When Danielle Knox had her son two years ago, she found a reason to exercise at home from a small but strong contender in the fitness space.
“Really up to here for two and a half years with my routine I fell into fitness and trying to live a healthier life, all social media,” Ms. Knox said.
She is one of thousands of Australians who are turning to the influence of health and wellness content to implement it in their daily lives.
A “fitness influencer” creates content – including inspirational works, food blogs, “day-in-the-life” videos, and product promotion – often paid for posts on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
Ms Knox said that through her experiences she found a community of other mums and women who kept her inspired.
“I find it helps me to push my fitness and being a mum, because of that and the motivation and inspiration that they give me,” Ms Knox said.
“It’s amazing where we are today and the access we have online, everything is at our fingertips and that’s one of the positives of social media.
“I would like to say that I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for following these influencers and following their advice.”
The number of online creators in Australia has grown by almost 50 per cent to six million since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Australian Computer Association.
This is about one in four people in Australia.
‘Everyone can come out and claim to be knowledgeable.’
While the experience has been positive for Ms Knox, experts say the dangers of being vague and simply sharing information can be harmful.
Curtin University internet studies professor Crystal Abidin has devoted the past 15 years to understanding social media and, more recently, influencers.
He said that some content is available online.
“We have already reached a point in the maturing industry of influence, where the fitness of any influence, unfortunately, also creates the ideals that it achieves, or even the most serious behaviors,” Professor Abidin said.
“Anyone and everyone can go out and claim to be an expert on something and then promote a cause or message.
“Body enhancements – whether through drugs, traditions, injections – also become a health concern when you have a body image in your mind that is not appropriate for what you are trying to achieve.”
‘There is nothing so valuable content out there’
However, Maurine Magka’s Instagram presence, and many others like it, cannot help but prevent it.
With more than 13 years in the fitness industry as a qualified personal trainer, he began sharing online educational content to reach more people.
He said the main goals of his Instagram page – which has almost 63,000 followers – are to be realistic and to encourage those followers to get into the gym.
“[Going to the gym] it can be so scary. So, I think we – as influencers – have the power to create a point of access for people,” Ms Magka said.
“If we can show what it’s really like, and be positive and inviting, then someone will feel comfortable enough to actually start [going to the gym].
“The way that energy moves, in terms of body acceptance and body image, there’s so much valuable content there.”
This agrees with Ms. Knox. He says his fitness journey is endless, through online tables.
“They are a huge part of what keeps me going and keeps me grounded.”