“You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry tomorrow:” Social Media’s Influence on My Fitness Lifestyle

After completing my undergraduate degree, I transitioned from a flexible schedule to the life of a busy graduate student in school full time, interning during the day and waitressing at night.  Suddenly, I had no time to dedicate to working out and maintaining my fitness was becoming a challenge. As someone who not only looks to exercising as a way to stay in shape, but also a stress reliever, I was determined to figure out how to fit fitness into my life.

Enter social media: during my undergraduate career I was a user of Twitter and Facebook, but only recently joined Instagram and the blogosphere. As it turns out, the combination of all four of these social media platforms was exactly what I needed to introduce me to workout routines, food recipes, and motivational tools that fit into my new busy lifestyle.

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I was introduced to great blogs including the workout group The November Project who works out at 6:30am throughout Boston, and began participating in their weekly workouts. Other friends showed me great links to Instagram and Twitter accounts that showed motivational pictures and routines.  For me, it truly makes a difference, to see healthy food pictures, and motivational sayings on my live feeds (Twitter, Insagram, Facebook).

To demonstrate how these platforms have helped me in these three areas, I’ve listed a sampling from each social media platform that I use on a daily basis.

INSTAGRAM

Category: Motivation & Workout Routines

Unlike any other social media platform, Instagram is based solely on the sharing of pictures (and now short videos).  This makes it perfect for users to share their workout routines, healthy food choices, and fitness/weight loss progress.  Similar to Twitter, users can have accounts for a wide range of purposes, and many use their pages as a way to share their own health and fitness challenges with others.  In this way, Instagram allows its users to create their own communities.

fitmotivationworkoutroutinegymflowtransformation

  • Fitmotivation: This page posts motivational quotes, transformational pictures, and reminds its users of the benefits of working out.
  • Workoutroutine: Looking for a monthly workout challenge or quick 15 minute workout routine? This account posts pictures and videos of specific workout moves to demonstrate the correct and safe way to complete the routine.
  • GymFlow100: this is the account for a health and fitness blog that inspires its followers through comical postings, transformational pictures, and motivational quotes from its signature clothing line.

 

BLOGS/WEBSITES

Category: Workout routines & Food Recipes

There are an immense number of great food blogs and fitness websites out there, blogs are a great way for individuals to share their own fitness challenges and struggles and relate more personally to their followers.  The following two websites I go to on a daily basis for inspiration.

novemberproject    myfitnesspal

  • The November Project: this is the website for a “grassroots workout tribe” that gathers and completes intense workouts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:30am in Boston.  What’s amazing about this group is its ability to stay as a community even when over 500 people show up to a workout.  The blog gives advice on staying warm during winter month training, members’ reflections on the impact of the November Project, and workout challenges.  If you’re looking for some interesting reading material, and/or intense and challenging workout routine, I would highly recommend taking the plunge and attending one of these workouts.
  • My Fitness Pal: This free website posts recipes for its users, and also is a great platform to track your fitness goals through calorie counting and weight goals.  Two other great aspects are that this site will link up with some activity trackers like Fit Bit to track the calories expended and consumed; additionally, the site offers a community feature where users can share their challenges and accomplishments with others across the site.

 

TWITTER

Category: Food Recipes

Since many people link their twitter accounts with their blogs, Facebook and Instagram pages, Twitter is the ideal place to see a quick 140 character post about a food recipe on someone’s blog without reading their blog post.  It allows users to decide if they want to read further about the recipe with one quick look.

  • @EatingBirdFood: posts about fitness, nutrition and great healthy recipes
  • @tspbasil: a dietician and food blogger that tweets links to healthy and equally important, delicious recipes

FACEBOOK

Category: Motivation

There are so many great social media platforms out there to motivate and inspire fitness users, and sometimes Facebook seems like it’s a second thought.  However, Facebook is still the most used platform, and therefore should not be forgotten as a great way to stay connected to the fitness community.

female motivation facebook

  • FemaleGymMotivation: like many of the motivational fitness accounts, this page is a great tool specifically for women to use for quotes, fitness pictures, and workout tips

8 comments

  1. Great post, very thorough blog on the impact social media has made on fitness. While I don’t use social media in the way described in your blog, I do use the app MapMyRun. I always share my runs, not because I’m fast but because it keeps me honest about how often, how far and how fast I run. I also like seeing the encouragement given to me by people on Facebook, even if its just a simple “like” to keep me motivated.

  2. Nice post. I like how people use each social media site to its strengths. Instagram is well suited for inspirational photos and blogs are good for how-to’s and recipes. I agree with Dayne that sharing your fitness on social media keeps you honest and motivated. The founder of the November Project said that “it was hard to wake up to workout by himself, but when he was rowing in college he was compelled to get out of bed because he owed it to the 7 other guys in his boat.” When you share your fitness goals with hundreds of followers, you are more responsible to them than you are to promises you make to yourself.

  3. Good post. I also agree that my diet has improved from being on social media. There are so many pictures of food and access to recipes that look delicious and are healthier options. As an undergrad I never really focused on eating healthy because I never thought healthy food can taste good. Now, I see different recipes that involve very healthy food and look great. After being on social media I have become much more health conscious when it comes to eating, and it gives you access to these recipes that you other wise would never have seen.

  4. What a great post. I always knew that SM was great for fitness inspiration, and now the iPhone 5s is actually optimized to support them better. My least favorite, though, are the scales that automatically tweet your weight :)

  5. Interesting post. Over the summer, I had a brief stint where I ran every morning. I used the app MapMyRun to track distance, pace, and goals. The app had a lot of great features that enable me to know how far and fast I was running while I was running and listening to music. It also allows you to see other users who have ran similar routes and their times. It is a good way to keep motivated, although it did not keep me motivated enough to continue running during the semester.

  6. I like this post. There are many forms of social media that people are able to take advantage of in order to stay healthy. Whether we like it or not, we are going to see or hear of others using these tools. Many people struggle with the issue of balancing work and fitness, and it can be tough. But these can definitely help.

  7. Hi Melissa, really interesting post. You discuss a lot about how recipes, inspirational messages, and workout plans have helped you. I’m curious what you think about the apps (they seem to show up on facebook often) that track people’s specific workouts — ie: “Kelly ran 1.56 miles around the Reservoir and here’s the map…” I guess this question applies to smurphy2014 too. Do you find those posts inspiring too? Does posting the specifics about your run help hold you accountable for going farther or doing more? Or do you feel like that’s it’s more personal or too much pressure?

  8. Thanks everyone for the great comments. I personally do like the apps that show up as Facebook statuses saying “Megan ran 10 miles and it took this long at this pace.” I have never used it myself, but as Dayne mentioned it’s a great way to motivate those who do and hold themselves accountable. I’m always impressed by those that put those statuses up because I don’t feel that it’s a bragging nature, but a great way to motivate and encourage others to get out there!

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