The One Big Problem with Popular Instagram Fitness Trainers

June 6th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

The fitness world and social media appear to be a match made in heaven. But pull back the curtain and you'll find that the high profile personal trainers behind the Instagram fitness revolution aren't always what they seem.


When it comes to the app's best-known trainers — some of whom tout hundreds of thousands (even millions) of followers — take their advice with a grain of salt, Business Insider reports.

"That's my only problem on social media — most of the trainers are personalities," Anna Kaiser, a celebrity trainer, told Business Insider. "They're not educated in fitness, and you don't actually get to interact with any of the people. They're just going off of pictures and videos, and [you] could end up hurting yourself for years with injuries that will affect you for years down the road."


A photo posted by Anna Kaiser (@theannakaiser) on

Personal trainers can be really expensive, and free fitness advice on Instagram seems abundant, but just because someone on the app claims to hold the key to a slim waist — whether that's a workout routine or diet trend — that doesn't mean you should readily take it. Without training and education, false fitness prophets can lead Instagram users down a path marked by injuries and wasted time, Kaiser says.

For better or worse, Instagram models are inspiring people to get in shape.

Just look at Kayla Itsines, deemed "Instagram's biggest fitness star" by The New York Times, and her 5.1 million followers.


The Australian trainer has faced criticism over her "Bikini Body Guide" program — which involves nonstop squats, burpees, and pushups for 28 minutes each day — because some believe that the plan is "too unhealthy or too drastic" to be effective, New York Magazine reports.

And, as the Daily Beast reported in April, there are hundreds of thousands Instagram posts using the hashtag#WaistTraining, which advocate for the potentially dangerous tactic of wearing a corset while working out.

So, why do these un-vetted Instagram celebrities gain huge followings, while highly trained professionals lag behind? As Kaiser tells Business Insider, it basically comes down that age old saying: sex sells.

"Social media is getting more people interested in fitness, but it’s also not fitness," Kaiser told Business Insider. "It's frustrating to see how important a social media following is in the world of fitness and business because people who have bikini shots and, you know, sexy pictures of themselves have a lot more followers on social media than someone who’s trying to really do it well and maintain integrity."

[h/t Business Insider]

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