February 5, 2016In LifestyleBy Sean Lerwill9 Minutes

Last week I saw the very knowledgeable Andy McKenzie put something on his Instagram about being selfish to be happy. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of that post, other than to say in general I agree. The bits and pieces I have utilised from NLP and my own personal experience teaches me that we all have a basic hierarchy of needs; if those aren’t met, you’ll likely be unhappy and that will affect those around you. Be a little selfish (without being an arsehole) and you’ll be a happier person. This in turn will likely make you a nicer person to be around and thus make those around you happier. Trying to be constantly selfless in a bid to make everyone around you happy, thinking this selflessness will make you happy, can only be maintained so long. It’s very hard to hide your true feelings to those that you live/spend time with and if deep down you are resentful and unhappy, even if subconsciously, people do feel it.

Another post that resonated with me last week was from an old friend (I was once his boss at The Third Space!), the just as knowledgeable Phil Learney. He simply put a picture on Instagram and Facebook of the following words:

“You only live once. So make sure you spend 15 hours on the Internet desperately seeking validation from strangers.”

This hits the nail on the head. Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there putting good info on social media and having intelligent, knowledgeable conversations. Or those not looking for validation, they simply want to promote their business with good, free advice. However, there are also a lot of people putting up Photoshopped images of (for many) PED produced physiques for nothing more than comments and likes to fuel their ego. The bottom line is, we all have psychological problems. We all have our hang ups. We deal with them in different ways. I wasn’t a confident kid. Despite doing well at exams and well in sports, I was not confident around woman. What did I do? I joined a gym at 13, decided I wanted to be a soldier and trained for that. Wind on 10 years and I was a Royal Marines Commando with a Green Beret and could crack 20 long arm pull-ups without breaking a sweat. Confidence gained.

I am not going to judge anyone for why they need to do x, y or z to gain confidence. If someone needs to take PEDs, work hard to gain thousands of followers on social networks and then sit there counting their likes and that makes them feel good. So what? Is it really that bad in the grand scheme of world issues? The question is, whether and how that person is affecting you? Are you someone who looks at someone else’s account and it makes you feel good? Do you gain knowledge and information from it? Does it inspire you? If so, it’s a positive influence. Or at least it isn’t negative.

The problem arises when someone you are looking at or following on social media elicits the opposite effect. Does seeing someone else’s pictures (with little to no information to aid or help you – or in fact just trying to sell you something you likely don’t need) frustrate you? Do the pictures and posts make you feel inferior? Maybe even jealous? If they do then do you really need to be looking? Like any relationship, it’s hard to change the other person, but it’s easy to change your view or your actions. Unfollow if you can’t find a positive in what you are looking at!

In my opinion, the fitness industry might be on the verge of a change. It may be small and take a bit of time, but I think (and ironically this is with the help of social media) that people are now becoming aware of the bullsh!t that some people working within the fitness industry spout on social media. LDNMuscle alluded to supplement companies using PED fuelled “natural” bodybuilders to sell supplements as false advertising over the last week or so. Let’s see if this catches on and there is a change that forced some of the more prevalent liars within the industry to be honest. Twitter accounts like “FitnessIndustryXpose” continue to make light of some of the rubbish that is being spouted in the industry, along with YouTube channels like Vegan Gainz using “outing” of obvious steroid users masquerading as natural bodybuilders to fuel his own beliefs. At least both are opening people’s eyes to what should be made fun of. We don’t need to be nasty – again, we all have psychological problems and the people using social media to make themselves feel important likely have far more than others. Hopefully, the worm will turn. Even if very slowly. Let’s see.

What I will say is that to be aware of some of the hypocrisy in the fitness industry on social media, YOU have to be following. And this goes back to my point above; how does it make you feel when you look at their posts? Does it inspire you or infuriate you? If it’s the latter, STOP wasting your time. Time is the ONLY finite resource you get in your life. Why waste it? About a year ago now I went through my social networks and unfollowed, unliked (whatever the terms are) all the people who I felt I didn’t need to waste my time on. For one reason or another, what they were producing wasn’t what I wanted to have thrust in front of me. My choice. Not only did this mean I wasn’t becoming angry looking at some of the cr*p that finds its way out there, it also meant I wasn’t becoming uninspired in my training looking at people who claim to gain this amount of muscle from this, that and the other training while still eating this and that. Even though I knew this was likely to be bullshit, was it still affecting me psychologically? Possibly. Did I need that kind of negativity in my life? No. Did I have the choice to remove it? Yes. And I did. And so can you.

In conclusion, pick your social networks wisely. Or more importantly, who you follow wisely. Don’t follow or read things that don’t supply you with real useful information. Granted for some, seeing a picture of the physique or figure they want daily may help them. Fine. But watch that after 6-12months of training and not seeing yourself move close enough to it, that it doesn’t become a negative image. Remember, you have the power to look at and read what you want. Don’t follow the crowd just because someone is sponsored by this or that, or won this physique competition or that. Look for people with credible qualifications who give you real, good quality useful information.