Instagram exercises is not going to be a part of my ‘health journey’


My good friend, whom I always relied on to meet for coffee with chocolate and caramel, recently started running and made me follow suit. If it was someone else, I’d probably shake it off and think, “Good for you,” but she inspired me to wonder if she can, maybe I can too.

Instead of jumping right in, I’ve added a level of academic research into her routine – where she runs, what she eats beforehand, and most importantly, what she wears. Perhaps there is an element of “clothing for the level of fitness you want, not the level of fitness you are”.

I copied her order on a discount sportswear website and spent the equivalent of a weekly grocery budget on the same pair of must-have leggings. They’re high-waisted, sweat-wicking, bang-building, squat-proof and even have a pocket for your cell phone. If this isn’t the item of clothing that fully equips me for pounding the sidewalks, I don’t know what it is.

It’s like I feel the need to copy them exactly in order to achieve the same success.

Then it dawned on me. Even though I’m generally someone who eschews social media, I’ve still succumbed to the IRL (influencer culture) (in real life). I bought products in the hope that they would give me the same determination and ultimately the same results that my friend got. And my capitalist shaped brain took me straight to an online checkout to accomplish that goal.

Bad genius

Unfortunately, I may just be another victim of capitalism’s evil genius and internalized the consumerism that I was trying to avoid. The realization made me guilty, but at the same time I need the right clothes if I want to do a good run, don’t I?

My willingness to part with cash in order to part with attributable inspiration made me think brands may be missing out on a trick by hiring ex-Love Island contestants – often photographed in deserted parking lots in neutral-toned loungewear with a Mini -Louis Vuitton bag – making unreachable lifestyles promoting their merchandise.

I hit play on the app and the dark tones of an American-sounding robot told me to run or lightly jog for five minutes to warm up

Sure, in theory, people would love to copy the kombucha-drinking tendency of the average poolside influencer, but for the more cynical average Josephine, we’re far more likely to spend money to emulate someone we can relate to. Is that calling Jeff Bezos? I think I cracked e-commerce.

My friend also introduced me to another domain that I didn’t want to enter – the Instagram training class. The particular class she recommended was boxing, hosted by a popular Dublin fitness influencer. I found the video and was greeted by a sun-kissed young woman wearing six packs and drinking a green liquid.

Feeling panic

It wasn’t long before the preamble when I had the same panic feeling I always have when I go to the gym, and in my head I hear the imaginary thoughts of seasoned athletes: “You don’t belong here! Go back to the library, pie face! “It was incredible to experience this overwhelming onslaught of self-inflicted inadequacies from the comfort of your home. Suffice it to say, Instagram workouts won’t be an integral part of my fitness journey.

The first day I found the courage to take a run, things didn’t go exactly according to plan. I was ready with a playlist and a couch-to-5K app to coach myself through my headphones. I went to a secluded path for some privacy while amusing myself at the incompatibility of Cardi B tapping my ear as the smell of sheep permeated the air. I firmly believe that the genius of explicit female rap cannot really be appreciated until after 2am in a nightclub or when you force your body to run, even when you are in no obvious danger.

I hit play on the app and the dark tones of an American-sounding robot told me to run or lightly jog for five minutes to warm up. I thought full of energy that I wouldn’t mind. Next, the robot man told me to run for a minute. It took me about 20 seconds before I started seeing spots. My stomach buckled. I persisted and followed the app’s instructions as much as I could, but it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.

However, it sparked a determination in me that I never want to be this difficult again, which means I have to keep going. Hopefully my multipurpose leggings will improve the experience; After the first day, I’ll take all the help I can get.