Fitness Fun

The #gymselfie: Help or Hindrance?

gymselfie

We’ve all seen them: “those people” who take gym selfies. Maybe you’re annoyed by them. Maybe you’re able to ignore them. Or maybe you ARE one of them!

But have you ever thought about whether the #gymselfie is a good idea or a bad one? Is it a motivational tool, or is it just another form of social media bragging, often at the expense of other gym-goers?

Opinions are mixed, but after doing some research, we’ve got to say that the gym selfie is a good thing… when it’s practiced responsibly.

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Why the Gym Selfie Really Can Help

Going to the gym can feel like a real chore. Even for people who are naturally athletically inclined, there are still days when the workout mood just isn’t there, or when energy is low, or when time is short. And for those of us who have had to learn to love working out–or (sigh) are still in the process–getting exercise regularly can feel like an almost daily struggle.

Get the Support You Need

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Chances are your social network is pretty supportive of your efforts to get fit, whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or several different platforms. Your friends and family want you to be healthy and do good things for yourself, so sharing your workouts with them is likely to get you the encouragement and congratulations that you might need to stay motivated.

You might also consider following some fitness instructors, fitness-minded friends, or other people whose posts have a positive influence on you when you’re at the gym… or trying to get yourself there. Don’t bother with posters who tend to make you feel inadequate or jealous, or whose attitudes towards exercise seem unhealthy! Stay positive and you’ll feel supported.

But what if you get negative feedback on social media? It’s known to happen. Try to be compassionate and don’t write the Negative Nancys off as jealous haters… they’re probably dealing with struggles of their own. But if they’re just mean strangers? Consider keeping your accounts friends-only.

Show Off Your Hard Work

As this Cosmopolitan article asks, “What’s so wrong about showing off your hard work?” We’d say: NOTHING!

You should be proud of the fact that you’re making the effort to improve your health, fitness, and quality of life. Not everyone has the willpower to get it done, and if you feel like flaunting it, go right ahead.

But does this mean that only the prettiest gym-goers are “allowed” to post the #gymselfie? No way! Some people certainly are naturally gifted: when they work out, they look rosy-cheeked, and glisten and glow like runway models. Most of us, on the other hand, get tomato-faced and look more like we just climbed out of a swimming pool fully clothed.

But don’t worry. It’s the gym! No one looks their best when they’re really busting their butt to get fit. Don’t sweat it… at least, no more than you already are 😉

Plus, keeping track of your progress, or even just your consistency, can be a huge motivating factor for you. On a day when you just can’t with the gym, look back at your last #gymselfie. See how proud you look? Remember how amazing you felt once you completed your workout? Now get out there are make it happen again!

Motivate Others

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If you’re inspired by the fitness pictures you see on social media, think about how inspiring you might be for someone else! It doesn’t matter if you’re already as fit as you want to be or not: everyone wants to know that people like them can do it, too!

By sharing your #gymselfies and your fitness journey with your family and friends, you could change someone’s life for the better. You could motivate someone to make a healthy change, or just motivate them to do today’s workout! When it comes to health and fitness, motivation is always a positive factor, no matter how small it might seem.

How to Avoid Being “One of Those People”

Okay… we’ve established that the #gymselfie can help you with your own fitness and motivation! But what about everybody else? Some of us are seriously annoyed by gym selfie-takers. Here’s how to avoid being one of those people.

Practice the gym selfie responsibly!

Point and Shoot

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Just point and shoot, and do it only once or twice. Standing in front of the mirrored wall, hogging the treadmill, or blocking the free weights while you take fifteen minutes trying to get the perfect shot is rude, and you could find your fellow gym-goers rolling their eyes behind your back… you might even be able to see them in the background of your shot 😉

After all, isn’t a gym selfie supposed to be candid? Remember, the vast majority of people don’t look their best mid-workout, so don’t bother trying to get a glamour shot at the gym! Be real and show the world that working out leaves you confident and feeling amazing.

Photograph Yourself…

… and only yourself. The woman using the elliptical machine behind you or the guy next to you in your yoga class might not want to be featured on your Instagram account. Other gym-goers don’t know whether your account is public, or who your friends are, or how the pictures you’re taking might be used. For all they know, you’re taking a picture to make fun of them, or you’re going to put it in a public place.

Everyone wants some degree of privacy at the gym, and some facilities have even started implementing no-pictures policies because of complaints from gym members. In many cases, taking pictures at the gym might not be technically illegal, but it can be considered rude, especially if you’re taking pics of an entire exercise class, weight room, or pool filled with people who never gave you permission. Don’t make anyone else uncomfortable!

And in case you needed to be reminded (we hope not!), you should NEVER take a picture in a gym’s locker room, bathroom, or shower facilities! Policies against this are in place at lots of gyms, and for good reason: even though the gym itself is often considered a public place, there is a legally protected expectation of privacy in bathrooms and in areas used for washing and undressing. You could find yourself in legal trouble if someone complains about your locker room selfie antics!

Safety First!

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You may have seen some articles recently about how selfie-related deaths are becoming more and more common. And while you’re unlikely to meet your demise by taking a selfie at the gym, you might be likely to hurt yourself if you’re not paying attention!

Try not to snap a #gymselfie while you’re actually doing a gym activity. Gazing into your own eyes in the front-facing camera might not mix well with a fast-running treadmill, a pec fly machine, or a churning swimming pool. And you might not even injure yourself: if you aren’t watching what you’re doing, an innocent bystander could get in the way of your free weight or your exercise band.

And of course, always watch where you’re going. If you’re too absorbed in your camera, you could run right off the side of the treadmill, or wander in the way of someone trying to deadlift or do tire flips. Watch out!

Let’s Wrap It Up

So are you ready to start taking your own gym selfies? Don’t knock them–they could help boost your motivation, give you more support from your network, and give you a tangible record of how far you’ve come since you began your fitness journey! Just be sure to #selfie responsibly.

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Katharine Stevenson

Katharine Stevenson

Writer and expert


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