I took a week’s worth of gym selfies and here’s what I learned

Art by Ina Jacobe

A day browsing social media isn’t complete without encountering gym selfies. You know, those pictures that scream “I’m working out!” as loud as your guilt does for not working out. As inspiring as these posts are, some people find them irrelevant to their personal lives. While it doesn’t affect me directly, these might be helpful for those who do it in the first place.

Out of curiosity, I decided to give it a try, thinking “What will happen if I post one gym selfie everyday for a week?” I’m not going to lie; I dreaded doing this. I have always thought of myself as the type of girl who’d only post about her travels, and never of her journey to a healthier lifestyle. But here we are.

I was on a family trip to Tagaytay when I took my first photo. I had the perfect opportunity to run uphill and reward myself with a panoramic view of the Taal volcano. Right after I uploaded my sweatiest post-run selfie on Twitter, I got scared and deleted it. I was afraid of what people would say because I wasn’t exactly the healthiest and fittest of girls. I couldn’t find it in me to post just my face — at least not at that moment. So Plan B was put in order: instead, I decided to post a selfie in front of a beautiful background.

The post got some attention, but after a while it hit me: why was I so conscious of my looks even when I was already posting a photo using my account? Maybe it stems from society’s varying standards of beauty. After all, those who usually upload post-workout selfies are fitter than average. This experiment started to reveal more about myself than the social media habits of my friends. I expected them to diss me for feeling myself too much (or *gasp* being GGSS). Instead, my photos were only welcomed with a couple of thumbs up and likes. I brushed off my fear, and told myself that the following days would be better. Spoiler alert: it was.

On my fourth day of posting selfies, I received a message from a high school acquaintance asking me about my workout routine. She told me how much she enjoys following my adventures and workouts. She made me realize that people can either love or hate what you post, but you have total control over how you react to them. My fear of what other people would say came from my insecurity. I felt like I was beyond taking gym selfies. But the thing is, I’m not.

Posting gym selfies isn’t an irrelevant practice. It’s just a form of expression by people who enjoyed working out. It’s their way of showing who they are, the same way posting about travel is mine. Neither is better than the other. Being able to post my own photo was freeing. It helped me break away from expectations I gave myself and the limitations I thought others would impose on me. At the end of the day, it’s your social media account, and it’s entirely up to you to fill it with the stories that you want to share. Just because you aren’t doing it doesn’t mean it’s worth judging.

Tags:
#health

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