There has been a lot of controversy recently about fitness inspiration, or #fitspo. Specifically, over the meme-like posters that are created and shared via social media sites and apps like Instagram and Pinterest to inspire and motivate you into going to the gym or eating better.
While the intention may be good, some are finding #fitspo offensive and even problematic, arguing that what they really inspire is self-hatred.
One clever Buzzfeed writer recently edited several fitspiration posters that she felt needed to be more kind.
Due to the prevalence of these controversial posters as well as other, less healthy hashtags like #thinspo (thin-inspiration) and #anamia (anorexia/bulemia), the most popular social platforms have had to update their user publishing policies to discourage users from promoting self-harm. Here's a review of how they're doing. (In case you're short on time: Not very well.)
In an article for Psychology Today, Ray Williams, author of several books on success, said "Some proponents of affirmations claim that, when practiced deliberately and regularly, they reinforce a chemical pathway in the brain, making the connection between two neurons stronger, and therefore more likely to conduct the same message again."
But, body acceptance guru, Jess Weiner, doesn't think this type of motivation is the key to self-love. In an article for Glamour.com, she said, "I needed to go deeper than the mantras and speeches. To truly love my body, I had to treat it better."
So, while inspirational mantras and affirmations can mean a more positive outlook for some, others (who may be less experienced or motivated by positive reinforcement rather than negative), disagree.
Alicia Menendez sat down with Instagram super stars, known for their fitness tips and killer physiques, Massy Arias (@MankoFit) and Lita Lewis (@FollowTheLita) to find out what motivates them and how they feel about this social media trend.