The fitness industry has made some serious gains thanks to the rapidly rising popularity of social media platform, Instagram. Health and fitness has been one of the biggest trends to feature on the photo-sharing app, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
It has created supportive communities filled with people who encourage, empower and educate others. Everything from top techniques to low-fat recipes are readily available to the one billion active members who use Instagram each month – and whilst there is a grey area of the community that includes fake accounts, untrained advisers and manipulated photos, we believe there is still a great deal of good out there beyond just looking ‘picture perfect’.
Not the quick fixes, but the progress photos, following transformation journeys and having access to a steady (yet never boring) stream of healthy recipe ideas. It’s truly fitness at our fingertips provided by a whole range of people, combining real life photos alongside magazine-worthy shoots, tagged with phrases including #mondaymotivation, #fitspo, #eatclean and #instafit.
Why is it so successful? Well, for one, the posts are nice to look at. But they are also catering to people’s hopes and dreams. We all want to be healthier and fitter, right? Instagram has helped the fitness industry tremendously by allowing users access to personal trainers, nutritionists and motivators from the palm of their hands. There are experts helping others on their technique, live videos of healthy types making their breakfasts and selfies from those we aspire to be going on their morning runs, reminding us that we should be too.
Jess White, a personal trainer from London, began using Instagram for fitness support when she completed an incredible 1000 mile bike ride across the UK last year, and has seen directly how it can be a positive partner.
“I get a lot of people who watch my videos or like my pictures and have had a couple of clients from that. It’s such a huge community of fitness people now that I think overall it’s just given inspiration to normal people”.
Honest portrayals of people’s transformations makes users think “I can do it too!” and the easy accessibility means there is constant motivation and support from a strong, friendly and widespread community. It’s not only celebrities anymore (although, still very popular) but people like you and me who are showing us what we can achieve.
Not quite convinced? Whilst they may be curated through a filtered lens, statistics show that the pictures are paying off. More and more people are now going to gyms in attempt to get in shape. According to The Business Side of Sports, “the total number of US gym participants per year has increased from 24.1 million people in 2000 to 35.9 million people in the last couple of years, and this number continues to escalate”.
Lisa-Jane from Wildcat Fitness UK has seen this happening first-hand;
“People who attend my Group Fitness classes will nowadays often post selfies during or after their workouts and then tag me in which I absolutely love to see. Itt shows they’ve enjoyed their session with me and it’s good publicity! When I was first working in the fitness industry, recommendations usually came via word of mouth, and I believe social media – Instagram especially – has replaced this now. If people see their friends or even people they follow closely posting about the great results they’ve achieved with a PT or what an amazing workout an instructor gave them, then they are much more likely to get in touch or give it a try themselves.”
So, what form will this healthy obsession take in 2019? Instagram is already being used by 30% of internet users, and as live streaming becomes more of a priority this year, we can expect to see many more updates from the fitness industry in real-time being watched by more and more people. We’re feeling pumped already.