Long Read: I spent seven weeks posting as a Fitspo blogger and seriously questioned my existence.
Fitness inspiration or, fitspo, as it is more commonly referred to, is a recent social media phenomenon (Duca 2013). Fitspo’s inception rose to prominence after social media platform, Instagram, placed a ban on hash tags (the mechanism used to categorise a post), which encouraged eating disorders amongst users (Reynolds 2016). It is uncertain whether the fitspo trend began in response to Instagram’s bans, or if more simply, this hashtag increased in popularity as more users gravitated towards it – as a result of to the ban. Despite its origins, psychologists aren’t completely sold on the belief that fitspo is a representation of health (Reynolds 2016).
I first came across fitspo hashtags four years ago while self-documenting (and quantifying) my own weight loss, through calorie counting apps and posting progress photos on my personal Instagram account. Since those initial posts four years I’ve noticed an increasing amount of health focused content on Instagram. From health promotion Instagram feeds, teenagers monetising their accounts, to dieting bloggers and the increase in body awareness, a whole new culture of online fitness has emerged.