Go through your phone right now. Look at your Instagram and Pinterest accounts. How many fitness related images are on there? Now tell me how many have actual information, form or technique advice on them?
Looking at a photo of someone who is in shape may motivate you to exercise. I won’t lie, when I first started exercising in high school, it was bodybuilders and pro wrestlers who’s bodies I wanted to emulate. Today, that same mentality is shared by millions who frequent social media sites scouring for inspirational pictures (I still refuse to use the word meme…my mouth doesn’t look right when I say it). At least I think that’s the intent, even though that’s the result we’re currently seeing.
Fast forwarding to today, the problem is not so much the inspiration, but the lack of information. I have seen an explosive increase in fitness enthusiasts over the last 13 years but the level of knowledge has (anecdotally and observationally) remained somewhat flat. Why is it that with so much interest in fitness there are still people who don’t know the basics? Why do I still see people rounding their backs on deadlifts? Why do I still have people telling me they have to stop eating because they feel fat? Why do I still see pulldowns performed with the bar a full 12 inches away from the chest? Are you telling me that all these thousands of photos haven’t helped people exercise any better? Dammit!
When I was looking at Serge Nubret, Dorian Yates, Triple H, and The Rock, I spent even more time looking at their workouts, their nutritional habits, proper lifting form and basic biology. In other words I had to learn what to do before I started doing it. It took a long time to get some things right and even today I am constantly fine-tuning, experimenting and documenting what works for me and my clients. Inspiration doesn’t give you that. At most it is the key that opens the door of possibilities.
At the risk of going too deep into psychology, a feeling is a trigger to get you to do something. When you look at an athlete or bikini model and feel good because you want to look the same way, great! Nothing wrong with that. However if you don’t take a few minutes and educate yourself on how they ended up looking that way, you’re going to waste your time at the gym. I think a few too many people assume that points are awarded just for going to the gym. Nah nah nah, it doesn’t work that way. Useful effort has to be exerted in order to exact the results you want.
What should you do? Don’t get rid of all your inspirphotos (see I made up a new word). Just search for more solid information on how to exercise properly and what movements are best suited for your goals. Modify workouts to fit your life, your abilities and skill level. Remember to be patient. A photograph is a snapshot in time that doesn’t show all the effort and hours that it took for a particular person to get to where they are at currently. It may take you the same time, more time or less time, but don’t expect it in two weeks.