Have you ever scrolled through Instagram fitness posts and thought “WTF?” You’re not alone. From detox tea to half naked gym selfies, here’s my take…

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

6 min read

Have you ever scrolled through fitness related posts on Instagram and thought “WTF?”

It sure is a crazy world out there…

Social media can be such a powerful tool when used for good, but it can also make you feel awful about your body.

And Instagram has it all in spades.

Photographs are airbrushed like a motherf**ker, some resemble porn more than fitness, and then there’s the training advice…

.. ah, the training advice…

So today I’m going to talk about the 2 reasons why Instagram totally sucks for fitness knowledge, and why you’ve gotta watch out for those evil powers of social media before you get sucked in.

And relax (!), people who get offended at everything, I am only joking around here…

(but not really.)


instagram fitness

1. Living Your #FakeLife

We live in a digital age, and for many people, that means presenting a different version of themselves online for the world to see.

Not just celebrities, but real people, too.

Heck, you probably know an “Fitfluencer” from you workplace.

They’ll think nothing of snapping an image of themselves with it all hanging out, then posting it online for the world to see.


Because ‘likes’, bro.

You can pay your bills with those.

Wait…? You can’t…? What the f…

bad Instagram fitness advice

The next step on the road to fitfluencer greatness is to master the art of “The Never Give Up Monologue”.

This is the 750 word caption which, despite all its cringey self-important phrasing, only really says “Never give up”.


Because they needed a story to distract you from the fact they walked up a hill, took off their clothes, and posted it on the f**king internet!

Never give up?!

How about we start teaching people they don’t need to reduce themselves to feeling like they must undress for social media strangers just to receive validation in the form of ‘likes’?

I’ve ran out of evens to can’t.

So instead, heed the immortal words of Joe Donnelly:

“We now live in a world of selfie posting, ego floating, insecure and shallow persona.

When your confidence is built upon a foundation of compliments from subjective third party natures, you have no confidence. You are a mental prisoner to the shallow words of others.

To truly be successful you must first be free. You will never be free, or successful, when your demeanor rises and falls on the words of others.

You are simply an insecure, mental slave posting edited photos in hopes of achieving your daily fragile ego boost.”

Sometimes they’ll throw a curveball at you in the form of a 750 word caption which says “Be happy with who you are” (then proceed to apply so many filters they resemble a CGI image of themselves from 10 years ago).

One of my friends does that.

Her social profiles look so little like her, I’m genuinely worried if she goes missing they’ll never find her.

Good fitness tips on Instagram

I joke to get my point across. It’s my way.

But there are serious problems underneath all of this.

Aside from the obvious depression risk that comes with living a #FakeLife online, and the sudden rise in folks who are clinically addicted to taking selfies (selfitis; it’s a thing now), we also have a massive increase in body confidence issues which arise from seeing a news feed full of “perfect” people.

It gives us the impression that if we don’t look like we’re at a photoshoot while we workout, well, we must suck at life.

But here’s the thing…

It’s all bulls**t.

When I train, I do not look perfect.

I look like Rocky Balboa when he’s 5 rounds in against the big Russian killing machine.

Sweat pourin’ outta me… Givin’ it everything I’ve got… Ain’t nothing sexy about it.

The standards people hold themselves to via Instagram are not only unrealistic, they’re fake as f**k.

You don’t see the un-edited photos, or the 25 un-used takes of the same pic, so please do not compare yourself to somebody else’s “highlight reel”.

One Instagram user did a great job of demonstrating just how fake social media is, by taking these shots mere moments apart to illustrate the point:

instagram fitness

best fitness accounts on Instagram

2. The Terrible Fitness Advice

This is the bit I was really looking forward to writing.

Where do we start?

The trainers who deem themselves so pretty they don’t need to worry about menial things like, ugh, qualifications?

bad fitness advice on Instagram

The reality TV stars who pick up sponsorship deals and then immediately start handing out crazy dieting advice to their loyal followers?

bad instagram fitness advice

(Yes, you read that correctly – she can eat whatever she wants, because she dropped a pill beforehand.)

Or maybe the “Influencers” who just flat-out tell their followers they don’t even need to workout to see great results?

Just buy these pills!

instagram celebrities who give bad fitness advice

… f**k, don’t even get me started on “Detox Tea”.

In fact, it’s okay, Jameela Jamil already handled this one pretty damn nicely.

Cardi B detox tea
The response tells you all you need to know.

(These were all things which were sent to me, by the way, I’m not trying to single anyone out.)

Thankfully, things are starting to get a little better.

As you can see above, a bunch of silly people got themselves banned for handing out potentially dangerous advice to their hordes of teenage female followers, and I hope it’s a trend that continues.

Instagram is a f**king goldmine of awful fitness information.

It’s like an alternate reality where folks with luminous white teeth want to tell you that “You are enough” before trying to show you how much better they are than you.

So listen up;

You genuinely are enough. I mean that.

F**k those f**ks.

Social media in need of much greater regulation, but it’s slowly moving in the right direction.

So if I could offer one piece of advice to the governing bodies who are tasked with cleaning it up and protecting the masses from all the bulls**t, what would it be?


I don’t know…

Never give up?

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I’m Russ. I’ve been a personal trainer since 2002, and I own russhowepti.com.

My job is to simplify fitness for my readers.

I send out free fitness tips to over 100,000 men and women every week, all in the same no-nonsense style as the article you’ve just read, so if you enjoyed reading it be sure to jump on my email list below.

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