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A Dual Journey: Q+A with Instagram Fitness Influencer Marin Freedman

TW: Mentions of anxiety and eating disorders

Marin Freedman, known as @marinforthegym on Instagram, is a freshman at BU and self-proclaimed 5 A.M. workout enthusiast. During quarantine, she started an Instagram account to help her friends out with workouts and healthy meals. She realized that she had a passion for creating content and saw Instagram as a way to promote the workout classes that she taught. 

On the app, she was able to find and foster a community of other girls interested in wellness content that isn’t connected to diet culture and has value. A community, as she stated, “of self love and self worth, which is the perspective that I came from after I had my eating disorder.” Aside from her main Instagram account, Marin also has a podcast and was a coach at Solidcore in Chicago, both aspects of her work she hopes to continue later in college. 

Inspired by the content on her page, I decided to do a little Q+A with the fitness influencer herself to find out more about what inspires her and what advice she has for other people looking to get into fitness. 

Q: I’ve noticed that you focus on lifting in the gym on your page. What would your advice be to other girls who want to start lifting or getting more active in general?

A: This is probably the question that I get most often. Number one, no one is looking at you in the gym, and if they are, it’s their problem (a.k.a. creepy old men). If they’re looking at you, it’s on them. So just, as much as you can, put music in, zone out, plan your workout ahead of time, and just go into the gym and get it done for you and no one else. 

I post workouts on my Instagram. I post them so that girls can take me into the gym with them. Get in, get out, and you’ll notice the difference in your mood. 

I will also say that how I got into lifting was a lot of research. It is kind of a workout where you want to know what you’re doing generally beforehand just from a safety perspective. So try to find certified personal trainers on Instagram and on YouTube. Ultimately, just try out things that make you feel good. If lifting doesn’t make you feel good, that’s ok, but I do think it’s amazing if you want to try it out. 

Q: What are your favorite types of workouts?

A: I had a huge Soul Cycle phase. I still love Soul Cycle. It’s how I got into group fitness and fitness as a whole, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I will always go if I need an endorphin high. Lifting is obviously my core workout that I do every morning.

I’m not a runner. The only time you will see me run is at Barry’s class, which is interval running, and the max is like ten minutes. I’m always down for getting my step count in and going for a walk. 

I need to stretch more often. I would love to say that I love doing yoga, but that’s more like I feel like I have to. I’m usually down for everything. I feel like working out is so fun once you enjoy what your body is doing and appreciate your body for doing it. 

Q: Mental health seems to be another topic that you focus on. What inspired you to talk about it?

A: I’m very open about my mental health journey because I think that not a lot of people are, and that is one of the biggest problems with mental health. I’m super big about reducing the stigma based off of the place that I’ve come from. 

I have been in therapy since I was five years old. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety from that age and experienced panic attacks from that age, so mental health has never not been a part of my life that I have to focus on. Throughout high school it turned more into depression, and I had an eating disorder that I’ve now recovered from, but it was never talked about within my life. And, even in my family, when they would send me to therapy, it was a taboo subject. None of my extended family knew that I was going, none of my friends knew that I was going, and that always made me feel shameful about it. 

So, when I had my Instagram, it didn’t start as something that I was using to create a platform for mental health. But then, once I had that platform, it was a perfect segway to talk about the one thing that I felt so shameful about, and that allowed me to connect with so many other people who were feeling the same way. I like to think that it’s genuinely made a difference. 

Q: How have you been balancing working with college life?

A: It’s a lot. I have a lot on my plate, and I’ve definitely had to cut back on a couple of things. I think that’s important. Sometimes people say, “Oh, you can definitely manage it all if you find the balance,” which is not always true. I’ve had to cut back on the number of times that I post on @marinforthegym, and the podcast has taken a little pause, which I’m fine with. I’m not working at Solidcore right now, which will be more of a second-semester transition. I do think it’s important to not glaze over the fact that sometimes you do have to sacrifice, especially in a new environment. But, I think, for me, the more important part about managing it all is finding a routine that I’m able to thrive off of. 

Go follow @marinforthegym for more of Marin’s content. She posts workouts, mental health content, and life updates, so check out her page if you were inspired by her like I was!

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Sarah is a freshman at Boston University studying Film and Television in the College of Communication. She is originally from just outside Baltimore, Maryland. She enjoys working on craft projects and watching TV, and she is so excited to be writing for Her Campus BU!
Amille is a senior at Boston University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her passions include travel, cooking, and creative writing; when she isn't testing new recipes and working on her first novel, she's spending time with pets and making memories with family.
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