of ripped muscles to what it really means to be healthy inside and out. That’s what a real certified trainer does. And we hope that that is the image, or selfie, you see in us.

Selfie Pictures and Personnel Training

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