Why People Update Workout Pictures On Social Media: The Real Reason

(This is in reply to article on Business Insider.)

You see a lot of workout posts on social media. From a bicep flex to a back pose post squats, there is at least one update every day.

pablo-2“Seriously! Another?” is what you think every time you come across such posts. Show-off’, ‘boastful’, ‘attention seeker’ are some of the tags you associate to these people. Those annoying little emojis with the cheesy motivational captions.

Well, what if I told you that there is actual logic and reason to why people do this.

And we’re not talking acceptance or encouragement but actual psychological studies that give these reasons.

“What do you bench?”

The feeling of having inspired and motivated someone on to a better and healthy lifestyle is one of a kind.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we feel the need to make people get off their butts and make something of themselves. Posting updates of their workout, they feel, is one such way of getting others to get healthy and active.


Glory calls

“I’ll start this Monday.”

Sound familiar? We’ve all said this exact line at least 10 times already. That Monday never comes and moreover, it doesn’t exist.

There are three types of people. Those who plan and sleep anyway. The ones who start off strong and break off after a week. And those few who actually achieve what they had initially planned. Very rarely do you see the third type. The society has deemed will, discipline and determination to be a myth.

To have proven this ideology wrong, is a Glory in itself. And there is nothing wrong or insensible in claiming the much-deserved Glory.

Maybe, the tags should be ‘Winners!’ not ‘attention seekers.’


Let’s talk Science

Alfred Alder (German psychotherapist) stated this in the definition of his concept of ‘Inferiority Complex’ –

“If a person is a show-off, it is only because she or he feels inferior because she or he does not feel strong enough to compete with others on the useful side of life. That is why she or he stays on the useless side. She or he is not in harmony with society. It seems to be a trait of human nature that when individuals – both children and adults – feel weak, they want to solve the problems of life in such a way as to obtain personal superiority without any admixture of social interest.”

Let me break this down for you. Let’s just say someone is showing off by posting about his workout routine.

On a subconscious level, his/her main goal isn’t about getting attention but to satisfy his/her psychological needs, that is to be superior. As Alder has mentioned his definition, it’s a method to achieve psychological satisfaction through the act of ‘showing off’.

Simply put, showing off to the world what you’ve done makes you feel superior to and better than those you associate with. Internally, you satisfy the need to feel superior while at the same time, not actually looking down on your colleagues.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong in doing so. Through this method, nobody gets hurt as it still keeps the social balance intact.

If you ask me, I’d say, maybe show a little more support and encouragement rather than filling yourself with negative perceptions.



It’s easy to sit behind the computer and criticize someone, but definitely not easy to go out and do that yourself.

Now that you know the real reason as to why people do so, it’s time to throw away the misconception. Not every person who uploads their workout routine is seeking for attention.

Instead of building up negativity, you might want to indulge in a conversation with them. Talk more about their routine, diet etc. Ask a few questions that might help you build yourself. I’m certain most, if not all, would love to talk to and answer your questions. Plus you get to learn a few health tips which wouldn’t hurt, don’t you think?