For personal trainers, it goes a step further: Instagram’s like an interactive business card—a tempting taste of what working out with them could look like. Thinking about transitioning from a feed fan to a real-life client? Don’t forget you’re seeing them through a (Mayfair, Rise, or Valencia?) filter—plus these five other points.
Pictures speak louder than words, and a fitness-packed Instagram feed can be a powerful motivator for getting to the gym.
They Might Have Zero Training
Anyone can build a fitstagram following, but a good eye and some enviable muscle definition don’t always equal knowledge or experience. “The term ‘trainer’ isn’t regulated by a government agency, so anyone can claim to be one,” says sports psychologist Sari Shepphird, Ph.D. “Make sure they are certified by an accredited agency, otherwise you’re risking injury and a lack of results.” Check out their website, and if it’s unclear what kind of certification they have (or if they’re certified at all), ask them straight-up before you book a session.
You Could Wind Up In Their Feed
Camera shy? “If their business is substantially influenced by social media, you can expect that your video or picture is going to be taken, so go in with that knowledge,” says Shepphird. If the thought of doing squats on camera makes you cringe, make that clear ahead of time or have the trainer sign an agreement that you won’t turn into feed fodder.
Watch Out For Paid Promotions
If a trainer has built up a strong presence on the ‘gram, odds are he or she’s also been hit up by a few advertisers to promote products for freebies or cash. Tread with caution if they push a certain line of supplements or other gear—it might not be the best fit for you.
Eye Candy Isn’t Everything
There’s nothing wrong with working out with a goal of toning up certain body parts in mind—we’ll admit we follow a few hunky trainers for reasons other than their, uh, smoothie recipes. That said, “I’d be concerned if the sole focus of their feed is promoting weight loss or dropping sizes and doesn’t address overall health and nutrition,” says Shepphird. Pick a trainer who offers more motivation than a daily shot of their six-pack. (We get it—you like crunches and don’t drink beer.)
They’re Hamming It Up
Remember how there’s a million photos on your phone that didn’t make it to Instagram? You’re seeing these fitness pros in the best possible light (literally) at their absolute strongest. So just because your trainer posts pics of herself crushing barbells, bending into twisty acrobatic moves, and lacing up for another 18-miler, it doesn’t mean it’s your job is to keep up. “Don’t let them push you past the point that is right for your body,” says Shepphird.