“Fitspiration” Phenomenon

Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 10 – Fitspiration: There are many social media apps available for meal and workout inspiration. Photo: Sarah Carr

by Sarah Carr —

There’s no question that social media has influenced many parts of society today. From food, to travel to even fitness – there is an account for every interest. The question that then arises is, “is it a good thing?”

Kiara McGuire, a personal trainer at McComas Gym at Virginia Tech said she has seen first hand how impactful social media can be on fitness. 

“I had a client that came in, and one of their goals was to lose 40 pounds in two weeks. He showed me pictures on social media of the body he wanted to look like. We had to have a long talk.” said McGuire.

It’s “the crazy waves of trying to lose weight,” and other fitness fads that trainers like McGuire said can make the seemingly harmless “fitspiration” phenomenon so dangerous. 

According to a study done in INSIDER, “women who viewed a set of Instagram fitness images reported lower levels of body satisfaction than women who viewed a set of Instagram travel images.”

While social media sites such as Instagram can be a breeding ground for comparison to some, it also provides inspiration and a sense of community to others. 

Camden Carpenter, an avid social media user and student at Virginia Tech said that apps like Pinterest have helped her find new workouts and recipes, tailored to her liking. 

“With social media, it’s really easy to find someone that aligns with your dietary restrictions and allergies instead of having to flip through Google and use all of these search words where you still might not get a recipe,” said Carpenter.

It’s the ease and accessibility that makes social media so impactful on the fitness community. A study by Cleveland Clinic in Parade Magazine showed that 55% of Americans use social media for diet and workout advice. 

It seems that there are both positive and negative effects to social media’s impact on fitness, but it ultimately comes down to the user and how they react to these accounts when scrolling through their feed every day.

Blacksburg, Va., Feb 9. – Kiara McGuire, personal trainer at Virginia Tech. Photo: Sarah Carr
Blacksburg, Va., Feb 7 – Camden Carpenter, social media user and student at Virginia Tech. Photo: Sarah Carr