The Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?] Featured

Authors: TheGreatFitnessExperiment

The Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?]

“Uggggh just ate about fifteen pieces of chocolate, gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modeling contract LOL :p ”

“So frustrated! My iPod died before I could finish my 40-mile run this morning! It’s hard to keep my pace in front of the pack without my tunes! Why can’t anyone make a decent battery?!”

“Little Betty just read me the entire contents of my tampon insert in the store! Agh it’s so embarrassing when your two-year-old reads at a college level and enunciates perfectly!

“ZOMG my hair is so sweaty and disgusting after a workout! I look like the bride of Frankenstein haha! What’s up with all the guys hitting on me every 5 seconds – can’t they see I’m gross?” on a picture of a totally hot girl, with ripped abs posing with her protein shake.

Meet the “humblebrag“: your new most hate-to-read post, tweet or picture. Defined by Urban Dictionary as “subtly letting others now about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or “woe is me” gloss.” this social media phenomenon appears everywhere people do but one group in particular seem to love it: Fitness Fanatics. After all, how else are we supposed to let the world know about our amazing weekend warrior exploits without looking like crazy narcissists?

The Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?]

From oversharing to underwhelming, sexting to sexy face, death threats to suicide threats – much has been made of the power of social media lately. I mean, you saw the kerfuffle when KitchenAid’s Twitter went rogue during the Presidential debate, right? No one cared that someone somewhere made a stupid joke at the expense of President Obama’s dead grandmother but more that that someone was tweeting under the KitchenAid handle. Bad tweets, posts and pictures are the real zombies of the Internet; you can kill them but they will never die and they’ll just keep coming back for you until you brain them with a frying pan… which you will then post on Instagram.

But what exactly constitutes a “bad” tweet, post or pic? Dead grandmas, obv. Bathroom functions. Probably anything about a moon landing conspiracy. And…? The list for what makes social media annoying is as long as Lindsay Lohan’s latest hair extensions and about as tangled. Parenting updates from potty training to real-time deliveries have been common targets of derision, a la STFU*, Parents, a site devoted to posting parent’s lamest status updates, pics and tweets for the rest of the Internet to pick apart. Us parents, so cuckoo for cutie puffs! But lately the attention – and ire – has been shifting towards the healthy living crowd. STFU, Fitness Freaks?

The Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?]

In case you are unfamiliar with the breed, they (we?) are the folks always posting about how sore they are, what workout classes they’ve done, what healthy dinner they’ve made, what race they’re training for, what race they’re running (in real time – there’s an app for that!), what race they’ve just completed and any picture involving sweaty cleavage/rock hard abs/muddy running shoes/inspirational sayings emblazoned over any of the above. And of course, the ubiquitous #humblebrag.

Some people find all that sweaty sharing to be inspirational (Sweet! If Ally can lose 80 pounds with diet and exercise then so can I!). Some find it kinda depressing (Sure it’s easy for you to workout every day, you don’t have to deal with 80 hour weeks, a soul-sucking commute and 6-course business dinners). Some think it’s boring and repetitive (Yay you ran another 2.3 miles in 17 minutes and felt “good”… and this is news why?). Yet others just want to chain them to the nearest CrossFit facility with the lock from their $5,000 tri bike and cover their smug face with their 100% organic cotton Whole Foods bag just so they never have to read another post tagged #proof.

The Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?]

But it’s not all bad news and braggarts. Social media has a lot to offer when it comes to living healthy: for every person who hides the “Map My Run” app on their wall, there’s another who loves feeling like they’re part of a great running community. Fitness newbies can be evangelical in their enthusiasm but that excitement can be just what a friend needs to encourage them to make healthy changes. Other people find that posting their fitness highs and lows provides them with much needed support, kudos and accountability. And where better to get ideas for fun workouts or healthy recipes than from your healthy living friends?

Finding the balance between annoying and amazing can be tricky. For myself, I don’t mind at all when people post about their food or workouts – as long as it’s just part of who they are. If every single Facebook update is a race report, I’m going to hide them before they can ask me to track their every mile in the next one. But if they share about their kids, pets, jobs, jokes and of course embarrassing moments then fitness is just one of their many facets of a beautiful life and I love it. Honesty is also a big plus for me. I like to see the wins and the losses – not so I can mock you but because it helps me realize that if you can have a bad workout and be okay then I can too. Then there’s also the fact that you can’t please everyone and trying to frame all of your tweets in the framework of not offending anyone, ever, will just make you nuts. And when it comes to what I post, I try to follow the same guidelines. (Although I know I don’t always succeed – I’m sure I’ve driven more than one of you batty with some of what I post! I’ve even been known to humblebrag. Oops.)

What about you? Is social media integral to your healthy living strategy? How? Or does it drive you nuts? Anyone have a good humblebrag to share?!

*STFU = shut the f*** up, in Internet parlance. You’re welcome.

The Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?]

Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2011. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying EverythingThe Humblebrag: Where Facebook and Fitness Collide [How do you mix social media and healthy living?] for more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!

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