Fitness inspiration from Instagram

From selfies on Instagram to videos on YouTube, social media is often criticized for championing unrealistic beauty standards. But when it comes to sports, social media can be a source of inspiration and motivation. Do you find yourself lacking the drive to achieve your fitness goals? Then whisk your phone out and take a look at some fitness influencer feeds. Their messaging is as relatable as it is inspiring and will help give you that push to go outside and get training. So, to get you started, we’ve collated our personal favourites:

Nadir Nahdi: I didn’t want to, that’s why I had to

Nadir Nahdi is much more than a fitness influencer. He creates mini documentaries exploring his identity alongside cultural and social issues. Born in London, Nadir is Pakistani, Kenyan, Indonesian and Yemeni and he explores this heritage in a totally open, curious and inclusive way. 

Nadir travels a lot. He’s regularly hopping from Dubai to Singapore, Indonesia to Malaysia—and he forces himself to hit the gym every morning, no matter what city he’s in. His motto is: I didn’t want to, that’s why I had to.

Nadir has an innovation lab called BENI, a space for him to explore and collaborate with like-minded people. Last year Nadir launched BENI RUN CLUB, an initiative to inspire people to run 5k, even if they have no previous experience. The tagline: “We start together, we finish together.” BRC champions inclusivity and diversity, which is probably why Nike jumped in as a sponsor right away.

Alex Hipwell: Show up for yourself

If you don’t know Alex Hipwell, you will after you read our in-depth interview feature about her. Originally from Australia, Alex has carved out a niche in the fitness world in Germany, teaching Strong Barre classes at Jane’s Soulbase Berlin and outrageously challenging HIIT classes at John’s Bootcamp.

This woman is a source of inspiration for many reasons: she’s a bodybuilding champion, an Iron Woman competitor, a professional dancer, a NIKE Master Trainer and a mother.

Here are three of our favourite quotes from the master motivator herself:

  • “I am going to show up for myself for better or for worse. Are you?”
  • “It’s ok if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.”
  • “Sometimes life doesn’t give you something that you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve more.”

Madeleine Shaw: Get your glow

Madeleine Shaw is more like a lifestyle and nutrition coach than a fitness influencer, but she caught our eye because she’s constantly promoting body positivity and emotional wellbeing. Originally from London, Madeleine’s journey began in Sydney, Australia where she worked in an organic cafe while studying at university.

Madeleine is open about having struggled with anorexia for much of her young adult life, and it was only while working at the cafe that she began to understand the effect nourishing food could have on her body and the consequences of depriving herself of the fuel she needed. Slowly, she learned more about food and began to turn her life around. She went from being tired and sluggish to feeling energized, positive and full of life. Since then she’s made it her life mission to share her experiences and educate others so they don’t make the same mistakes she did. Madeleine’s now published three books, hosts a wellbeing podcast, and offers yoga and wellness workshops as well as tons of other initiatives and collaborations. Not only is she inspiring, she’s totally honest and isn’t afraid of showing the challenging parts of her life alongside the beautiful.

Irene Scholz: Passion never fails

Irene Scholz is a fitness dynamo. Originally from Germany, she fell in love with Cape Town in her twenties and lived there for several years, opening her own functional gym called BOLD. Then in 2018, she got the offer of a lifetime: to head up adidas RUNBASE in Berlin. So, despite moving from SA to Germany in the middle of December, she hasn’t looked back.

Irene isn’t your typical fitness influencer. She shares the real stuff alongside the fitness bits, making her as accessible as she is inspiring. Here’s one of our favourite quotes from Irene:

“I’ve often struggled with myself and still do, it’s a constant falling in love with oneself, acceptance and muting the BS on the outside & inside. And yeah, it’s tiring some days, but I’ve never stopped reminding myself that I’m doing it for me, for my happiness within. If you feel all of the above, or just 1% of it—remember that you have a choice. Fill yourself with love. Because you can.”

If your couch is more inviting than the gym right now, just remember your fitness goals and be inspired by people who exemplify them. So what are you waiting for?

Get started today


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