What is it about fitness Instagrams that have many young women, myself included, enamored? Could it be the way these accounts post a new workout routine, seemingly every minute, inspiring us to mix up our own routine? Or could it be because the girls on there have perfectly dewy skin and long bouncy ponytails, that make us think “I know I go to the gym to work out, but I should probably put on contour and highlighter next time I go.”
For me, the reason I often found myself scrolling through fitness accounts,was because of the round peach-like shapes of the fitness models butts. I couldn’t get enough. Butts in jeans, butts in jean shorts...butts in bathing suits...I thought it was the most feminine thing ever---to have a huge butt that made others triple take, because double take wasn’t enough. Even if the image was so photoshopped it looked like a poorly drawn sketch from the mind of a 13-year-old boy, I was still like “I need to get a butt like that.”
And, call me crazy, but this doesn’t seem like a healthy mind set to head into the gym with. It wasn’t until I started working part-time at gym and struck up a friendship with a trainer that I realized most of those accounts don’t even know what they’re doing when it comes to work out routines.
“You always see those girls who stick their butts out while using the arm cables,” my trainer friend said once to me, as she was showing me how to use some machines, “ya, you’re not supposed to do that. That’s not proper form.”
In fact, it wasn’t until I began listening to my friend---this lovely, lovely friend of mine who teaches me how muscles work because for some reason I don’t understand basic human body concepts---that I realized the other flaws with the Instagram account workouts.
What was even more interesting was the day I decided to read the caption on one of these workout posts, something I had never done on any fitness account before. The caption never seemed important, because, as I said, I was only there for butt envy. As I read through the very long caption full of motivational things like “this workout will rid you of all your unwanted cellulite!” and “get the ass of a Kardashian in under 30 seconds with this sweat induced high kick!” I got to the end, only to find the entire post was an ad for workout products and diet teas.
It’s not like I was in the dark about people using Instagram to play on insecurities to make a dollar. But when you see a girl in a high waisted jeans with fringe kissing the bottom of her perfectly round, plumped up butt cheeks, you kind of forget about all logic and begin looking in the mirror, mapping out the exact number of squats needed to get the same behind.
What starts as a simple, “Oh think account is cool, it shows me workouts,” sometimes turns into a “Ok, if I do 3,000 squats an hour and buy this ass-plump tea made from drops of 100% genuine Beyonce sweat, then I’ll finally look like the girls on that Instagram.”
This type of thinking doesn’t help you. It only sets you up for disaster. Instead of focusing on the positives of the gym---like, I don’t know, extra years added to your life, or how your heart pumps blood better (or something like that, I’m not a doctor)---you begin only focusing on why you still don’t look like the women from the Instagram accounts. And while not all fitness accounts are altering images to promote ads for unhealthy diet culture, a lot of them are. It’s important to know which ones are there to inspire healthy habits, and which ones are there to make you so ravenous with envy that you buy a 25-pack of butt padded leggings.