To anyone who competes and participates in any fitness related endeavour – bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, CrossFit, etc. I want you to think about the sport you compete in and all the time you put into it. The sacrifices, the physical battles and the mental ones as well.
Now I’m going to present you with a scenario and ask you a simple question…
Tomorrow morning you wake up, like Thanos and his army in Endgame, all platforms of social media have vanished. Every Facebook profile, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube channel, have been eliminated. Here’s my question:
If social media didn’t exist tomorrow would you still do what you did today?
If you couldn’t post every check in picture, top set, meals 1-200 every single day, would you still give the same effort?
I think social media as a whole is a great thing, it allows us to connect with people, share information, share our lives and overall spread motivation and encourage others. I also believe many people’s identities and motivation is now rooted in their social media platforms. Some are addicted to the validation they get from the people who like and comment on their posts. It happens over a period of time. At first most are genuine and innocent in what they post, they don’t have many followers or people seeing their content. Then the following grows, people begin to comment with praises and encouragements, suddenly we feel the need to have more of that no matter the cost our goals are no longer based upon our sport but based on how we can get more interaction on a post on social media. I believe this has caused many of the issues we see today in the powerlifting and bodybuilding world.
Before social media, no bodybuilder stayed contest lean year around, that was unheard of. And a powerlifter adding weight to their top set just for a video? Blasphemy.
Today we see fitness competitors who starve their body’s year around to maintain a look that’s acceptable for “the gram” with zero regard to their physiques progress but more importantly the tolls being that lean can take on your health. Bodybuilders were worried about taking the time to grow and only concerned with being stage lean where it counts, on stage. Not the Instagram Selfie Overall.
Powerlifters are constantly doing grinding singles and top sets that are 20lbs to heavy going off plan because doing 400 for one rep is way cooler than doing your programmed 315 for 4 sets of 5 right? We certainly didn’t see people doing backflip deadlifts, squatting on roller blades, or any of the other insanely dangerous and for the most part stupid antics we see today.
Is it tempting to go off plan? Yes, just two weeks ago I had 580×5 programmed for my top set of Deficit Deads, 580 meant I had to put 5 plates with a 35, 5, and 2.5lb plate, 585 would’ve meant I could put 6 plates on the bar. That 6 plates would’ve looked way cooler, but it wasn’t what the program called for. I know many people who would’ve added that 5lbs. Or even added 20lbs to make that 600 mark because it looks cool for the gram.
Last year during my prep I decided to test myself, I didn’t post a single thing for the 12 weeks leading into my show. I made a post after my show, and it just so happened that was the best I had ever looked. I wasn’t concerned with taking selfies during training, or worried about people commenting on my Physique getting in my head and making me question my coaches plan. I put my head down and did the work without validation from social media, and it was amazing.
I take a different approach to my social media now, I treat it as my own personal journal. I can go back and look at posts and compare them to we’re I am now. Not only from a physical state but also from a mental state. I can usually tell by how I wrote my caption where my head was mentally at that time.
I’ll never be the person who caters what I post to my “following” or go off of my plan to do something that might be cooler or get more likes. I’m going to post what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and if people want to follow that and see my journey. That is awesome and perfectly fine by me.
I compete for myself and to be the best, not to be the best social media page. I challenge you to reflect on the relationship you have with your social media platforms and your plans. See how they line up and are you doing what’s cool in the moment for the gram, or what’s best in the long run for you goals?