The prob with Pinterest workouts

Back to the grind over here!

It’s always great to see these little pups again.Dogs  1 of 1 11

I enjoyed a morning workout (strength + Workout 4! oof.)

oh, and picked up some vegetables. It’s been a while.

Produce  1 of 1

Liv and I spent the morning running a couple of errands. We slept in and missed storytime, so we grabbed snacks at Whole Foods, hung out here at the house and she settled in for an early naptime. Naptime is blogging/work/chore time, but before I get started, I always have a snack + cup of coffee:

Snack  1 of 1

and browse around on Pinterest for 5 minutes. It’s my little “Zen” break before I get started on the to-do list. I love getting new ideas from Pinterest, especially when it comes to recipes and home decor, and by pinning outfits it almost makes me feel like I’m not wearing yoga pants and a wet bun. πŸ˜‰

As a fitness professional, I have to admit that some of the frequently-pinned workouts on Pinterest irk me.

“Do this workout everyday in the shower for a 6-pack!” (Please don’t slip doing those shower squats, mmm k?)

“These core moves will get rid of your muffin top!” (clean eating will make the most significant impact on leaning out… and the words “muffin top” make my heart cry)

“The 18,208,308,530 rep workout!” (Focusing on quantity over quality could lead to injury)

Plank  1 of 1 2

Some thoughts:

-The quick-fix mentality. Many of these frequently-pinned workouts suggest a quick fix to fitness woes, when in reality there’s no such thing. No one wants to see “Eat clean, do cardio, lift weights, sleep well, and drink a lot of water. Do this consistently for the rest of your life to get the best results!” It’s more appealing to see a pretty picture and think that the posted workout is a quick ticket to six-pack city.

-It’s inspiration. Ok, so maybe the workouts aren’t the safest bet, but hopefully those who are serious about making a lifestyle transformation will do more research on how they set up their routine. If not, at least maybe they’re getting the ball rolling towards a healthier lifestyle. Also, the shower workout may be the only activity they get in the entire day, so for that case, who am I to say that’s a bad thing? Any activity or encouragement to move is a GOOD thing.

-There’s usually a hot bod in the picture. Back to the motivational aspect. It could just be an extra way to gather inspiration for the physical results of achieving fitness goals.

Lack of form guidance. Even if you want to follow the workout, it can be tough to figure out proper form if you’re a beginner or unfamiliar with the movements.

-Some of it’s spam! I had NO idea about this one. I went to click on a couple of recipe pins and they were advertisements for non-related companies. Tricky stuff!

Have you found any tried and true things on Pinterest that you now love? 

What’s something you had to learn the hard way about fitness or a healthy lifestyle?

When I first started working out, I had no idea that there was no such thing as “spot training.” I worked my abs every day, hoping that it would make a huge impact, but nope. Changing my diet helped the most.

Interested your hear your thoughts! <3



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  1. Liz on February 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Gah, I 100% agree with most of the workout pins. I want to run up to people and shake their arms and say noooooo …. you can’t eat the triple mac and cheese with bacon, do a single ab move for your muffin top and expect a positive change … but I can’t :/ This ties in to the hardest lesson I learned, which I still struggle with, and that is portion control! Everything in moderation πŸ™‚

  2. Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely on February 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Man, if only we could find the one “fix-all” fitness move. We could be billionaires. People want instant results and, like you said, easy results. And that’s just not reality! I do find some good workouts on pinterest, but usually use them as a “jumping off” point, and the modify them to fit my needs.

  3. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on February 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I was guilty of believing “spot training” worked too. Some of the Pinterest workout photos can definitely be inspiring, but for me personally, they led me to have some negative body image. Yeah those muffin top ones that you were talking about? They got to me. I had to learn to take such images with a grain of salt, and just see them as inspiration, not necessarily a goal (since not every body will look the same!)
    My Pinterest is currently flooded with mostly food inspiration, but I do love finding some workouts on there still! I pin a ton of workouts from bloggers like you as well.

  4. Amber on February 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I agree 100%…but I did find Tone It Up on Pinterest. Its not all terrible, but I guess its just having the ability/knowledge to sift through the spam and and find what is legit πŸ™‚

  5. Lucy on February 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    One of my biggest peeves! Crunches alone will not get you abs. And I think the worst is the bullying/motivational posts like “Excuses are for the weak” or “to be stronger than all your friends” It’s about moderation people! Skip a workout if you want! Eat a cookie if your craving one! And stop comparing yourself to anyone, for better or worse! It just adds to all the self esteem issues.

  6. Kori Stephens on February 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    If you had to pick ONE, what would you say is the single best workout for inner thighs?? My legs are pretty ok, but I’m feeling bad about my inner thighs! lol I workout all the time, but I think they need a little extra help!

  7. Miranda @ Loving Every Mile on February 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I also think Pinterest can be dangerously close to becoming a site for girls to gain an inaccurate idea of what ‘fit’ is too. Those quotes that are placed over the top of a girl with an unrealistic body put off such an idealistic idea of the ‘perfect body’ which can be harmful to girls. Just my 2 cents πŸ™‚

  8. Amanda on February 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    A lot of the Pinterest workouts that I have pinned are from blogs that I know. I don’t have a gym membership so I like to look there for ideas knowing that nothing is going to work well if it is not combined with the proper eating, sleep, stress reduction, etc.

  9. Cassie Vaughn on February 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Like most things, I find a few pinterest pins helpful for exercise, but mostly I go back to my trusted sources. I do love it for clothes (trick myself out of shopping) and home decor too!
    And yes, clean eating, is what got me my most flat stomach.

  10. Anne @ on February 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes!
    Thank you for this post!

    I honestly cannot even stand to look at the workouts on Pinterest, I find it absolutely ridiculous!

    I prefer to pin any workouts I like on my own from outside websites.

  11. Danielle Volandt on February 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I like to check out the Pinterest workouts for new moves to keep my routine fresh! I also have found some “how-to do x with proper form” videos that are really helpful for those new exercises I try.

  12. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on February 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Interesting post! I think it all depends on who you follow on pinterest that determines what kind of workouts you see! Definitely if you look on the fitness boards you can find a lot of things that are unsafe. But I know from my own personal experience and choosing to follow only certain types of accounts, I only really see awesome workouts that inspire me to come up with my own!

  13. Deanna on February 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Most of my pins are for yoga poses I’d like to one day be able to get into. I definitely use it as inspiration. Sometimes I attempt to use it as cardio motivation, but that hasn’t worked out so well yet.

  14. Rachel C on February 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Someone might have already mentioned this, but I actually found the Fitnessista through Pinterest! I don’t remember the exact link, but I was so happy that I found it. πŸ™‚

    That being said, I will agree that most Pinterest workouts are ridiculous! Actually, most stuff on Pinterest are ridiculous. But it is one of my favorite time wasters.

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      aww, well that’s a good thing πŸ™‚ i’m happy you’re here!

  15. Julianna @ Julianna Bananna on February 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    totally agree about pinterest workouts! sometimes they can provide a lot of inspiration but most of the time, they frustrate me. i’m in training to become a certified group fitness instructor & personal trainer and now am really paying attention to workouts people post- a lot of the times they are unsafe! always have to check the source’s credentials.

  16. coffeeandjetplanes on February 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Going on a walk every day, and doing it outside. I know that’s kind of an old lady exercise, but I LOVE it. Usually it’s 3-5 miles (and I’ve learned to do it in the rain in the past year). It keeps me sane and it’s a been a good way to keep my base level of fitness at an acceptable level– I haven’t felt REALLY out of shape since I started this habit 7 years ago. (I broke my ankle a few years back, and I really missed my walks.) Also, like you, changing my diet made the biggest impact on my well-being. I heard from an acupuncturist once that “food is stronger medicine than drugs, you die without food, without drugs you just don’t feel great” (okay, not true 100% of the time, but you get what he’s saying).

  17. Lindsey on February 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I am so thankful for this post. I think pinterest borders on pro ana for some users because of posts like this. Burn x amount of calories, fat flush water, fitspo images. It can be a dangerous place for impressionable young minds.

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      i couldn’t agree more

  18. Traci on February 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I like pinterest workouts in theory, but I know that a lot of them are actually spam! And I don’t even look at the ones with gimmicks such as the examples you mentioned. But on the plus side, maybe the people who are drawn to those are getting motivated to exercise when they normally wouldn’t…?

  19. Kim on February 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I agree that a lot of the workouts are ridiculous but I also think that there are some really great workouts on Pinterest, too. I think that it is like everything else – you just have to know that there is no such thing as a quick fix.

  20. Kris on February 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I have so many workouts pinned it’s actually ridiculous. I weeded out some and started sorting them but still have a ways to go. There are a lot I know I can just deleted. I can’t remember the last time I’ve pinned a workout. I still do your stability ball circuit and have added some additional arm work with weights and leg work, particularly the thighs.

  21. Morgan on February 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Haha so happy a fitness professional finally commented on this! The 10 minute Victoria Secret one especially gets me. Unfortunately 10 minutes later you will not sprout angel wings.

    I have grabbed a few HIIT sequences or something to add as a exclamation point to a workout.

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      haha that one makes me laugh too. πŸ™‚

  22. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy on February 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I personally despise the pins of women who look like half super model/half fitness competition model with a large chest and chiseled abs with some quote about motivation. As if somehow, if I had her kind of motivation to eat celery and kale all day while doing kick boxing, weight lifting, and running I would have her body and love my life. Um, not quite. I’d likely be injured, miserable, and overeating from the deficit of calories. πŸ™‚

    I haven’t seen a spam pin that I recall, but it doesn’t surprise me!

  23. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on February 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I cringe every time I see someone pin a workout that says “do this and you will get fast results” or something along those lines. I wish people realized just to do what you truly love and eat clean and you will see results – there is no magic pill!

  24. Kate on February 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    One of my boards is solely dedicated to Fitnessista workouts that I love so they are easy to find at the gym! πŸ™‚

  25. Rachael on February 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you for this! My thoughts exactly. I only use Pinterest for workouts when looking for specific new exercises–like a new squat variation or way to use the BOSU. Some of those quick fix workouts are downright scary! I’m a firm believer that abs are made in the kitchen so these workouts that involve 500 crunches make me cringe. Not the mention the neck pain they must cause! Your routines are well routines and clearly thought out–hard to find in the Pinterest world! Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      thank you, lovely! i thought about you think weekend because i decided chickens are most definitely happening as soon as we move to SD πŸ™‚
      hope you’re doing well!

  26. Erin (Running Tall) on February 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    It’s like I wrote this post myself! This is exactly how I feel every time I see a workout pin with a super skinny model wearing underwear with an asinine “workout”. Pushes my buttons! Great tips Gina.

  27. Jen on February 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Great post! I always also cringe when I see a “workout” plan that is 30 days of the same exercise, every day, to get to an insane amount of reps by the end of the month. Usually it’s push ups or sit ups or squats. Crazy.

  28. Catalina @ Baby on Board on February 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    When I first joined Pinterest I became obsessed with those “Workout Pics” for inspiration purposes, but soon after I started feeling intimidated and having second thoughts about the safety of performing the exercises, I started asking myself WHO is posting them, is the person a professional? and after I clicked on a few of them and they were spam, I was done with following any workout routines from Pinterest.

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      most of them are written by people with zero fitness education or background

  29. Katie Mitchell on February 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I totally agree with this post. I would have to add that fitness magazines tell you the same lies. I am curious how you stuck to your diet changes. I have a sugar addiction I’d like to kick but I never get much farther than a couple of days without a treat of some kind. Any advice?

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      the thing that helped me the most was LETTING myself have the treats. when i would tell myself things were off limits, i just wanted it more. now that i eat pretty much everything, it’s much easier to eat clean most of the time. when i have a treat, i make it worth my while πŸ˜‰

  30. Kate @ Coffee with Kate on February 18, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I really agree! Don’t get me wrong, I freakin’ love mindlessly browsing Pinterest but it really sets you up for failure as it paints an idealistic and unrealistic world. Perfect houses with perfect people with perfect bodies and perfect food. Too much perfection! I definitely browse the Fitness and Health category but find it too much “FITSPO” and not enough “how-to” or informative articles.

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      totally agree. the fitspo stuff is bizarre

  31. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on February 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I do like browsing circuit workouts, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually used a workout I found on Pinterest, For me, I find they are more useful for motivation or new ideas to throw into my workouts.

    How about the pinterest tv show workouts! Hah. Seriously..if I’m going to finally sit down and watch the Bachelor, the last thing I want to do is start doing burpees during the commercial break!

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      haha! i want my juan pablo viewing sans distractions, thank you

  32. Priya on February 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    when i’m free(er), i am going to go back through and read all of these comments, but on another note, Gina, that is an AWESOME plank!one of the best forms i’ve seen of someone pictured holding it πŸ˜€

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      wow, thanks priya πŸ™‚

  33. Livi on February 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I definitely love Pinterest for the recipes, but I haven’t found a ton of workouts I like on there. They are definitely more towards the ‘quick fix’ end, and not a lasting plan!

  34. Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. on February 18, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I’ve never really seen anyone bring this up and you make such valid points!

    I find a lot of it annoying and repetitive. Sometimes the perfect bods in the pictures are motivating, but sometimes they can be discouraging too. Like, all I have to do is do this 5 minute workout once a day and I should look like a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model? Not the whole picture.

    And the ads are the worst! All over social media! I’m on to them now though so I know what to look out for πŸ™‚

  35. Julie on February 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

    I look it over and decide if I’ll repin it. Usually, I look to see who it’s from and if it looks feasible… not of that crazy 1000 rep ones.

  36. Rachel on February 19, 2014 at 1:18 am

    tuesday workout didn’t happen. #gradschoollife but i did walk ~2 miles to campus in 3 inches of sloppy, wet snow (engage allll the leg and core muscles) plus hiked up and down a few sets of stairs. We’re in the wee hours on the east coast, so I’ll be doing 15 min of yoga then crashing.

  37. Mila on February 19, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Yeah – I agree with what most people say here. Unrealistic!

    Pinterest is like reality tv – it’s ok to enjoy it as long as you appreciate the {fake} lens its being shown through.

    The ones in particular that make me cringe are anything with workouts/advice and then the words… “NO EXCUSES!” uggh! I cringe, Gina, I cringe! It’s a recipe for burnout and the exact opposite of listen to your body/know yourself, etc.

    • Ali on February 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      I agree – when I hear that, “Unless you puke, pass out, or die, keep going” crap, I just cringe.

  38. Runner Girl Eats on February 19, 2014 at 6:22 am

    I used to go pin crazy with workout pins. Then I did a few and realized “These are kind of a waste”. But I have found a few recipes and workouts on Pinterest that have become some of my favs…just have to sift through a few crap pins first πŸ™‚

  39. erin on February 19, 2014 at 6:41 am

    for me it’s been great for me to have a variety of workouts available to me. but I do try to make sure they’re linked to their blogs. that way it’s not spam. and it’s been helpful in finding workouts for at HOME! but this winter workout has been fantastic!

  40. Caitlin on February 19, 2014 at 6:56 am

    You just inspired me to look back on my own Pinterest board and give it a second thought! I was happy that most of my pins where (for me) motivation to stay on track and maybe mix up moves so I’m not doing the same thing over and over. But I can definitely see where Pinterest can be a dangerous start for beginners. I think it all comes back to being smart about what you see and REALLY researching what’s from credited sources vs some random website.

  41. Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye on February 19, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I’ve found a few examples of WOD’s that I pin and use when I need some new ideas. But I admit that normally the pictures get me, haha. It’s more of an “I wish I looked like that” so I’ll pin it and hopefully it’ll motivate me.

  42. Evita on February 19, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Great post! With a little less time on my hands these days I often feel guilty for not getting a workout in…but you’ve help remind me how much clean eating is important! Thanks again.

  43. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on February 19, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more about those pins! I roll my eyes every time I see one. It’s all about the quick-fix mentality, instead of putting in hard work over a long time to get real results. Plus, it’s the long-term that makes it a habit and will make it stick. I always wonder where they originate from and who the heck decided to mislead people!

  44. She Rocks Fitness on February 19, 2014 at 8:23 am

    OMG there is a shower workout??? Seriously??? I agree with you on a lot of your points about the Pinterest workouts. I also think that some of them are really aggressive and a little over the top (meaning ridiculous amount of reps, burpees, etc.) I would also rather see the person who created the workout use their own photo of themselves, rather than some model.

  45. Hayley@healthyregardshayley on February 19, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I think its the pictures that really get to me on pinterest. The women with the 8 pack abs touting this ab workout, or girls in underwear for a booty workout. I think EVERYTHING needs to be taken with a grain of salt and realize that you can post anything you want on pinterest, it doesn’t mean its right.

  46. Deanna on February 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I mostly use Pinterest for home decorating ideas…although even that can lead to a lot of envy! πŸ™‚

  47. Paula on February 19, 2014 at 8:43 am

    You hit the nail on the head here. “Fitspo” and “thinspo” have become dirty words to me. While my board definitely has some workouts that have the words “thigh gap” in them, I typically pin them for the exercises and not because I think they’re magically going to make my narrow-hipped, muscular-legged self have a space between her thighs. The key to being able to exercise effectively on your own is getting some proper instruction up front, whether it be from classes or just asking gym staff to correct your form. And don’t get me started on all the “quick weight loss” tips on there…

  48. Sarah on February 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Fitness activity for the day (Reebok giveaway):
    Weather has been so nice (70’s finally!!!), that I went for a run yesterday with the jogging stroller, and then did WSU cardio while my baby napped. Feels SO good to be outside. Thank you for WSU – it lifted my spirits when I was confined to the house because of the snowy weather, so thanks for that πŸ˜‰

  49. Ali on February 19, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Such a good post. I really hate those pins. I also hate that the majority are not put together by fitness professionals. You can get so seriously injured! I have to be super careful when looking at sites like Pintrest because I have a past of an eating disorder and I really don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole when I’m finally surfacing again.

  50. Alex @ Kenzie Life on February 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I’m not big on Pinterest workouts or Self’s Workouts or Shape’s or any bloggers’ Honestly, the only ones I’ve done are yours! Pure Barre continues to be my main form of fitness and I like that they plan out what I need to do and I just go, listen, and shake. I’m also taking a class on the psychology and neuroscience of exercise and it’s really fascinating to learn about all the actual, valid scientific studies they have done to show that lifestyle activity (i.e. walking to work, riding your bike, gardening, vacuuming, playing with your kids, taking the stairs, etc.) provides many of the same benefits as exercise. But, if you want a certain body type or something like flat abs, then lifestyle activity probably won’t cut it. I spent too many years being obsessed with quick fixes and dangerous diets and now that I’m in recovery from my eating disorder, I have a much more balanced approach to food and fitness because I realize it’s a long-term process not a short-term fix.

    By the way, I adore these tips! I can’t wait for your book! <3

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