Several weeks ago when I took the plunge and launched my own solo fitness blog into an already very saturated market, my biggest fear was not "how does my writing come across?" or "is that picture of me in a sports bra too revealing?" but predominantly "WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK OF ME BLOGGING?". And by 'people', I really mean friends, family and especially work colleagues, as opposed to internet strangers. Overcoming this personal insecurity, I had to really think about why I am blogging, and why in a world where we are encouraged to 'Just Do It', we are doing it but then stopping to take a photo, uploading it to social media and writing a post about it. Very spontaneous...
My main concern with putting myself out there was that so many people go to the gym several times a week, and they aren't all posting about it (or doing a #humblebrag as it's otherwise known). What if I am being judged as having such a high opinion of myself that I think my fitness journey (or forget the journey, more like my day to day mundane fitness activities) are worth reading about when lots of other people aren't documenting every mile of their weekend run. And in overcoming this, I've decided that actually I don't really care about this kind of judgment. My limited experience of blogging (I had a blog I shared with my friend for a year before The Larns came along) has been one of positivity and encouragement. You might find this surprising in a world where public shaming is commonplace and trolls are not those weird 90s toys but a whole breed of people who think it's acceptable to write disgusting and abusive comments to complete strangers online. But here's why:
I went through a period in my life where I felt like I was constantly ill, working stressful and long hours and eating badly. Reading about other people getting through challenging times by running and working out genuinely inspired me to get off my bum and make myself healthier and happier. It made me realise anyone can exercise, regardless of their careers and whether they were good at P.E. at school (those days are long gone and the labels shouldn't be allowed to linger - it's amazing how being picked last for netball can have an effect on you as an adult in your twenties). When I signed up for the unthinkable (a marathon), blogging my weekly progress and uploading the pictures I was taking along the way really excited me. Sharing these updates with my fundraising page allowed my colleagues to recognise I had something going on outside of the office which was important to me.
After consuming so much fitness related social media content and blogs, it seemed natural for me to start blogging so I could join in the conversation, share my experiences and dare I say it encourage as well as be inspired by others. And it's not just me - why are so many of us blogging whilst jogging? Until only the last couple of years, only qualified PTs and celebs were sharing workouts - their bodies seemed unattainable and their kit expensive. Having GPS and a camera on us at all times is a very recent phenomenon and there are a whole host of us pouring over run splits and searching for people doing the exact same thing. Now, anyone can upload a changing room selfie and give virtual high-fives (or likes) to real and online friends, opening up a new community of people that we have something in common with.
Yes Instagram has become a haven of rose tinted (literally) snapshots of our lives, but it's also a chance to share honest, real life experiences; when I dropped out of a marathon this year 18.5 miles in, I felt ready to blog about it before I was ready to talk about it. I also love to throw a mid-run red face/ post-workout sweaty selfie into the mix of filtered 'grams just to really keep it real.
Is there a correlation between my enjoyment of exercise now and my ability to log it? Maybe: it certainly gives me more motivation to keep moving. If it encourages more of us to be more active, does it matter?