Gym culture is now encouraging eating disorders and body dysmorphia

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Natalie Richmiller

Gym culture has started to become more toxic especially on social media

Natalie Richmiller, Photo Manager

There is an entire community on social media that promotes healthy living and working out. Creators post their meals, workouts and physiques. While it is valuable that creators are promoting a healthy lifestyle, there are many dangerous consequences for themselves and their audiences. 

In gym culture, cutting and bulking are common practices. Bulking entails a calorie surplus in order to gain weight and muscle while still actively going to the gym. Cutting is the opposite end of the spectrum where BLANK goes into a calorie deficit in order to lose weight and see their progress. 

While these are effective techniques to see results, it is also a form of disordered eating. The rapid weight changes and obsessive dieting are unhealthy methods of bodybuilding. This behavior can also fester an actual eating disorder outside of the gym. 

In order to bulk, binge eating is common because it allows for weight to be gained very quickly. On the other hand, when the cutting process begins, some resort to anorexic and/or bulimic tendencies to be able to see the gym figure they had been working towards. 

Within the gym culture, it can be difficult to see the toll these tactics have on the body. Not only does the gym take a toll on physical health, but it can be mentally burdening too. There are very few influencers who post the reality of the pressure they face.  Many creators have recently shared that they have developed or have struggled with an eating disorder due to their dedication to the gym. 

Consequently, their videos can be damaging for their audience, too. Viewers only see short clips and what the influencer shares, so they are missing out on what goes on behind the scenes. This can be a gateway to unrealistic body expectations and goals. Many videos set unrealistic body standards that can lead to insecurity and body dysphoria. 

Not only that, but gym content also promotes unrealistic body transformations. Influencers post videos promising to “lose 10 pounds in a week” or “get a tiny waist fast” when it is almost physically impossible to see results that quickly; it is also unhealthy to lose weight that rapidly. These captions cause many to feel as though they need to change their bodies and then feel disappointed when it does not happen right away. Some may resort to excessive dieting in order to lose the weight they thought they would before. 

The rise of gym culture has put pressure on viewers to exercise and diet for the wrong reasons. It has also normalized obsessions with working out and weight. In reality, everyone’s body is different, and working out should be for physical and mental well-being rather than a way to change one’s appearance drastically.