Dara Duff-Bergeron: Sweaty Mummy


Instagram For Fitness

Because Even Kale Looks Yummy With Filters

OK, I actually really like kale. If I didn't, though, I could easily be convinced to give it a second try with all the food and fitness bloggers who are making kale, chick peas, brussels sprouts and other nutritional wallflowers look positively delicious on Instagram. In the same way Instagram's filters make your selfies look as if you've slept 14 hours a night since the 90s, the Instagram app paints everything from burgers to... well, vegan burgers (sorry, vegans) in a very yummy light. 

A couple of my recent Instagrams are included in this post and you can follow me on Instagram to see more of my diet and follow me through my days (you have to download the app for Android or iPhone to participate). It's a fun diversion and a novel way to follow your friends in an almost exclusively positive, pretty, and upbeat way! But it's more than that. What websites like SparkPeople, Livestrong and other online fitness communities strive for, Instagram seems to have organically cultured: a genuine community of supportive healthy livers sharing their workouts, meals, goals and even their digressions (or "cheats" if you like that term, which I don't...)

Some of the "fitspo" that is out on the interweb these days is nothing but thinly-veiled anti-fat—or worse, pro-anorexia - propaganda. You can usually spot those accounts on tumblr, twitter or instagram pretty quickly—negative self-talk is your tip off. But there are some great trainers and regular peeps using Instagram to stay ontrack and motivate themselves, and others in the process.

You can share:

  • pictures of your meals and snacks
  • pictures of foods/recipes you love or intend to try
  • motivational quotes
  • images of people who inspire you (athletes, celebs, trainers or just your kid doing a push up!)
  • shots of your post-workout self or your pedometer, watch, etc. detailing your accomplishments
  • pictures of your body as it changes in a healthy way (um, clothed, of course...)
  • landscapes and oddities you notice out on your walks, runs, or rides

Trainers and coaches often suggest to our clients that they commit verbally to their goals: to us, their loved ones and even their co-workers or anyone they might regularly share personal information with. When you share your goal, you make yourself accountable to all the people who you share with and knowing they expect you to be good to your word (whether it's a goal of running your first half-marathon, losing the baby weight or just walking three times per week) can motivate you to stick to your guns. After all, you'll never have to answer, "No, I didn't walk this week" to yourself, but having to say it to your best friend might get you out of bed 20 minutes earlier in the morning to lace up and hit the road. Sharing your highs and lows on Instagram can be just with the people you actually know, or you can embrace the community of health and fitness freaks and let them help to hold you accountable. Post a shot of your healthy breakfast, get a few likes and maybe a new follower... instant gratification. Way more instant than that long-term goal you might be shooting for.

Even if you don't have a fitness goal, Instagram is a great, positive sharing forum that's full of creativity and good vibes. I didn't get on Instagram for business, or to promote myself as a fitness professional. I actually got into it socially, like most of us, but I've realized the marketing potential of Instagram as more and more of my clients—mommies with iPhones who want to share pics of their little ones—get on board. Aside from that, I find Instagram extremely useful as a virtual network of the fitness community. I am linked to Toronto fitness pros, as well as trainers and nutritionists from far and wide. It's like a staff meeting. If you work for yourself, as I do, you know how much you miss having those coworkers around to gel with and feed off of... Instagram gives me that when I can't be with my Belly Bootcamp trainers. If you're a WAHM or a self-employed Yummy Mummy in a field that has even a vague visual component (designers and photographers are prolific on Instagram but lots of other industries can use visual marketing too), Instagram can be a great tool for expression, sharing of ideas and getting feedback. 

If you join, come find me! I instagram as @bellybootcamp and I'd love to see your healthy meals and workout photos!

And I was in no way encouraged by the creators of Instagram to write this post. Although I think they should pay me now, in case any of you knows them personally....  :)