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How to tell if you're a fitness a-hole

Something strange happens when people get stronger, lose fat, gain muscle, or set a new record number of reps in their zip code for kipping pull-ups. Which is sometimes the same number as the zip code.

What I’m referring to is the tendency to grab a figurative megaphone and announce to everybody, all day every day, the details of new fitness and/or nutrition endeavors in the most annoying ways possible.

I’m all for social support and people being excited about progress. But there’s a right way and a wrong way, and I have an overwhelming desire to make fun of the wrong way, so here we go.

1. Mirror selfies

These are not having the effect you think they are, unless you post them rarely.

Nobody can tell the tiny amount of progress you’ve made since the last pic two days ago. Dial it down. Take weekly progress pics for yourself if it helps, and store them with notes on diet and exercise changes to help you improve your strategy.

Then once a month, show the world. At this point, the world will be more likely to care.

And at the very least, get somebody else to take a pic occasionally so it doesn't look like you're a friendless narcissist. I can’t emphasize this point enough. Even just download a free timer app like Gorilla Cam on your phone and step back. The fact that your extended arm grasping an iPhone is missing from the shot will make it exponentially more tolerable, even if you look like shit.

But if you do look great and you’re proud of that rockin body, get a professional photo shoot done. You can often find photography students at colleges in your area that need subjects to shoot at no cost to you.

Those pictures are unique and fun to see, impress your audience, and have a larger impact than daily shots of you and your disgusting bathroom.

A notable exception; people that work in the fitness industry that actually increase the profitability of their businesses by showing people they do indeed look great.

However, this still needs to come with a balance of great information, or you still just end up looking self-centered. Your marketing ultimately has to be about your customers, obviously. Motivate, and demonstrate you walk the walk, but don't drown them in mirror selfies.

2. Negative motivation

“Just got done training my ass off and eating a meal that hit my macros within .001 grams in the middle of a 17 hour workday. Its a lifestyle, what’s your excuse?”

This behavior only motivates people that are already in shape, while de-motivating people trying to get there, and makes you look like an asshole.

Its like putting a religious or political bumper sticker on your car, it reinforces current beliefs even if they are in opposition to yours.

For more information on the behavior psychology of why this approach backfires, read either, or both, of David McRaney’s awesome books.

3. Self-centered social media posts

This is the written version of a selfie.