Ah, the fitness blogger. That ever growing generation of “experts” telling you what you should eat for breakfast, what exercise is best for your bottom and convincing you that the (obligatory hashtag) “flex bowl” is the latest fashion accessory. Some really know their training onions, while others make up for a lack of experience and research with a DSLR and a free trial of Photoshop. Seemingly anyone with the time and inclination can be a fitness blogger. The question is, should it be so easy? Is it right for someone without any fitness qualifications to be sharing their training programmes and advising impressionable readers on nutrition?
To answer this, let’s go back to basics. There’s one thing that distinguishes a blog from all other forms of writing – authenticity.
In a world where cleverly constructed marketing messages pervade our subconscious, we as intelligent consumers crave the truth – we want real life commentary and feedback from people who are having similar experiences to us, or who have been there first – and are passionate enough to share their tips, tricks, opinions and feelings on paper. In the fitness community in particular, this type of collaboration inspires and motivates us. If a blog were to be restricted by content regulation or qualification requirements, its authenticity may suffer, to be replaced with a much less heartfelt style of writing, void of emotional connection.
I believe it is a blogger’s prerogative and moreover, duty, to write from a perspective that is true to them. And if this means sharing their current training programme, or the nutritional habits that work for them, then that’s a beautiful thing. I’m not denying that there are pitfalls to this “fitness free for all”.
The lack of regulation in the blogosphere means misinformation will always exist, just as it does in every aspect of life.
There will be bad bloggers, there will be those who write for the wrong reasons, there will be those who mislead and misguide. But for every one of them, there will be a whole host of others, getting it right – understanding the need for authenticity and a sense of social responsibility, caveating shared nutrition or training plans by reminding readers that there is no “one size fits all” approach to nutrition and emphasising the importance of mastering exercise technique first.
They may not have a doctorate in biomechanics or a masters in sports nutrition. They may not write the best training programmes and they will probably still be learning the basics as they go. But what they do have is real life, real time experience. They know how to communicate their passion to their audience. And for a blogger, this is the best qualification of all.