Are Fitness Influencers Too Flawless For The Public?

By Divya Kaliappan, Year 10 Journalist Leader

With the launch of the new #ThisGirlCan campaign earlier this term, our Journalist Leaders discussed what or who are the real influencers on women when it comes to doing exercise or taking up sport. Here’s Divya’s view:

Yoga, tennis and swimming are the most popular sports among women. With women’s interest in physical activity increasing, in both viewing and participating, why is there still an immense amount who don’t participate in sports they’re interested in? 

Over 40% of women over the age of 16 are not active enough to get the health benefits they need from exercise. Sport England’s latest research has shown that the main reasons for this is that many women lack confidence in their body and fear judgment from their peers or fellow gym members. 75% of women say they want to do more sporting activities or exercise, but they are afraid of being judged. This could partly be due to the huge increase in the number of fitness instructors over the years. Thanks to the 400 million daily active Instagram users, the hashtag “fitness” has over 180 million uses! However, with an increase in fitness influencers all over the media comes an increased feeling of guilt and self-awareness about getting or keeping fit. With the top 20 fitness influencers collectively having a following of 100 million you can’t scroll through your feed without catching sight of at least one fitness-related post.

Fitness influencers take pride in their hard-worked-for bodies and health by posting pictures of themselves and videos of their workouts or their latest dieting trend put to the test. However, while some of their viewers find this helpful, a large proportion simply end up feeling insecure about their body as they’ve tried the diet and it left them hungry or the workout was unsuccessful. Cosmopolitan’s readers say they are left doubting themselves and feeling bad about their current body.

“Influencers’ realities are different from the situations many women have to face daily.”– A student describing what her mother says on the topic of fitness influencers.

Due to this ongoing cycle, many women feel ashamed or judged while trying to exercise as they don’t understand how influencers achieve their perfect body. Studies from “Simple Strat Blogs” and “This Girl Can” tell us that every person’s body, regardless of their body type will respond differently to a workout routine or dieting regime. Which therefore means that no one can strive to look just like their favourite fitness influencer as it is physically impossible!

So, do influencers set too unrealistic a target or do women need to feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin? Ultimately, this worldwide discussion comes down to the eternal, ongoing question, if there is such a thing as an ideal body type.

Personally, I do not rely on influencers or models to urge me to exercise as I strongly feel that if I truly want to strive to stay fit, then I’ll find the belief within that should be supporting me all the way.

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