Fitspiration is a term used to describe the inspiration behind someone getting up and working toward their physique goals.
Most of these supposedly motivational memes and pictures portray men and women working out or posing to show off their physiques. They are traditionally in spandex or cut off shirts. They are typically drenched in sweat and sport an amazing six pack or a great pair of legs and butt. They will have some slogan that encourages pushing through pain, exhaustion, and hunger. Some of them sound like this.
"Suck it up now so you don’t have to suck it in later."
"The only bad workout is the workout that didn't happen."
"No Pain, No Gain."
Is this a good form of motivation?
My answer: NO!
There is no research confirming fitspiration’s role in helping people maintain a healthy, sustainable level of physical activity.
A desire to workout because you want to emulate the toned, muscular individual on a fitspiration meme can be a source of short term motivation. The issue with this type of motivation is that is has a short life span. You may enter the 'grind harder' mentality but lose your stamina after learning how much exercise and time it takes to acquire that physique. It sounds good in theory but what's wrong with staying in your own lane?
A huge component of your success in improving your fitness is for you to develop a good relationship with exercise. If you don’t actually enjoy the gym or exercise in general, your interest in engaging in exercise to lose weight or gain muscle will peter out pretty quickly.
I see a lot of disordered thinking from people looking at fitspiration as a vehicle to to get to there goals. In most cases it actually fosters the motivation to exercise less because it makes most feel worse about themselves. That ultra-fit ideal may seem so far away from where you are now that it is just easier to stay in the same place and resist change.
Fitspiration could alienate people from engaging in exercise, since they’re led to believe that the only way to do so is some over the top program. Most of those memes portray some high intensity boot-camp program, a workout dvd that looks impossible to complete, or a body builder’s weight training routine from his hay day. These memes make a leisurely stroll, bike ride, or a easy swim look like a waste of time. But they aren't because they can help you improve your health and fitness too.