Monday, August 15, 2016

Fitness Posts and Narcisism

Last week I shared an article about a Science Daily article ( discussed a study that concluded that "Facebook status updates about their romantic partner are more likely to have low self-esteem, while those who brag about diets, exercise, and accomplishments are typically narcissists, according to new research."  Many people shared the post and there was a lot of discussion.  Some humor.  Some hurt feelings.  

I should in the interest of full disclosure state that I have never posted any workout related Facebook material.

Me being Awesome at the top of Pinnacle Peak

OK, I have.  But I really don't think the takeaway from the article was: if you post fitness selfies you ARE a narcissist.

Me being Awesome dragging my sled
I think the point that can be taken is that we should ask ourselves what our motivation is for sharing things on social media.  I do know several people that have told me my running posts have inspired them to start running.  That warms my heart.  I've also had several people confess that they un-followed me (or un-friended me) because it was just "look at me running" and "look at this awesome place I ran at" and "look at how awesome I am."  Although I'm not that sure what they are talking about.

Not just being Awesome but looking Awesome at the comrades finish
Over time I have started to think about my motive for my posts, and from time to time check back on my wall and ask "Is there too much me?"  Sometimes I fall short.  Sometimes I look back and say "wow....that's way too much you."  Other times I successfully try to find a way to motivate or inspire people without making it about me.

All the stuff between these hands is Awesome! (sorry Aaron)
I guess other signs that we might be a little too into ourselves are: posting every split, posting every workout, making sure we have the best selfie angle (i.e. if you apply makeup and get into a yoga pose you might be making it about you) posting every meal, posting 50 hashtags, etc.  Do we post about bad runs?  Do we post pictures when we fail?  I know many of us would rather be caught dead than have an embarrassing picture of ourselves show up on Facebook, but it happens. (Just not to me).

My Awesome shirt!
We should also address the "don't judge me" crowd.  We need to come to grips with the fact that EVERYTHING we put on Facebook is, to some extent, a cry for judgment.  I know we don't want to admit it, but each time someone "likes" our post they are judging it (favorably).  We need to come to grips with the fact that when someone posts something negative about us, they are also judging us, just negatively. (Not that this has ever happened to me).

Gordy agrees.  I'm Awesome.  #NotReally

So if you post your 5 mile run and you are more than happy to have 100 people "like" it and 25 people call you "beast mode" you should also be willing to accept the person that says "5 miles isn't that far" or "is this really something that needs to be on Facebook."  You can't say "Don't judge me, unless you think I'm Awesome!  *Note: Race Directors....this applies to you too.  If you are fine with being blown by 100's of satisfied runners you can't bitch about those runners that want to post about their disappointments too.

I think it would be a mistake to simply say "this article is dumb" or "I'm not a narcissist!!"  Instead, I think it gives us some food for thought about our relationship with social media.  No, I'm not saying over-think it.  No, I'm not saying change what you do per se.  But I think we could all learn a lot by looking into our behaviour, especially on social media, asking ourselves why we do what we do and making sure that we are being honest with yourselves and the Facebookland.  This is especially so as more and more of our life begins to be lived virtually.  

Next up for me, crewing and pacing at the Leadville as part of training for the Bear100 while trying to pump out a healthy dose of podcasts.  :)


  1. Technology will continue to change the world in subtle and drastic ways. I plan to keep my brain on.
    Man I love that shirt.

  2. Good points. I have been running for about five years and I'm sure there are those who hate my posts about it. Initially I did post too many "I ran 3 miles today under 30 minutes for the first time!" kinds of posts, which frankly are pretty boring.

    However, now I try to post about things I'd talk about with friends and acquaintances IRL, which includes my running, but not stats as much as humorous stories or anecdotes that are relate-able to those who don't run.

    *I don't often post about work due to respecting the privacy of others, and I'm friends with my co-workers. :)

    P.S. I like the shirt, too!

  3. Wow - Gordon Ainsleigh - what a cunt!

    P.S. I love the shirt

  4. love the podcast #wayawesome #TJM #peanuts #sarcasm