It's not exactly breaking news that Instagram can feel like a fantasyland where every selfie is filtered to perfection. Still, it can be helpful to stop and remind yourself how easy it is for people to manipulate their appearance, especially when they're showing off what might be an unattainable physical ideal.
In a recent post, fitness model, trainer, and bodybuilder Joss Mooney drove that point home with a "one-second transformation" photo showing exactly how easy it is to go from lean to shredded without the aid of much more than a deep breath, a flex, and a few clicks. Posing shirtless in a side-by-side comparison of himself, Mooney already looks more ripped than the vast majority of men in the "before" photo—sporting a muscular physique, visible six-pack abs, and a V-shaped torso.
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So while it's clear that Mooney is already in unquestionably in good shape, it's the second photo that takes things to the next level. His abs, for one thing, are noticeably more chiseled, and his Adonis belt far more pronounced. As he confesses in the caption, there's at least a little bit of hocus-pocus going on to help achieve all that extra definition.
"There is literally 1 second between these pics, but the fact of the matter is I actually look like the pic of the left majority of the day," he wrote. "So the message I want to give is, try not to compare yourself to social media. As walking about with 'rock hard abs' all day, isn’t a thing. No one on the planet does that."
In other words, as Mooney puts it, it's important to remember that Instagram is a curated experience where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. It's fine to look to others for inspiration and motivation, provided the standard isn't literally impossible.
"Don’t compare yourself to anyone because you’re on your own journey," he says. "You’ll never be anyone else, so get comfortable in your own skin."
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