Instagram can be a phenomenal resource for health and fitness inspiration at times. It can also, however, be tinged with toxic, underhandedly negative messaging. Essentially, it’s crucial to understand that a lot of the pictures and posts we see on the popular social media platform can be easily peppered up to show “ideal” results.
Which is exactly why it’s so ~dayum~ refreshing to see fitness stars show side-by-side snapshots that unearth the reality of posed photos.
You’ve probably seen “relaxed vs. posed” pics before and didn’t even realize it. Basically, these are candid side-by-side shots taken moments apart that reveal how good angles, proper lighting and the right posture (and lack of a food baby) can seriously misconstrue the nature of a photo. And it’s ahhh-mazing to see these posts gain popularity. Because not only are they truthful, but they also promote what really matters here: not a Photoshop-perfect body, but a happy *and* healthy body, no matter the shape or size!
These are just a few of our favorite fitness Instagrammers who’ve shared some seriously dramatic relaxed vs. posed selfies. And let’s make one thing clear: each and every one of these ladies looks gorgeous in *both* posed and relaxed posture!
REAL TALK: the photo on the left is staged as hell. I was told where to put my legs, how to angle my arm, which way to tilt my hips and even how to hold my fingers. My eyes were watering from the false lashes and my hair will probably never look like that again. THESE ARE THE TYPE OF IMAGES WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO EVERYDAY! A posed, polished, perfectly lit snapshot of the highlight reel. Except this photoshoot was different, because after all the typically 'flattering' lingerie posing, @curvykate asked me to go home and recreate the pictures make-up free, hair undone and relaxed. Because behind-the-scenes deserves to be celebrated too! Our bodies are glorious from every angle. Posed or unposed. Polished or not. And we sure as hell don't need to compare ourselves to anybody's highlight reel, after all, the model in the magazine doesn't even look like the model in the magazine most of the time. You can see more about this photoshoot on @curvykate's blog, the link is in my bio! ✨ Left photo by @alisonvwebster with make-up by @sharlottejacks
A post shared by Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodyposipanda) on Mar 21, 2017 at 1:25pm PDT
Posed vs relaxed THIS IS NOT A BEFORE AND AFTER This is me simply showing that the bodies you see in the media are not representative of ALL women of that size. Growing up I thought I was defective. I thought I was the only thin body that had rolls, bumpy legs, stretch marks and cellulite. Because the images I saw of girls my size where all perfectly smooth. Not a blemish to be found. I nearly killed myself trying to get that body. To be what I thought beautiful was. Until I started to ask the question "why do I think any of this is a bad thing?!" I found people who wanted to know the same thing... "why are ANY of these things bad? Why do we need to change? Why aren't we beautiful now?!" So I started body positivity for me. I started because I wanted know the answers to why I had hated myself. I started because I wanted there to be something out there to show people that it's ok to be thin and bumpy. I started because I started to realise I wasn't defective. And I never wanted anyone to ever feel the way I did. I started because I wanted to help. Posed vs relaxed pictures help me to do that. They help me to see that it's ok to wear tight leggings and it's ok to let what you've got hang out! It's all ok! And no matter what size you are, all bodies are different! #positivebeatsperfect
A post shared by Connie🦄Positive.beats.perfect (@my_life_without_ana) on Mar 4, 2017 at 10:54am PST
Same girl, same day, same time. Not a before and after. Not a weight loss transformation. Not a diet company promotion. I am comfortable with my body in both. Neither is more or less worthy. Neither makes me more or less of a human being. Neither invites degrading comments and neither invites sleezy words. We are so blinded to what a real unposed body looks like and blinded to what beauty is that people would find me less attractive within a 5 second pose switch! How insanely ridiculous is that!? I love taking these, it helps my mind so much with body dysmorphia and helps me rationalise my negative thoughts. Don't compare, just live for you. There is no one on this planet who's like you and that's pretty damn amazing don't ya think. The world doesn't need another copy, it needs you. We are worthy, valid and powerful beyond measure (If you don't pull your tights up as high as possible are you really human?)
A post shared by Milly Smith ☀️ (@selfloveclubb) on Jan 29, 2017 at 10:45am PST
Me 1% of the time vs. 99% of the time. And I love both photos equally. Good or bad angles don't change your worth ❤️ I recently came across an article talking about how one woman stated she refuses to accept her flaws, because she doesn't see them as flaws at all. I LOVED that because it sends such a powerful message that our belly rolls, cellulite, stretch marks are nothing to apologize for, to be ashamed of, or to be obsessed with getting rid of! As I'm getting older, I have cellulite and stretch marks that aren't going away, and I welcome them. They represent a life fully lived (for 28 years so far :)) and a healthy life and body at that. How can I be mad at my body for perfectly normal "flaws"? This body is strong, can run miles, can lift and squat and push and pull weight around, and it's happy not just because of how it looks, but because of how it feels. So when you approach your journey, I want you to remember these things: I will not punish my body I will fuel it I will challenge it AND I will love it If you're following my page, you're a part of helping me spread this message and creating this movement - thank you. #fbggirls www.annavictoria.com/guides
A post shared by Anna Victoria (@annavictoria) on Jan 16, 2017 at 3:12pm PST
New blog post up debunking some fitness myths that have been annoying me recently (link in bio). Number 1 is how easy it is to fake a fitness selfie! These two photos were taken 3 minutes apart but could be mistaken for a 'before & after' shot. Don't trust everything you see... #fitfam #fitspo #fitness #fitbride #fitasfuck #selfie #transformation #fitnessblogger #ukfitblogs #personaltrainer #abs #muscles #strength #girlswholift #strongnotskinny #quads #thick #blogging #fitology
A post shared by Sophie Kay (@fitology_uk) on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:25am PDT
Instagram vs reality I just wanted to show that the photo on the right its just me, being unapologetically and naturally me! These photos were taken a while back when I was in Finland in Feb, on the right I'm relaxing my tummy and I hadn't shaved my pits because it was winter, so what's the point of shaving cause nobody would see my armpit hair anyway? And on the left is me flexing and covering my armpit hair, pretending it didn't exist I'm guilty of editing out armpit hair in old photos or not posting certain photos because my armpit hair or other body hair is showing in them! Why did I edit them out? Because I didn't want people to comment something like ew she didn't shave lol, gross. But you know what? Fuck it, I don't shave majority of the time, I usually just wear jeans or shirts that cover my armpit hair because most of the time I'm too lazy to shave and I have freakishly sensitive skin, so I get rashes and stuff whenever I do wax or shave. The reason why I'm so triggered by this is because I was stalking @gracefituk and there was one photo of her just being the beautiful majestic being she is and guess what? People commented on her leg hair that was showing in the photo. (Which you could barely see, these people had to zoom in the photo to see that) and it just pissed me off so much. Who has the right to tell another person to shave? I'm sorry but most of those comments started due to people who don't shave their armpits, so why do they have any right to tell someone to do that when they don't? It's 2017. NOBODY NEEDS TO SHAVE THEIR BODY HAIR IF THEY DONT WANT TO!! Nobody should feel ashamed of being bloated or having tummy rolls, cellulite, stretch marks or anything! These are perfectly natural things that happen to people sometimes. You are beautiful with or without these things. I just can't stand people putting down others for natural, normal things. we shouldn't live our lives to please other people. Live life for you and do what makes you feel happy and comfortable. Sorry for the long rant, I just felt the need to write about this! Anyway, I hope you all have an absolutely lovely day ☀️
A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on Mar 9, 2017 at 3:50am PST
✖️✖️Perfectly Imperfect✖️✖️ This was definitely not the photo I intended to share. I realize Instagram is mostly a highlight reel and we share our very best photos but I want to be as real and transparent as I can with all of you beauties and show the 'imperfect' along with the highlights. Guys, I've had 3 beautiful babies.. that's 3 giant pregnancies.. along with 3 chances of stretch marks.. This body has been through a whole lot of changes! For that reason I will never judge someone else for their body. I don't know their story or what they've been through or the true strength that is within them. Imperfections make you real, approachable, human and one of a kind ❤️ #perfectlyimperfect #30secondtransformation
A post shared by M a g g i e (@jaeatleta) on Sep 15, 2016 at 8:45am PDT
In a world without comparison, our ability to love ourselves would have nothing to do with size. In a world where we didn’t have a frame of reference for judging one body against the other, size would have absolutely no bearing on how we measure worth, success, value, happiness or beauty. In a world where proportional differences couldn’t be detected by human eyes, the concept of size would be entirely meaningless to the way we evaluate ourselves. There would be no wrong way to have a body, because categories for differentiation would dissolve. There would be no sized-based privilege, no phobias against fat, because there would be no framework through which to look at two bodies and immediately determine which is more “deserving” of power and respect. Bodies couldn’t appraised. The exquisiteness of bodies – all bodies – every single body on this earth – couldn’t be questioned. . I know this isn’t the world we live in now, but I sure as hell hope this is close to what heaven could be.
A post shared by @becomingbodypositive on Mar 12, 2017 at 11:20am PDT
TRANSFORMATION TUESDAY: a 3 second edition On the left: I am standing neutrally, as I would in a coffee line up. ☕️ (☝️My belly is a tad bit shy before lunch, meaning it would have been more dramatized if I destroyed some guacamole and rice prior to taking this photo🤣) On the right: I am in full flex “beast mode” haha! Welcome to transforming physiques within seconds, aka the world of social media! This used to bug me at first, especially when I started admiring the body of fitness icons in the early stages of my recovery. I only wished someone could have told me the effects angles, photoshop, physique-enhancing supplements, surgery, etc. played a role in the pictures I admired. I set my goals on something I could not achieve, and for that I was disappointed. With time though, I was able to outgrow these modelled beliefs of what “Fitness” looks like, and I started embracing the progress of my personal growth. Being a part of the fitness influencing community and knowing the effects distortions had on me is my main incentive to sharing these pictures with you. I love BOTH of these picturesThey both are a part of me, they both contain my worth and self love in equal amounts, and they both remind me of all that I am grateful for! On the left, I am reminded that I have gained healthy weight. That I am well fed and well nourished. That I am on limbs that can bare my body tall. That I can stand in line at a coffee shop without pain or concern. On the right, I am reminded of my physique accomplishments from where I once was (63 lbs) to now. I am reminded about my passions for weight training, and how I learned to push weights, rather than weight push me. I am reminded of my love for nutrition, and how I utilized this love to promote positive results in my mindfulness, fitness, and overall happiness. I am reminded of my brother, who showed me beauty in strength. In both pictures, I am reminded of my inner strength that is held within no boundaries or physical form. Remember to love and embrace your body for all that it is, period. #TransformationTuesday #FightForGrowth #AlwaysBeMoreThanABody
A post shared by Sarah Ramadan (@fightforgrowth) on Mar 28, 2017 at 4:14pm PDT
If I only ever posted the left would you ever think I could look like the right? The truth is we all have vulnerabilities, our so called "flaws." If you only ever show your perfect moments, your perfect posing leading to your perfect pictures you aren't really showing that you too, are normal.
A post shared by victoriadariano (@victoriadariano) on Mar 16, 2017 at 11:11am PDT
Thanks for being so real with us, ladies! Your message is SO important.