The hazy world of free virtual fitness

Caroline Hendrix, Senior Writer

In the early months of quarantine, the motivation to workout was completely stripped from me. While finishing up the spring semester, you could find me either eating or watching Netflix. Don’t tell me you weren’t doing the same thing. But once classes finished and the weather got nicer, I couldn’t make up any more excuses to not exercise. And while walking became my favorite workout in the following months, I was not blind to the workout challenges and fads that were being spread throughout YouTube and Instagram. From Chloe Ting’s 2-week Ab Challenge to Sydney Cummings’ Dirty 30 Challenge, everyone and their mother was in the middle of some influencer created program. But as I reflect on those challenges and workout plans that took over my feeds, I cannot help but question whether the influencers behind them had the qualifications and certifications to be promoting them. Although they were free and accessible to all who had WiFi, it is important to consider what comes with not paying for a trusted professional’s advice.

The moral of the story is: do not trust everything you see on the Internet. Not every source has your best interest in heart. Just because an influencer may promote wellness, it does not mean that they actually practice what they preach. Remember that these influencers are acting as their own brands and keep in mind that they might be getting paid for the products and workout equipment that they cannot stop raving about across their social media.

But it is also important to remember that there are qualified and trustworthy trained professionals online who can help you reach your fitness goals; you just have to figure out how to weed out the false information and be able to recognize reliable resources. Erin Bunch from Well+Good recommends following influencers with some sort of credentials as their advice stems from those specific qualifications. Bunch also urges users to research fitness influencers before beginning their program to make sure that their plans, programs and advice is backed up by research.

Physical health can boost your immune system and is linked to mental health. So, if you do plan on using the exercises from fitness influencers, Insider shared five of the best free Instagram workout livestreams that they have found. Their top five included Barry’s abs and glutes, Equilibrium’s upper body TRX, Seen on Screen’s dance workout, Psycle’s abs and arms and Mark James’ Jazz for beginners. All of these can be found on the company’s or the instructors Instagram page or on Instagram Live. They also encourage users to listen to customer feedback; see what programs have worked for other people and hear their feedback before trying something blind.

All in all, you can surely find enjoyable, and challenging workouts on YouTube and Instagram as long as you use their advice with caution.

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