My Experience with Fitness & Social Media

‘Do you actually want to look like that’ ‘You don’t want to get any bigger’ ‘I swear only boys take protein’

Ahhhhhh… How many times have I heard this? Seriously.

It’s International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate than a blog post all about GALS.  I’m not only a Sociology student studying gender, but a female too (shock!)  and I think it’s the perfect opportunity to have a chat about what can only be called a  ‘Fitnessy, Female Boss Phenomena’ (FFBP) in today’s crazily, weird and fabtastic world.

In the last year, there’s no denying that female influencers have opened up so much amazing space within the health and fitness industry. No longer are we faced with these skinny ideals, but this concept of being strong and happy within your body. Regardless of whether you have a rippling six pack or a gorgeously curvy physique. Regardless of whether the downward dog pose and green tea is your forte or if it’s 5 sets of Romanian deadlifts and raspberry BCAA’s. Girls are seriously empowering other girls and it’s incredible to see.

As a female, there’s always so much emphasis upon the way you look – as opposed to the way you feel, act and behave towards others. Despite a lot of ‘fitness goals’ being grounded upon physique and how you look, something I believe is poorly missed is this idea of actually getting ‘fit’. Not looking fit. But being fit. Just a few days ago, I posted a photo of a well known female athlete – expressing my thoughts on how insanely impressive her achievements were and the hard work that must of gone into her success. However, the response wasn’t what I expected from others. I was faced with a barrage of comments like ‘She’s too muscly’ ‘She looks like a man’ and ‘You wouldn’t want to look like that, would you?’ In the past, these probably would have been the things that would crossed my mind. But, all I could think was WTF. This woman has trained for months on end, pushed her body and mind to the limit and all you can flippin’ say is ‘She’s too muscly’ ?! Honestly? It baffles me.

To be fit and healthy, doesn’t mean being lean with a tiny waist and big glutes. It’s a mindset. I’ve had times in the past where I’ve been at my slimmest and still seen myself as big, times where I’ve put the gym before friends and family, and times where I’ve thrown away my own birthday cake out of calorific fear. If that’s what people perceive to be ‘fitness goals’ just because someone looks a certain way, then that needs to change. Immediately.

When I first started my blog and scarily revealing Instagram page dedicated to my own fitness journey (@ajhfitness) a year ago, it was simply somewhere to form a better relationship with myself, mentally and physically. I used t post pictures of my food and get inspired by what’s known as ‘IG fit girls’ – and I haven’t looked back since. Despite the negatives social media can sometimes play on a person’s perception of their body, for me, it was something that got me inspired and kept me driven. I was awakened to this whole new world, where girls were eating more,  smiling more and enjoying exercise. At the time, I was a girl stuck in the mindset that to get my ‘ideal’ body, I would have to starve myself not only of food, but happiness and social activities. Despite being surrounded by friends and family, I was deeply insecure and had developed a poor relationship with the gym, food and my body. I saw exercise as a way to get rid of calories, food as the enemy and was uncomfortable in myself. It wasn’t till I got hooked on the world of fitness bloggers and vloggers that I witnessed these strong, stunning ladies not only lifting heavy, but actually bloody eating!! It sounds totally fan girly, but I was in awe and wanted to know more (excuse the rhyme)

Starting an Instagram all about my body was nerve wracking, and I never expected people I knew personally, to find it. But, of course, nothing stays private in the big world of social media – and people did find out! This was something that opened up a whole new outlook for me. I’m by no means an Instagram star, but other users were connecting with me from all over and it gave me this buzz. The fact that just a few humorous words of motivation and a picture or two could link me up with some of the most caring and inspiring people, was just insane. I can’t really express how nice it is to connect with others over such a big passion. The fitness industry for girls is absolutely bladdddy booming and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

Lots of love,

Anna xxx

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