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How To Properly Filter Fitness Influencers Before You Follow Them

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Oct. 11 2021, Published 4:15 a.m. ET

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Most of us are looking for the next great way to help our bodies get into shape, stay fit and feel better. Participating in fad diets and following unworthy fit fitness influencers are traps we fall into easily, though, because of the hype and flair certain brands instinctively carry. Some of these can be harmless, but often time products and programs can be incredibly dangerous. It’s critical that we test and challenge any highly popular trend in fitness before we try them out.

Here are some tips to help you understand which influencers are in it for the right reasons and which ones might just be in it for the money and the likes.

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Skip The Program And Supplement Sellers

The first and probably easiest test of who’s a bad influence in your fitness stream is this one: who’s selling programs and supplements at every turn. These folks are just in it for the quick buck, in most cases and aren’t that concerned about what’s best for you, but rather what’s best for their channels.

That’s not to say positive fitness figures can’t occasionally let you know about great products and programs they love (that is, after all, part of a “good” partnership!). They just won’t be trying to sell you something in every post.

Find fitness influencers and role models who offer a lot of free scientifically backed advice, body-positive messages and practical tips.

Cut The Comparative Gals And Guys

You know you see these folks everywhere on social media: the before-and-after folks. We’re not talking about your friend who’s been working out for six months and tosses on that old bikini for the pics – we’re talking influencers.

The reason it’s recommended you avoid these folks is not necessarily that they’re doing anything wrong, but rather because constantly comparing your own body and results of your hard work to someone else’s can result in social anxiety, depression and feelings of inadequacy. Your progress will look different than everyone else’s.

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You’ll also want to strongly consider skipping those influencers who always wear makeup and use tons of filters on their photos and videos. Editing a shot is fine, but filtering so that everything looks magical and unrealistic all the time? That implies manipulation of some kind.

Avoid Pseudoscience Hacks

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Whichever way you want to use the word “hack,” that’s what we’re talking about here! There are tons and tons of influencers out there promising you these magical, pill-a-day/one move-a-day life hacks that will “change your body forever.” The science behind these promises is zip. So, these “hacks” are coming from “hacks” making false promises based on fiction.

There is no magic pill, one-size-fits-all workout or any other all-encompassing tip or trick that will meet the needs of everyone following that influencer. Take it from a personal trainer who’s been working to lose weight for years: there is no program or product that instantly changes your life. Fat loss, fitness and wellness are a long process that often take years for permanent results to set in.

Again, this isn’t to say there aren’t some tips and tricks that won’t work for you. We’re always advancing in science, psychology and nutrition for a better world. The way one influencer might phrase something could be the key to how you change your perspective on a particular issue or challenge.

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To make sure you’re getting real scientific data, check the source. Who’s paid for the studies behind the products and programs? Who’s paying this influencer to talk about their programs? Who’s funding the equipment “advancements”? Look for education, medical, government and other authoritative organizations as the backers for the programs and products. If someone’s blog is the only source of the information, it’s not legitimate science and the programs or tips could result in serious injury or illness.

Find A Balance In Who You Follow

Ultimately, it’s also important to balance the types of influencers you follow. Follow fitness influencers of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and ages. Find one or two that most closely align with your personal struggles (e.g., after baby weight, college 15, COVID 15, sedentary lifestyle, eating disorders, depression or anxiety, biological gender, age-group, etc.) for your main channels, then add in some folks of varying backgrounds to help your motivation and help reduce social comparison issues. You’ll find you have a much more rounded view of the fitness world, tips and tricks that help and beneficial thoughts and motivation for your whole life improvement scheme.

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