A greater number of people today are taking their fitness more seriously than they did in previous decades. The advent of the internet and social media has provided people with both information and inspiration. While these things have caused the fitness industry to bloom significantly, it also seems to have created problems that could potentially cost people their physical and mental health.
Fitness influencers can be attributed to the significant growth of the fitness industry, as they’ve been able to get hundreds of thousands of people to gain interest in fitness. An increasing number of people have taken their first steps toward a better lifestyle with the hopes that they attain the same levels of fitness as their idols.
With this influencer image in mind, it’s difficult to see how they would be putting anybody in harm’s way. After all, aren’t influencers meant to guide their followers?
What Is a Fitness Influencer?
The truth is that fitness influencers are more than just people that their followers look up to. Down to their very core, influencers are both entrepreneurs and an embodiment of the brand that they sell. It’s a common sight for fitness influencers to endorse products from sponsors, and to sell their own exercise routines and diet plans. This is normal behavior and the truth is that there isn’t anything wrong with it. The real danger happens when influencers aren’t completely honest with their audience.
The Stigma On Chemically-Enhanced Physiques
The use of anabolic steroids has always been met with controversy. Even people who aren’t currently engaged in the fitness industry regard anabolic steroids in a negative light. There are a few reasons for this stigma; it’s a drug, it’s not good for the people who abuse it, and most people in the fitness industry liken it to cheating.
While this social stigma is warranted, steroids are not as dangerous as the mainstream media portrays them to be. Anabolic steroids are nothing more than tools to help bodybuilders attain the physiques that they otherwise would not be able to attain through natural means.
Much like any other drug, anabolic steroids have inherent dangers and contraindications. The dangers associated with their use stems only from pre-existing medical conditions and from their over use.
If you think about it, workout supplements can be effective at facilitating your progress as long as they are used properly. The inverse is also true, that supplements can also harm you if misused, and they aren’t too different from steroids, so why do some fitness influencers lie about being all-natural when they clearly aren’t?
Influencers and Steroids
When influencers lie about not using chemical enhancements to get their physique, it’s more harmful than it sounds. Influencers give the impression that if people try their workout routines and diet plans, people are going to achieve the same results naturally, even when it’s simply not possible.
This is not only extremely demotivating to the people who have actually bought their products, but it also forces them to put themselves at risk of sustaining injuries by trying the workouts they see from their influencers, thinking that influencers are able to reach those performance levels naturally.
The reason why influencers have to be completely honest with their audiences is because most people will strive to achieve the same physique that they have, and they are willing to do what influencers suggest to achieve their fitness goals.
The Danger of TikTok Challenges
TikTok influencers enjoy almost as much popularity as their counterparts on other platforms. All influencers hold a great sway over the purchasing behavior of their audience, but TikTok is particularly dangerous because all it takes is one influencer to start the wrong trend, and this trend can easily become viral.
A prime example of this is the TikTok Pre-workout challenge, where people ingest their pre-workout powder without first dissolving it in water as per packaging instructions.
Another trend comes in the form of mixing pre-workout in energy drinks in order to get a better energy boost from your pre workout powder. Both these practices can cause palpitations, hallucinations, liver damage, insomnia, and even death. Both practices are extremely dangerous, but, the greater danger is that when influencers do these things, their audience will likely imitate these practices.
Not All Fitness Influencers Are Bad
It’s important to be selective of the influencers you follow. Not all fitness influencers are out to get clout, and they aren’t all about chasing money. There are good people like Noel Deyzel, the Lean Machines, and Chloe Ting who promote the right fitness habits. Noel Deyzel, in particular, is honest about his steroid use and has been vocal about getting other fitness influencers to be more honest with their audience.
People in the fitness industry can be the most supportive and selfless people you can meet, but they can also be the most arrogant and self-absorbed. Always do your research before giving in to the influence of anyone, especially for beginners. Just as the Internet makes it easy for influencers to reach their audience, it also makes it easy for people to find information online. Use your tools properly.