I've recently discovered a new obsession of mine. This obsession started the summer after my Freshman year, when I realized that the freshman 15 was most definitely not a myth. Here's the story of how I found these three fitness instagram accounts that forever changed my opinion of fitness.

Kangan Kansal

After deciding to end my long time swimming career, I shortly realized that perhaps those long hours in the pool were maybe doing something to keep me in shape. The combination of ending my consistent workout routine and the start of endless access to ice cream, cookies, and late night pizza, gave me a major shock that basically said, "Sophie, time to learn to like working out again".

And that's when I discovered my love for Instagram fitness videos.

Katie Austin

Of all of the accounts I found this summer on my hunt for fitspo, these three showed me that fitness is so much more than just those rock hard abs on every Victoria's Secret model. Fitness isn't about the end results of going to the gym for x number of hours a day or eating nothing but raw (gross) vegetables for weeks on end. Fitness is all about a balance. It's all about learning to love yourself and the skin you're in despite all the crinkles, scratches, or cellulite.

Fitness is about learning what works best for you in the gym to the point where you genuinely look forward to working out and gettin' yo sweat on. AKA, if you hate the elliptical, stop! These are some accounts that taught me to do what I actually enjoy in the gym, and that even taught me that lifting weights as a girl actually isn't a bad thing. Here are three people to follow when you want to learn to ~love yo'self.

1. Jessica Pack (@plankingforpizza)

Every single post that Jess instagrams screams the same, much needed message: not everything you see on Instagram is reality. The fitness journey is long, it's hard, and there are days where you might not see any progress at all. But Jess makes sure that those hard days are also shown on social media, not just the perfect transformation pictures.

Jess also shows an extremely important part of the fitness life - eating food other than vegetables. Jess has made it clear that she is a fan of tracking macros (macronutrients are carbs, fats, and proteins that are eaten during the day) which could be considered a healthier means of counting calories due to the fact that you are making sure that you are still getting the right amount of nutrients your body needs, not just reaching a number of calories. What does counting macros mean? It means you can eat pizza, eat ice cream, eat whatever your heart desires as long as it fits within your macros.

Jess shows that it's not all about vegetables, it's not all about the end result, and it's not an all easy-going process. It is hard but with dedication and self-love everything and anything is possible in the fitness world.

2. Carys Gray (@busybeefitness) 

Carys Gray is a fitness icon in the Instagram world from the UK, mostly known for her insanely amazing ~peach~ and her booty workout guides to surely leave you sore from the gym the next morning. 

What make Carys so inspiring is her commitment to send positive messages to all of her 215K followers with every single post. Carys is constantly posting pictures like the one shown above, showing people everywhere that what is seen on Instagram, even some fitness Instagram accounts, is by no means always the reality. Sure, many will agree her body is amazing and her work in the gym is surely shown, but she takes the time in so many of her posts to talk about what is never shown on social media. Carys shows pictures of her face without makeup, her bloat after massive meals, and everything in between. She values the imperfections that every single person has and much of social media attempts to hide. Carys shows that these perfect people on social media are all just people too, and everyone has their trouble spots and their flaws. However, this is all what just makes us every day people. 

3. Whitney Simmon 


Now, ladies and gents, this person right here is my all time favorite fitness inspiration that I was beyond happy to find. Whitney Simmons has a contagious sense of joy, positivity, and overall just a love for what this journey has done for her and what it can do for all of her followers. Also, her dog is the cutest thing to ever be seen. Ever.

Whitney constantly posts workouts that are suitable for all fitness levels, and makes it so that the fitness world doesn't seem so intimidating after all. When I first found Whitney's YouTube and Instagram account, I watched her videos and read the posts about how she got interested in fitness and how it changed her life. She explains how fitness isn't always for results. Fitness for her is a form of therapy, and the gym is a place of relief. She seriously taught me how working out should be for you and for no one else.

She also taught me that sometimes you just really need that In-'n-Out.

lettuce, french fries, meat, vegetable
Caroline Ingalls

All in all, the main things I have been able to take away from these three fitness Instagram accounts is that fitness is more than just what you see in the pictures posted on Instagram. Fitness is about doing whatever can bring you to the happiest you, no matter what you look like or what others look like compared to you. So go to the gym and do what makes you happy. Don't run on the treadmill or ride the elliptical for hours on end until you've burned x amount of calories because that's what you think is going to make you lose weight. Do whatever will make you want to go to the gym that day, and what will make you happiest. Fitness isn't just about those crazy abs or perfect arms you see on models everywhere. Fitness is about self-love.