It’s a brand new day, and you’re headed to the gym full of energy. After all, it’s chest day and you just watched an amazing motivational video to get pumped up. Inevitably, you reach the gym and it’s packed as usual, and you have to wait for a free bench. What do you do? Scroll through instagram of course! You’ll get more motivation there for sure!
But what if it’s actually not true? What if it’s bad for you to look at all these ripped, shredded, and swole men and women on social media?
There’s a good reason to think it has a negative effect on you according to Time, so you might want to put your phone away and take a break from those gym selfies.
Tricia Burke,an assistant professor in the department of communication studies at Texas State University, and Stephen Rains from the University of Arizona did a survey about social media use in the gym, and what they found was intriguing.
Published in the journal Health Communication, Burke and Rains found that the people who spent more time on social media viewing other gym users had a tendency to make comparisons between themselves and other posters. The implication is that it led to a drop in self-esteem.
“A lot of us just kind of scroll through and see things passively,” Burke says. “We might not realise that we are internalising it, and that it can be affecting our attitudes about ourselves.”
With the constant stream of inspirational and motivational content available on social media nowadays, it’s not surprising that some people may be negatively affected by it. The effect is even greater especially when they view themselves similar to these social media personalities in some way.
On the other hand, there have been some people who say that they make “upward” comparisons when consuming such content, resulting in more positivity.
But of course, when you’re flooded by guys with sculpted bodies and women with perfect proportions, it can get frustrating if you don’t see results yourself.
“We should be careful about the way that we’re phrasing things,” Burke says. “We should be responsible posters and try to have a proactive, pro-health, positive message that makes people feel capable of engaging in these health behaviors.”
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer