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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Currently, my TikTok for you page is filled with lifestyle content. I get day in my life videos, healthy recipes to try, and tons of “Gymtok” videos. “Gymtok” refers to the side of TikTok that has anything to do with working out, including videos relating to lifting, cardio, HIIT exercises, and more. Often, creators are sharing their workout routines, body transformations, and favorite athletic clothing. Consuming this content has made me realize that these kinds of videos either make me feel highly motivated or very insecure in my lifestyle.

Pros of “Gymtok”

It is very inspiring to see people on social media platforms accomplishing fitness goals — and ultimately, that is what Gymtok promotes. While scrolling, I see workout inspiration from influencers who frequent the gym, technique tips from trainers, etc. This is great if you’re looking for a new set of exercises or need some technical training.  Additionally, fitness influencers on TikTok have motivated many people to begin going to the gym by sharing their own gym routines. They have also encouraged anyone who may feel fearful or intimidated by the thought of going to the gym by sharing some “workouts for shy people.” It is also refreshing to see the normalization of visibly strong women, as it still seems to be something society has not quite gotten used to. 

Cons of “Gymtok”

There is a lot of good to come from these workout related videos, but at the same time, it seems to be a gateway to unrealistic body expectations and insecurity. Much of the content, body transformation videos specifically, shows photos and videos of women’s bodies before their fitness journey and after. For me, consuming this content makes me feel insecure. Do I need to transform my body? Will going to the gym and doing her workout routine make me look like her? Did she lose weight or gain muscle in a healthy way?  

Ultimately, body transformation TikToks set unrealistic expectations for how going to the gym will affect your body. I believe that transforming your body should not be the reason to go to the gym or start a fitness journey. Instead, exercise regularly because you desire a healthy lifestyle, rather than a skinny waist. Gymtok pressures people to look like a whole new person after going to the gym consistently, and for many, this is an unrealistic goal to have. It’s easy to lose motivation if it seems like you’re failing in your efforts. 

The overall issue of Gymtok comes down to comparison. No two bodies are the same. Many videos set unattainable expectations that could lead to insecurity and other physical and mental challenges. It is important to be reasonable while scrolling, as it is easy to let thoughts of comparison creep in. Remember that everyone’s fitness journey is unique!

Tyler is a first-year Health and Kinesiology student at the University of Utah. She loves spending time at the lake, true crime podcasts, and going to spin bike classes!
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