The Pinterest Problem: When insta-motivation is more pressure than positive

Whether Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook is your preferred poison, or a cocktail of the lot, social media is a massive force in our lives.  I’m a big fan of it, and I can find it incredibly motivating when I see images and quotes of hard work, compassion and inspiration.  Not to mention that some are hilarious.

However, there are a couple of quotes that I always see floating around that whilst I’m sure are well intentioned, I think are utter rubbish and potentially do more harm than good.

Whilst some things can be really motivating to get your arse in gear, others just cause guilt if you don’t adhere to the message which is more often than note accompanied by more six packs than all of Sainsbury’s and glutes that make Nicki Minaj’s look deflated.

I’ve decided to dedicate a quick post to bursting the bubble on my least favourite social media-motivational phrases.  Remember that whatever it is being used for, an app on your phone should just be a bit of fun, the real world exists away from it and you can do so much better than being made to feel rubbish by a meme creator and a filter.

If these are the quotes and posts that motivate you to be your best then that is totally fine too, but I thought I would pipe up on behalf of people who feel pushed out by potentially over the top ‘motivation’.

  1. The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do


This is undoubtedly the worst.  It actually makes me angry when I see it.

The only bad workout is not the one that you didn’t do, but is the one that injures you.  The bad workout is the one you do knowing that you’re physically and mentally fatigued; insufficiently fuelled and hydrated; and short of time for other commitments in your life.  The bad workout is the one you scheduled for Friday on a Tuesday, and stick to going to when you’re tired or would do better to socialise and chill with your friends.

Whilst I set myself programmes and targets for what I want to achieve on each workout or run, I do try my best to listen to my body so that I don’t train within myself if I know I can give more, or over do things if I’m fatigued or feeling unwell.

I appreciate the positive message surrounding that disheartening feeling of a ‘bad workout’, but that feeling partly comes from the pressure of quotes like this.  Listen to your body and you won’t go wrong.

  1. Never miss a Monday


Whilst I think the point of sticking to a routine and a habit is a great one, the idea that Monday has to be starting point is ridiculous.  I think the idea that you should never miss a Monday is wrong because if you worked out hard over the weekend as I often end up doing, then pushing yourself to have a strong workout on a Monday means you get fatigued and lose motivation early into the week.

I also think it puts pressure on people to be their best healthy self on a Monday when the reality of coming back to work and saying goodbye to the weekend means that most people already have their plate full without loading it up with a detox meal and a HIIT workout.

Finally, I think it sets the precedent that if you do miss a Monday you have somehow failed, and there is no point in trying until the following Monday.

  1. Abs are made in the kitchen

So is food.


4. Any negative or disparaging quote about January Joiners

What gym were you born in?  Exactly.


Yes the gym being packed is annoying, and yes it is more likely to be busy in January than in December.  However, it’s also more likely to be busy on a Monday than on a Friday.  It’s more likely to be busy after work than before work.  Being someone who goes to the gym according to when it’s busy is a matter of scheduling rather than superiority.

Gym floors being busy is annoying regardless of the time or month, and remember how nervous you were during your first workout.  Nobody likes a snob and we all have to start somewhere.





3 thoughts on “The Pinterest Problem: When insta-motivation is more pressure than positive

  1. Excellent post, it’s reassuring to be reminded that exercise is for everyone, not just supernatural instagram workout machines! These meme posts make me feel that exercise is elitist and intimidating so it’s nice to hear a counter view. X

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