For college level student-athletes, doing exercises and activities to stay physically fit are a major part of day-to-day life. Because of this, a handful of student-athletes at Keene State College decided to take their daily exercise routines to Instagram by creating personal fitness accounts that are open to the public eye, and they’ve gained hundreds of followers.
Three KSC student-athletes who have taken this step include junior volleyball player Ali McLoughlin (@alimcloughlinfitness), senior softball player Emma Pede (@ecp.fitness) and senior field hockey player Taylor Robison (@tay_tay_fit). The three student-athletes all post videos of their workouts on their fitness Instagram accounts, putting the type of workout they are doing along with the number of sets and repetitions they did in the captions of their video posts.
Each of them had different motives for starting their accounts, whether it was personal improvement or educating others that they had in mind.
“One of my best friends told me, ‘You should just make one, kind of motivate yourself, motivate other people,’” said McLoughlin. “So I made it my freshman year of college and I always posted whatever. Now it’s evolved to where I don’t like to post a whole workout, I like to post stuff in my workout that’s specific and there’s a reason why I’m doing it. A lot of the time I’ll write in my caption something explaining the benefit of the exercise. But that’s pretty much the purpose, to motivate myself and to put out something different for other people. I like to look at videos to check my form and stuff.”
“I always hated going to the gym, I never wanted to go to the gym, even in high school,” said Pede. “The only way I was at the gym was if I had softball, that’s it. Then I got to college and it was a little different. We had to go lift and we had to workout and stuff, I still hated it. But then my sophomore year here I had something, they thought it was mono but they weren’t really sure, and they gave me steroids, which made me gain a lot of weight. I felt gross and wanted to get working out and stuff. We have this program on our phones that we use for our team lifts, it says the exercise and sets and reps and all that, and there’s a little video you can watch with it. So when I was going to the gym, I liked to be able to see the workout that I had to do before I actually did it. So I was wondering how I could organize my workouts, like video taping them and organizing them into a folder. So I made an Instagram that was private, I didn’t follow anyone, I didn’t have anyone follow me and I just posted all my workouts. My friends found it and started trying to follow my Instagram. I was questioning, ‘Am I comfortable with this? Not really, but let’s do it anyways, let’s see how it goes.’ Then I made it public and started posting more. I don’t really try to promote it or anything, it’s just really for my use to store my workouts and stuff. My friends have gone on and used my workouts to copy off of.”
“I started my fitness account in late August, I pretty much post whenever I work out,” said Robison. “I started because I was doing the ‘75 Hard Challenge,’ which is basically 75 days of drinking a gallon of water a day, two workouts a day, you have to read like ten pages and stick to some form of a diet. I did that over the summer because I was really bored with quarantine. I started my fitness account towards the end of it, but more for me, kind of like a workout diary to track my progress, plus all my friends support me through it. I have been doing workouts on there at home and at the gym too. It’s more for me than it is for my following, I think it’s a good place to keep yourself accountable and grow who you are and what your goals are.”
Each of the student-athletes post a variety of different workouts on their accounts, focusing on exercising multiple different parts of the body.
“Usually the way I workout is each day when I go to the gym I target a different body part,” said Pede. “Mondays I’ll usually do legs, Tuesday I do biceps, Wednesday I do triceps and back. I have them all planned out, that’s how I organize them. When I’ll make posts I’ll say like, ‘Okay, this is for leg day,’ and I’ll put a bunch of workouts that I do. But ideally, I make my workouts focused on building muscle, burning fat and toning.”
“It usually depends where I’m at in that time period,” McLoughlin said of her workouts. “Over the summer when I was preparing for volleyball season, the workouts looked completely different. But for the most part, I usually put up a vast variety of different things. But my big thing I like to post is very functional athletic movements. I’m not just going to post a video of me bicep curling, you can kind of see that anywhere. I like to keep it athletic-based.”
“There’s this Youtuber, Sydney Cummings, and she hosts a workout every single day, they range from 30 [minutes] to an hour long, so I did a lot of those when I had to workout at home and didn’t have access to a gym during quarantine,” said Robison. “It was awesome because it’s a completely programmed set of workouts. She’ll do upper body one day, then cardio, then lower body and glutes, stuff like that. For that purpose, it was very much balanced. Now that I’m going to the gym, I do two arm days and two leg days, and then cardio work.”
While their accounts are for personal use and keeping track of performance, progress and execution, some of the student-athletes try to make their accounts educational or motivational for the public as well.
“As a girl, to make something more easily accessible… I don’t know. Being in the gym with a bunch of boys is hard to do,” said Pede. “I’m not the most confident, but me having an Instagram like that makes it seem like I’m a little more confident, so I want other girls to see that and say, ‘Oh okay, she’s doing it, I can do it.’ My one friend Stephanie who used to go here, she is really, really skinny, she wanted to go to the gym to build muscle. She was nervous, so she would go and watch my videos and do what I was doing. So because she had the security of me doing something and having the video, she felt comfortable to actually go into a gym and to actually do stuff like that. I guess in general, [it’s about] educating people on how to do physical stuff, but also educating them mentally and proving that it is okay. Don’t be afraid just because there are boys, it doesn’t matter.”
“For me, being an exercise science major, I’m very careful about what I’m going to put out,” said McLoughlin. “There’s a lot of Instagram accounts that, just from three years of studying this stuff, I see their videos or captions and I’m like, ‘That is completely wrong.’ I don’t want to put anything like that out there, so if I’m unsure I won’t put anything in the captions because I want it to be stuff that is actually science-based, not just feeding people stuff that they want to hear. That’s why I keep the content I put out there a little limited, I want to make sure the stuff I’m putting out is fluent and is the correct information.”
“There’s some Instagram accounts that post every part of their workout and a lot of the workout is basic movements, like just squats and stuff,” McLoughlin continued. “But that’s not what I want to do with my account right now, I don’t want to post every single workout. I’d rather post stuff where it’s like, ‘Add this to your workout,’ or, ‘Add these two exercises and pair them together,’ because I’m not trying to be a fitness trainer right this second.”
Although the student-athletes created these accounts while participating in NCAA sports competition at Keene State, they hope to keep their accounts going strong once they graduate and move on from playing college sports.
“I’m hoping to still workout at least,” Pede said. “I think if I keep working out there’s no reason to stop documenting it and keeping it for myself. Even if I don’t post publicly, I’ll probably still keep it.”
“I’ll probably do some more of that as I have more time,” McLoughlin said. “I don’t know what it’ll look like exactly, but I’ll probably use the account in a different way than I am now to brand myself or something like that. I definitely want to at least have it up there and have content that I think is credible so that I have a foundation already to take whatever direction I want to take it in.”
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