Move over duck face, and make room for the #sweatyselfie. While these snaps sometimes get a bad rap, it turns out there might be some real benefits to posting photos of your workout accomplishments for all to see. Because we know you don’t want to start skipping out on #FlexFridays.
3 Reasons to Love Sweaty Selfies
1. You’ll Feel Like You Got a Virtual Fist Pound
Ever miss the camaraderie of high school sports? Sharing photos of yourself post-workout can be just like having a team of friends waiting to cheer you on at the finish line. “One of the things people love inherently about social media is instant gratification, that instant feedback that heightens our sense of confidence, motivation and self-esteem,” says clinical sports psychologist Michelle Cleere, Ph.D.
Posting sweaty selfies may be especially beneficial to people who are new to exercise, explains clinical psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., MS, PT, author of Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. “Given that this is something new, friends and followers are more likely to comment with encouragement and support,” she says. Whether it’s your first day of training for a half-marathon, or your first time running ever, you’re bound to get a few encouraging emojis sent your way.
2. You’ll Get Help Staying Accountable
If you’ve ever posted a landscape photo only to have 10 friends “like” it — but garnered 50 hearts from a goofy selfie, you know that your followers love it when you mug for the camera. That’s because people feel closer to you when they see your face, says Cleere. Getting an insider’s glimpse into your most recent 5K or the workout you did this morning can heighten that sense that you really are friends, and aren’t just online acquaintances, she explains.
And when people feel close to you, they want you to succeed. One of Lombardo’s clients pledged to wake up early and work out every day for 90 days — and shared it with her Facebook friends. She posted a picture each day after her workout — and then the few times she didn’t, her friends would proactively ask her about it. “She told me that having that accountability often was the primary motivator to get her out of bed and start exercising,” says Lombardo.
3. You’ll Be More Likely to Reach Your Goals
All that positivity and accountability could go a long way toward helping you achieve your fitness goals. A pair of recent studies found that when people posted about their workouts and diets on Twitter and Facebook they lost more weight than people who didn’t. Though participants were sharing status updates, not photos of themselves, the results were promising: For every 10 tweets sent, study participants accumulated an additional .5 percent weight loss, shares study author Brie Turner-McGrievy, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., assistant professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.
“Building up your followers allows you to have a group of people who can hold you accountable,” she says. “If you say you are going to stick to your calorie limit of 1,500 calories for the day, you will have followers who will ask you how you did at the end of the day.”
Know Before You Post
While snapping sweaty selfies can help cheer you on and boost your confidence, it might have the opposite effect if your connections don’t respond positively or don’t respond at all, says Cleere. (Gasp!)
Before you upload, always ask yourself why you’re doing it, Cleere says. “Someone might post a sweaty selfie and not get any feedback from anyone and the next day say, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I’m going to work out today.’…Chances are that had an impact on their self-esteem in general,” she says.
If you think you can handle your moment of triumph being met with crickets, then go ahead and post that selfie anyway. But if you’re posting because you’re in need of some positive, instant gratification, stat, these 19 reasons to work out beyond the perfect body might take you farther than ‘likes’ on your feed.