Youtube fitness content, how it kept me more motivated to keep exercising.

I’ve had multiple subscriptions to multiple gyms, but after a few months I just had no motivation to continue going. I was either too busy or too tired, which were really just excuses to really make the effort of going to the gym. After the last gym I went to opened again after lockdown, there were barely any spots left to reserve and I kind of felt self-conscious and awkward in the gyms. So to escape the so called ‘gymtimidation’, I decided to try out Youtube workouts.

Popularity over the years

Following workouts at home is nothing new. Since the 1980s there were workout tapes on cassettes to watch at home and in later years there were DVDs and TV shows about working out. ‘Nederland in beweging!’ is still broadcasted every morning from Monday through Friday as we speak.

So I tumbled down the Fitness Youtubers rabbit hole and I stuck to a few creators like Chloe Ting, Lucy Wyndham-Read and Blogilates. Workout and exercise videos are a bit hit on Youtube, there are more than 30 million fitness videos on Youtube. And the thing is, it actually motivated me to keep exercising. Different videos meant different exercises to keep it varied and I didn’t really have to think too much about which exercises I was going to do. All within the privacy of my own room.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Selling a lie?

The success of these fitness Youtubers has been partly credited to the fact that most of the time, it isn’t just a exercise routine you’re watching. In what can be argued as a form of parasocial relationship, people look up to fitness Youtubers. Some of these Youtubers are also vloggers or have other content besides fitness.

The fact that fitness Youtubers give advice during their videos has been one of the things they have been criticized for. Chloe Ting for example, who considered leaving the platform after dealing with fellow creators and companies criticizing her for ‘promoting a dangerous lifestyle’ and an ‘unattainable body’. While that may be a little over the top, there is a point in the clickbait titles that many Youtubers use like ‘Get abs in 2 weeks!’. These videos will most likely bring some results for people that are dieting with a calorie deficit, but it is a little misleading in my opinion. Most of the fitness influencers do put disclaimers on their videos, but they aren’t always obvious. I found that this video from Justine Ercole sums it up quite well.

Like with other versions of influencers, there has also been some criticism about the marketing deals fitness Youtubers are promoting. Especially promoting workout supplements or diet pills. Michelle Lewin was criticized for promoting ‘extremely dangerous’ weigh loss pills that would still allow you to indulge in food.

So there are good and bad sides to this industry, but I personally am not so invested in the people behind the workout videos that I have felt deceived about titles or was tempted to buy supplements. I am happy for the fact that there is a large and steady supply of workout videos for me to try. Have you successfully completed workout videos and what do you think of fitness Youtubers?