What Instagram Can Teach You About Fitness

Instagram is filled with pictures of fit, pretty people. You can learn a thing or two from them, if you know what to ignore.

In the spirit of self development, I'm reading Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Chip and Dan Heath are two of my favorite authors and never fail to deliver.

Each chapter is filled with invaluable insight. The one that inspired this, Chapter 4: Find Someone Who's Solved Your Problem.

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart used this well. He started as a small business owner in Bentonville Arkansas.

My city has 3 Walmarts.

Walton grew Walmart by looking at what others were doing asking;

“Who else is struggling with a similar problem, and what can I learn from them?”- Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

This is often the first question you may ask when you start out exercising.

You look for someone who has the look you want to achieve on Instagram. You copy that persons program set for set, hoping it will get you the same body.

That mistake will lead you down a rabbit hole of program hopping and rebounding.

Why Haven't You Gotten Her Results?

There is a problem with insta swiping a workout routine. That chick doesn’t have the same experiences and physical makeup that you do.

Take for example your hips; You’ve likely noticed that people don’t all move the same.

Some people are able to squat pretty deep, it almost seems effortless. Others might squat about halfway down before everything seems to fall to shit.

The hips are just one example of the many differences between people.

So what are you to do?

Instead of looking at that persons program, look at the principles behind what made it work;

  • Are they increasing the amount of work they do over time? Sets, reps, weight etc.
  • Is there program written to focus on a goal that aligns with what they’re looking for?
    • Strength, sport performance, looks? A Mix?
  • Is there any adjustment being made as they progress or stall?

Looking at other people for inspiration is fine but, always tweak for yourself.

That instagram girl got that booty from:

  1. Specificity
  2. Overload
  3. Exercise Selection
  4. Genetics (hopefully)
  5. Solid Nutrition

Exercise selection is a place that you might look for that inspiration.

Bret Contreras has found several effective glute building exercises. Bret continues to innovate and lead the industry in new glute training methods.

Cem Eren uses some more inventive and effective methods for developing booties too.

If you'd like to find out more about those numbered items above, a good textbook is the best place to start.

What About That New Magic Diet?

Which diet works best for weight loss is a highly studied subject. You'd be surprised to hear that largely for general weight loss, it doesn't matter.

There is some context to that, athletes shouldn't opt for low carb diets. We're mainly talking about general weight loss.

In a study published February 2018, Stanford researchers compared weight lost when following a low carbohydrate vs a low fat diet.

The results of the study were equivocal, as long as you followed the diet you lost about the same.

The lead researcher, Christopher Gardner, gave an interview on the study here.

His most important takeaway was this:

"Maybe we shouldn’t be asking what’s the best diet, but what’s the best diet for whom?"-Christopher Gardner, PhD

To break out of a narrow frame, we need options. Dieting to cut calories isn’t your only option. You can add calories and add more activity. I prefer this option sometimes.

To summarize, you should aim to understand why someone got results from a program.

The most valuable thing you can do is ask questions of them like:

  • Why do you think you lost weight?
  • What are some things that might keep me from being successful?
  • What are the important things that will help me reach my goals?
  • How long did it take you to reach this point and feel successful?

Experiences like their's can help you frame your expectations. Pick a diet that largely fits your goals and that you can stick to. Find training that you enjoy.

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