Debunking Pinterest Fitness B.S.

Sometimes if I’m in need of a good laugh or something to raise my spirits, I’ll hop on to Pinterest and go straight to the “fitness” category. Sure there are some great, quality, informative posts on there, but the majority of the posts under the “fitness” category are straight up b.s. At first I laugh at how absurd some of these infographics are, but then I realize that people actually believe this stuff. I mean we’re talking about these “Get a Flat Stomach in One Week” pins having tens of thousands of repins. That’s insane.

Ever come across Pinterest fitness articles and don't know how to separate fact from fiction? Look no further!

Pinterest is a wonderful tool, and in fact I use it all the time if I’m looking for a circuit workout to do or if I’m just trying to switch things up. But, just like a lot of things on the Internet, the facts just aren’t there for some of the articles. I’m going to highlight some of the ridiculous fitness pins I’ve found on Pinterest over the past few weeks/months because we all need a good laugh now and again.

Let’s attack that muffin top…

via Pinterest

What’s wrong:
This is just straight up not going to work. First off, you will not reduce your muffin top by doing ab exercises. This is based on the false principle that you can spot reduce fat. Fun fact: you can’t.

What should be done instead:
Focus on overall diet and exercise. I’m going to blow your mind right now, but you do not have to do an absurd amount of cardio or any cardio at all to lose fat. Sure cardio is going to help you speed up that fat loss and allow you to eat more in the process, but it’s not needed if you don’t want to do it. Clean up your diet, drop the sodas and empty-calorie beverages, add in more veggies, and get your butt off the couch or out of the chair and do something active.

Here, let’s eat nothing so we lose weight…

via Pinterest

What’s wrong:
This whole “7 day challenge” type posts that severely restrict what you can eat is not promoting anything healthy. It’s promoting basically starving yourself to attain the teeny tiny waist that the models are showcasing. I see this as a potential starting point for eating disorders and young girls developing an unhealthy relationship with food.

What should be done instead:
No “7 day challenge” will get you to that level of leanness. Those girls in the picture are at a super low, stage ready level of body fat. It’s not sustainable, and it’s not really healthy in the long run. The amount of dieting and cardio needed to attain that is insane. Instead of restricting all of those yummy things (hello bread, sweets, pasta), just eat them in moderation. Focus on consuming enough protein with every meal and try to include fruits and/or veggies in every meal. Then, once you’ve got those two accounted for, add in some carbs a.k.a. bread, rice, potatoes.

Fitness is sometimes looked at as a short journey that takes a month or so and then once you’re there, you’re done. But what fitness really is is finding a balance in your own life between nutrition and exercise and making that sustainable. I mean what’s the point in doing all these extreme things to only be back where you started in about a year. Sustainability is everything, and sustainability is different for everyone.

Butts are all the rage…

via Pinterest

What’s wrong:
This falls into the same category as the muffin top example. The transformation they’re showing in the drawing is someone who has significantly reduced their body fat % as opposed to actually doing the workouts shown.

What should be done instead:
Now I’m not going to lie, those exercises are going to help you get a butt, but first you have to reduce the body fat % in order to see the shape of your butt come alive. While these exercises will help with glute development, they’re probably not the best.

If you truly want to work on growing your glutes, here are a few exercises I suggest:

Robin Gallant has an amazing glute workout backed by science. Check it out!

Flabby arms? Say goodbye to those…

via Pinterest

What’s wrong:
This is buying into the idea that you can once again spot-reduce fat. You can’t. I mean if you pull at my arm like that, my arm still looks like that picture so yeah. Just because you can pull the skin and subcutaneous fat away from the muscle does not mean you have flabby arms…

What should be done instead:
I do love all of the exercises provided in this infographic. While the title may be suggesting that you can just reduce your flabby arms by doing these eight exercises, the actual exercises are quality. I even have some of these in my tried and true arm workout. I also really like how these are actual free weight exercises which is encouraging women to get into the weight room. That’s not only building confidence in women, but it’s also helping whoever does this exercise infographic develop muscle which is in turn going to help burn more fat. What you eat combined with weight training will get you the results you’re looking for.

And of course no one wants a double chin…

Are y’all ready for this? I saved the best for last.

via Pinterest

I’m sorry but I just have nothing to say about this because it’s just so ridiculous and funny.

In summary…

Here’s why these pins aren’t worth your time:

  1. Spot reducing fat is not a thing
  2. Seeing your abs is based on body fat % not how much you work them
  3. It’s all about what you eat
  4. Magical things don’t happen in a week
  5. Sustainability, sustainability, sustainability
  6. Find what works for YOU

Y’all, you are not going to get a flat stomach in a week just by doing ab exercises, you’re not going to have flab-free arms by doing arm circles for a week, and you’re seriously not going to get a bubble butt by doing some squats and lunges for a week. True change comes from consistency, hard work, and time.

If you have any questions about nutrition, developing workouts, finding a workout plan that works for you, etc, please shoot me an email at hello@livingthegraylife.com! I would love to help you 🙂

~abigail gray

  • Oh my gosh I have never seen anything for a double chin before. That’s crazy! And just to support your listed exercises for a good butt, I did glute kickbacks two days ago and I’m still sore.

    • Glute kickbacks give me life. I love doing them as a finisher for my leg days. Try them right after doing heavy hip thrusts and you be hating me throughout the whole thing HAHA

  • I think it is so important to be honest when it comes to fitness! I’m glad that a lot of fitness influencers on Instagram, and other social platforms, are coming forward to say that being healthy requires a balance between indulging in treats all the time and depriving yourself. It is important to be honest about what is actually possible and healthy in terms of fitness and time!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

    • I TOTALLY agree with this. It’s easy to want to look like the magazine covers and the Instagram models, but in reality, no one looks like that 24/7 all year.

  • Mindtomusclefitness

    Great stuff Abigail!

    -Marcus