Healthy Body

Bend, stretch, snap! is the workout selfie taking it too far?

On a visit to a recent inner city gym I came across a young female taking a ‘selfie’ while working out on a treadmill.

On this same visit I encountered a male in the weights area appearing to have a full-blown conversation with a friend via photographs taken of himself while lifting weights using Snapchat.

This led me to wonder: is the gym the new thing to do? Or has the constant pressure of modern day society to look good as well as celebrity’s never-ending bombarding of the public with updates of fitness regimes and ‘clean’ eating forced people to ‘brag’ about and exaggerate their working out?

One gym instructor I spoke with in relation to this matter said he was so sick with the constant misuse of gym space as a realm of glorification and self admiration that he was forced to put up signs on all mirrors encouraging gym users to remember the purpose of the work out area and to stop the constant posing!

In an attempt to understand this new phase of ‘healthies’, the newest ‘selfie’ I asked a few gym go-ers their opinion on the issue.

One young female was pro the gym-casting that is occurring widely: “I tweet or Instagram a pic every time I go to the gym! I find the praise and encouragement motivating – I definitely wouldn’t go as much if I was doing it in secret, wouldn’t see the point!”

Another young female I spoke with was against the work out snaps: “It’s so irritating people taking photos in the gym, the last thing I want to be worrying about while working out is being caught in the background of some posers pictures, cameras should definitely not be permitted in a workout space!”

The majority of males I spoke with were of the opinion that if one wants to share their gym going it’s their choice with some having interesting opinions on the benefits of sharing their health regimes with one commenting: “If it’ll help a lad get a bird, let him off, I say.” Another adds: “Competition when it comes to making gains isn’t a bad thing if it positively keeps people motivated, if ya don’t like seeing people talk about their working out don’t be looking at their profiles, simple!”

This trend of sharing workout pics as well as food choices cannot be taken lightly though as the peer pressure that comes with it must be taken seriously. With a recent survey conducted by the Dáil na nÓg Council finding that 52% of young females as opposed to 29% of males are exercising to control their weight as opposed to keeping healthy and twice as much young females than males unhappy with their body image. This survey which asked over 2,000 people aged between 10 and 21 a series of questions also found that 2 out of 3 people were feeling under pressure to look good for other people.

“This flaunting via social media of what society classes as ‘perfect’ and how to live correctly can be not just risky but also quite irresponsible and should be done with caution,” warned a Dublin City doctor when asked on the matter.