The Toxicity of Fitness Influencers
April 14, 2023
Laura Lee

With the advent of social media, the world has experienced a surge in the influence and availability of online personalities. The areas of expertise have also expanded with time and experience, from the beauty community to gamers to fitness influencers, almost every niche in the market has been dominated by online social media influencers. Almost all of these influencers use their social media platforms, followed by a generally young and impressionable audience, to give advice. It should always be considered whether the advice is correct and coming from a credible source or not because misguided advice concerning health and fitness can have devastating consequences.

Getty Images/DigitalVision/Thomas Barwick

Secondly, it can also be argued that fitness influencers are promoting unrealistic and toxic beauty standards and body types, promoting eating disorders and body dysmorphia by enforcing that such a lean, fit, and muscular body can be achieved simply by diet and exercise, which makes the impressionable audience believe that if they do not look like their social media celebrities, the they are not working hard enough and they need to eat less and work out more. Most influencers do not expose the dark underbelly of cosmetic surgery and photoshop.

A lot of influencers engage in product promotion of their sponsors and make it look like this sole product is the reason they look so good. What the audience often does not consider is that the company is paying these social media personalities with a decent enough following and relevant content to promote their product. So, not only does the audience waste their money on something that does not yield the results they were promised, but they may also harm their health by using something for nutrition like supplements and protein shakes which do not have any beneficial properties in unhealthy amounts. Most of the influencers act like experts on nutrition and exercise, misleading the audience into believing their every word at the expense of their health. It is one thing to simply track your progress but it is completely different to share your expertise on something you are no expert in.

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