Insta-Glam vs Insta-Sham: Fitspo

We’ve all sat there in front of our social media feeds ogling over the amazing bodies of fitness bloggers, and in awe of the transformational results of both them, and their followers.

There is no doubt there are a great many inspirational stories out there of people who have worked on themselves and made HUGE progress with their health.

BUT what’s less talked about is exactly how real many of these pics are, and all the effort that goes into creating the “perfect” shot.

Luckily for us though, a number of our Fitspo icons are calling out some of the BS that goes on, and are bringing a touch of reality to the scene.

Fitness guru Emily Skye actively promotes a healthy lifestyle, and a fitness program based around weights based exercise to strengthen and tone. A former bikini model, Emily became miserable starving herself to stay “skinny” so chucked in the bikini modelling and has never looked back.

She has over 9 million followers on social media and she wants them all to know that the “perfection” we think we see on our screens is often heavily staged…and totally unrealistic or, at least, unsustainable.

Using herself as an example, Emily uploaded two very different looking shots taken just seconds apart to her Instagram account. In the photos, and her description, she highlights just how much difference a bit of flexing, a change in posture and some favourable lighting can make…and the way they look under these conditions is unlikely to be the way they look when they are just walking around in everyday life!

emilyskyeThe most important of ‘real’ fitspo messages, from Fitspo queen Emily Skye. (Image: Instagram)


In fact, not only does she not walk around looking ripped the entire time, she also wants you to know she – GASP – bloats!! Victim of a sensitive digestive system, Emily is prone to severe bloating when she eats something she knows she shouldn’t (though the great part about it is that she still eats it anyway!!). Instead of hiding it though, she regularly shares photos of her bloated tummy to again dispel any notion that her body is “perfect”.

“PERFECTION DOESN’T EXIST!!” She writes on her feed.

“No matter who it is, whether they’re a model, fitness expert, trainer, actress… whatever – nobody is perfect, it’s just that most people hide their flaws and “bad days” to the world. Sure, if you don’t like something and you can change it then do so, but don’t let your bloated belly, belly rolls, stretch marks, wobbly butt or anything else stop you from being confident in your own skin. So whether you’re going to go to the gym, the beach or out to dinner, wear whatever you want to wear and wear it with confidence. Be happy and be confident in who you are and embrace ALL of you – flaws and all! We’re all perfectly imperfect! 😉 …I’m off to have a treat…ice cream, chocolate, strawberries and nuts.. bring on the bloat! X Em.”




So, while we’re on bloating, let talk about rolls! Tummy rolls that is!!

Anna Victoria, a US based fitness coach and creator of the Fit Body Guides, is also ahead of the pack when it comes to showing her more than 1.1 million Instagram followers that all is not necessarily as it seems on the app.

The day before her wedding, Anna took a posed snap of herself in nothing but her underwear. As we’d all expect, she looked trim, toned and, well, terrific.

Alongside that however she uploaded a pic of herself taken a whole 2 minutes later, sitting down (in the same outfit but for a tiny pair of added shorts) in a normal relaxed position with a number of “belly rolls” proudly on display! It’s captioned “Sitting, relaxed – not every angle is your best angle and that’s ok”.

“We all have our good angles, and we all have our bad angles” she notes in her post. “If you focus on how bad you look in your bad angles, at least focus on how good you look in your good ones too!!”.

annavictorialarge Anna Victoria (Image: Instagram)


Fellow fitspo superstar Jen Widerstrom – who also just happens to be the newest coach on the US version of The Biggest Loser – couldn’t agree more and is also in on the act.

On her Instagram account she shares a side by side comparison of herself standing with a perfectly flat and toned stomach, with a shot taken (from a less flattering angle but just seconds later) of her sitting down and further confirming to us all that even the fittest of people can work up a stomach roll or two when they sit!!

While nervous about posting it because of her image as a fitness professional, she told Shape magazine she saw it as her “opportunity to ty to fight back” against the climate of perfectionism that currently dominates our social media accounts.


Jen Widerstrom (Image: Instagram)


“What we’re not doing,” she tells Shape “is embracing our own bodies. You need to embrace your shape and be the boss of [y]our own body…”

“I don’t know how exactly we got here, but dammit, I’m going to turn it around.”

Fighting words from the fighting fit!!


Catherine Burrows is a mom of 3 ‘spirited’ children, and the world’s worst (accidental) housewife. She has channelled her lifelong passion for writing into penning a “fairytale-free” blog designed to support women be women…with kids. Find her at…