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This fitness influencer is calling on her industry to make a big change

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Megan Murray
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Shona Vertue is all about portraying the reality behind being big into fitness, something she thinks influencers and the fitness industry need to be conscious of, too. 

Shona Vertue knows what’s up when it comes to fitness. She has over 400k followers on Instagram, her own 12-week programme (which is practised in 60 countries), has published a book and an incredibly popular YouTube channel. Oh, and she’s trained David Beckham, who called her “the best”.

But despite being enthusiastic about the incredible benefits of exercise, Vertue thinks there are some things need to change.

“It’s more important than ever for us to shift the focus from what it looks like to work out to what to what it feels like,” she says speaking to stylist.co.uk.

Addressing the untouchable beauty standards that society imposes on women, Vertue says: “Most fitness videos on Instagram look pretty perfect. They’re usually sweat free, perfectly stylised and perfectly coiffed. But, in reality, when I train I am literally dripping in sweat and my hair is frizzier than…a really frizzy thing!

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“This is potentially problematic because if we always associate fitness with something that looks perfect, if we don’t look perfect when we do it we may feel like we’re doing something wrong.”

To stop yourself becoming caught up in some of these problematic messages, Vertue recommends looking at your social media: “A long time ago I chose to unfollow all of those accounts that I spend too much time talking about how I should or shouldn’t look.

“There’s a million reasons to exercise. Things like bone mineral density, immune system support, preventing dementia. So, follow those accounts that talk about those things rather than the ones that are like, ‘here’s how to tone your arms’ or ‘get leaner legs’ – yawn.”

Vertue is encouraging everyone to concentrate more on what our bodies can do, not just what they look like. She continues: “We’re done focusing in on tiny little perceived imperfections. It’s a waste of our time and instead we should focus on how incredible our bodies and our brains really are. We want less waist trainers, we want less of that skinny tea (that just gives you diarrhea). We want to focus on hard work and that’s how we get results. Not with diarrhea.”

Her message? To be more real.

“So, I’m calling on all other fitness influencers, let’s share our sweaty, frizzy, maybe even snotty gym selfies. Working out – it ain’t pretty. But the results? They’re life-changing.”

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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