Use social media as inspiration, not a benchmark

Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a YouTube link to a video of Zanna Van Dijk taking part in fitness version of the ‘Never have I ever’ game. In the video she has to do Squat Jumps is she has done the thing in question. In the short video she admits that she has Instagrammed a workout from bed. What I loved about this video and the rest of them in the series (other fitness stars who took part in the ‘Never have I ever’ game included Alice Liveing and Hazel Wallace) is that is helps challenge the perception that fitness role models lead perfect lives.

Now I have been a fan of Zanna’s blog for a while and last year she wrote a great blog called ‘Reality check: 5 things you should know about me’. It is a brilliant blog that lifts the lid on what her life is really like compared to what people see on social media. She admits that her life is not as glamorous as it might look; she eats unhealthy food more than you would expect and has skipped workouts. She also states that her social media is full of the fun bits of her life, the travel, the great food and the epic workouts. This admission is really powerful because it sums up exactly why I think social media should be used as inspiration, not a benchmark. If someone as beautiful, healthy and fit as Zanna is only showing the good side of things then people shouldn’t use those images as a benchmark. They would be comparing themselves to something that is an incomplete version of the truth.

Last year I wrote a blog titled ‘#inshapemyshape inspiration’ and it was a post based on a great article that the editor of Women’s Health. I admitted that I had been guilty of comparing myself to movie and sport stars and becoming despondent that I didn’t have a physique like theirs. This is the downside of social media, a photo on Instagram is a moment in time, and it is not the whole picture and therefore shouldn’t be used for benchmarking purposes.

So if what people put on social media isn’t the whole truth then why am I recommending that people use it as inspiration? Well simple really, everyone needs help getting motivated from time to time. Achieving any long-term goal requires perseverance and there will be times when you struggle. If someone like Zanna admits to skipping workouts then you shouldn’t feel bad for doing the same thing. They key is to stay focused on your end goal and that is where I see social media playing a part. I believe that social media shouldn’t be the source of your long-term goal, rather a source of inspiration to help you achieve it.

So in the spirit of making social media more about inspiration rather than a benchmarking exercise here are a few of my favourite social media accounts and the reason they inspire me…

Faisal Abdalla – Insta: Faisalpmafitness Twitter: @Faispmafitness

If everyone had a tenth of this mans enthusiasm for life and fitness I swear that the world would be a much happier place! His passion for all things fitness is incredible!


Hannah Mills – Insta: Wedgesandweights Twitter: @RealHannahMills

Hannah’s Twitter feed is full of inspirational quotes, advice and workout ideas. Also her Instagram stories are brilliant, they are always fun and full of positivity!


Bradley Simmonds –Insta: Bradleysimmonds Twitter: @Bradley_simmo

I only discovered Bradley’s account recently but it has already become a favourite of mine. His mix of client training videos and also his own workouts are a great source of new ideas and motivation.


Zanna Van Dijk – Insta: Zannavandijk Twitter: @zannavandijk

An obvious one considering that her video is the reason I wrote this blog but Zanna has been an inspiration for a while. Her recipe for Snickers protein flapjacks is amazing; they are my favourite homemade protein snack.


I hope you have enjoyed this blog and would love to know what you think?


Note – All images from Twitter feeds

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