Why Fitness Social Media is Making You Sick – and Ruining Your Body
Yesterday I found myself getting a bit side-tracked and I couldn’t get my work done or shoot videos, so unfortunately I went on a social media binge.
You know when you’re scrolling through everyone’s pictures and you’re looking at that person’s fitness stuff, this person’s body, that person’s travels, this person’s toys and cars and all this crap?
And then afterwards, you feel like your life has gone to crap?
Honestly, for like two or three days I wanted to slit my own wrists after I finished looking at everyone else’s “awesome lives.”
Have you ever found yourself just completely going off, going through someone’s videos, someone well-known or famous — all their fitness stuff, and their money stuff, all their lifestyle stuff, their travels — and just really hating your life?
One of the biggest thorns in your path when you’re trying to lose weight, get fitter, or honestly just live a better life, is the comparison trap.
That’s what we’re talking about in today’s tiny habit.
The Poison of Instagram and Youtube For Fitness Motivation
You know, a few years ago — maybe it was a few years ago at this point — I shared the story of my friend Sol.
Sol was overweight his entire life, and he ended up getting up to 300 pounds.
Over the course of three, four, five years he ended up getting down basically into fitness model shape.
He lost something over 100 pounds, and eventually got a six pack. So he went from 300 pounds to a six pack — which was impressive as hell.
When he started getting fitter, a lot of his own friends and family started acting weird.
And when we talked he said, “Alex, I don’t really- I didn’t really understand at the time what was going on, because I’d been fat my whole life. When I started losing weight, at first a little bit like 30 pounds, 40 pounds, 50 pounds, my friends and family would say things like, ‘Dude, you’re starting to look a little bit sickly, you’re looking a bit weak’,” — even though he was 250 pounds.
He was still a big guy by any standard.
And then when he started to get fit, like below 200 pounds, and he started to have his abs show and his muscles show, they started really bugging out.
For years, he couldn’t quite figure out what was actually going on here.
But then he realized these people, who were also unhealthy, were instead comparing themselves to him, and were thus jealous and envious.
So these people (who often were his friends and family) were being bastards to him out of jealousy and their own insecurity.
The truth is that the same happens with us, whether it’s stalking someone on social media, stalking someone who’s famous or well-known or super-fit, or has that boyfriend, that girlfriend, and all those travels that make us so envious.
Travel is like fitness on social media: everyone is trying to make themselves look cool.
It is ubiquitous in the era of social media where everyone can post the highlight reel, only the good moments of their life. You know?
Even for me, when I used to be a really skinny guy I would compare myself the same way.
Now even though Facebook wasn’t invented until I was already in college – so thankfully I didn’t have all of this social media crap – it has gotten much worse since then.
But I would do the exact same thing: I would see people who were skinny and then got big. And I would be envious or I would be jealous of them because I would make excuses for myself and say things like:
“Well, they don’t have the responsibilities I do. They don’t work as much as I do. They have more money than I do to buy all these toys and supplements. They don’t have a GI problem like I do.”
A very, very skinny Alex ten years ago in college.
I would just try to rationalize my own sense of failure and my own frustrations.
But it would make me unhappy for days. I mean, I still do it now: now that I have a book I compare myself to huge authors, like J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter. I compare myself to other fitness people, other people on YouTube, other business people.
There are so many things to make yourself miserable about.
And no doubt you’ve felt this, and in the era of social media maybe you’ve seen this with your friends on Facebook, or on Instagram or on Snapchat or whatever it is.
But here’s the point.
The fact is simple: none of this helps you get closer to your health or life goals. None of it.
If watching other people’s videos and stuff doesn’t inspire you, it just makes you feel like crap, or envious or angry, then unsubscribe.
Just delete that stuff. Unsubscribe from anyone: from YouTubers, Instagram accounts, Facebook accounts, friends.
You know, I actually go on Facebook and unfollow friends that post stupid, obnoxious stuff, or they brag too much. I actually unfollow them or unfriend them. I need to keep my own head straight to get to where I’m trying to be.
Maybe you should do the same?
Your Tiny Daily Habit For Today
So your tiny habit for today is really two parts.
The first is unfollow or unsubscribe from anyone that shows you just “highlight reel” stuff.
And you know what I’m talking about when I say that: it’s the people that only show all the good stuff, all the good things happening, A, B, C, D in their life, their finances, their relationship – all this crap that’s typical of Facebook and things like that.
The second thing is to watch out for all these people that might be posting aspirational-type crap, without showing you the real struggle behind the scenes.
That is your tiny habit for today: do the immediate group filter and then unsubscribe from any highlighter-reel type crap.
Comment below, what’s been your experience with fitness social media?