"Look at my dinner! Look at it!"
Amanda had chicken and rice for dinner. You also know what she had for breakfast, lunch, and snacks... like the Lucky Charms she ate before bed because they fit her macros.
How do you know this?
Because she updates you through social media every frickin' meal, sometimes rapid-firing one picture after another so you don't miss a single detail of what she puts in her mouth.
Then there's Todd.
Todd did abs today: Leg raises, roll-outs, planks, and cable crunches. Then did a selfie-session from every angle to show you how hard he's "killing it" in the gym.
How do you know this?
Because he documents every workout, plus every locker room photo shoot, plus the pre and post-workout car-selfies, and posts them all. Every day. Sometimes all at once.
Do you know any "Amandas" or "Todds?"
The Top Fitness Trends
The biggest diet trend isn't a diet. The biggest workout trend isn't a workout.
It's social media. It's showing the world what you're eating and how hard you're training. It's how we now document our fitness: Publicly.
It's on every social media platform: the food pics, progress pics, workout pics, selfies, ab selfies, butt selfies, torn callus selfies etc. Then there's the onslaught of "Facebook Fan Pages" people have created for themselves, and their status updates about going #BeastMode on #LegDay and #KillingIt at the gym.
Is this a bad thing?
Not really. I make fitness-related posts. I've taken selfies. I even took a belfie... and then stuck it in an article.
So What's The Problem?
The problem is that you can become dependent on recognition.
When fitness is more about impressing people than the pursuit of a healthy, powerful body, when your life revolves around recognition, and when you're motivated by it instead of the effort needed to even deserve it, that becomes an issue.
Getting "likes," "favorites," and "followers" won't make you love the discipline of eating well and working out. It'll only reinforce your need for more attention and pats on the back.
Motivation comes and goes. It's flimsy that way. And it becomes flimsier when it requires constant recognition and input from other people.
Needing recognition sucks. Not the recognition itself, but the inability to be happy and work hard without it. And it goes way beyond social media. That neediness sucks in real life too.
The Marathoner Who Never Ran
A woman I worked with in broadcasting decided she was going to prepare for a marathon. We all congratulated her on the decision, and you could tell she loved the feeling of being praised because she made sure everyone in the office knew about it.
But several weeks passed, and pretty soon she was telling us how she was going to become a painter and sell her art.
She never ran a race, nor did she ever sell the unfinished painting that was set up on the easel in her living room. She continued to have aspirations and make temporary improvements but none of them stuck for long.
Her efforts were less about personal achievement, and more about what other people thought of her achievements, even though they hadn't happened.
She lived through the eyes of other people – secondhand – never finding gratification in the work itself, but in the attention she got for it. Being admired was all she needed.
Ever catch yourself thinking the same way, doing things just for the reactions you'll get from other people – whether it's wanting to be envied or admired?
Maybe we've all been guilty of that. But it's risky with diet and exercise.
If your goal is less about the effort and more about the attention, then you won't continue doing the work. You won't master healthy eating, or weight training, or marathon running, or anything that requires a little balls and effort.
Recognition will only get you so far. Eating right and training hard for the rest of your life won't be easy to sustain if you don't inherently enjoy it.
Do The Opposite
Some say you need to tell everyone your goals in order to follow through with them. But for the most part, sharing your ambitions doesn't prove anything except maybe a need to be patted on the back.
The best way to make long term progress? Figure out what kind of person you want to be and why you haven't gotten there yet.
Immerse yourself in the work it'll take, create habits, find pleasure in doing it without accolades, and slowly become a person who's capable of achieving what you're after.
Do you want to be the kind of guy who knows how to cook and eat for leanness? Or the kind of lifter who knows how to make progress on her own in the gym?
Whatever the case, love the effort. Love sucking at times. Love finding answers. Love the idea that you still have a lot of progress to make. Love knowing you have the potential to make it. And once in a while, love keeping some of this process a secret.
Prove (to yourself) that your goals have nothing to do with what other people think, and everything to do with who you want to become.
Solidify your commitment by developing skill before you broadcast it. And maybe even rethink the broadcasting it part, unless you have useful, or at least entertaining, stuff to share. (Hint: No one gives a crap that you ate chicken and rice again for dinner. We've seen chicken and rice before. Really.)
If you succeed, people will notice. If you make major progress, people will ask about it. That's great. But let recognition be the cool side effect of your hard work, not your reason for it.
See for yourself – healthy eating and exercise do exist even when they're not in a selfie, a tweet, or a status update. And goals can be achieved even when they're not publicized.
"Killing it" doesn't require an audience, bro.