In an age of likes, filters and TikTok followers, it's easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others on social media – even when you're one of the most successful fitness influencers of all time, like Krissy Cela. Thankfully, with apps such as Instagram and Facebook rolling out new features to hide likes, it seems as though things might be taking a turn for the better, and the exercise mogul herself is more than happy about that news.
While discussing the community of like-minded women she's built over on her own app, Tone and Sculpt (which has since been downloaded almost half a million times in the past year), Krissy, who also has over 2.4 million followers on Instagram, opened up to Cosmopolitan about why we have to stop comparing our bodies to people we see on social media. It's something she says is vital for our mental health.
Having spent so much time in the virtual world, Krissy explains she knows firsthand just how easy it can be to get caught up with how others shape up online. "When I first started growing my platform five years ago, I was obsessed with likes and comments," she admits candidly. "I compared myself all the time. It's totally natural to feel a sense of underachieving or competition."
"[We as] women think, 'Why don’t I look like that?'," she says, "But the truth is, you will never look like that. I want people to stop falling into the trap of thinking that there’s only one way to train, and that by training the same way someone else does, you’ll get the exact same results. I could train the same as you, eat the same as you, and sleep the same as you, and we’d still look completely different."
Unfollowing people who make you feel less about yourself should be at the top of your to-do list, Krissy adds. "I’m over comparing my life to others. It’s toxic," she says, "I unfollowed anyone that made me feel uninspired, and then I realised they weren't the problem, I was the problem for comparing myself in the first place."
But social media is just the start the 26-year-old says, who sees how our constant need to compare is impacting the way we treat – and think about – our bodies, both on and offline. As an influencer, she's noticed an increase in women following workout trends and fad diets with the goal of looking like their favourite celebrity [the likes of whom have top personal trainers, chefs and potential access to appearance-altering cosmetic surgeries or 'tweakments'].
When it comes to learning how to train the right way for you (rather than copying what your fave celeb is doing), Krissy knows how joining a gym or picking up a resistance band for the first time can be daunting. Even she, at start of her own fitness journey, admits she was pretty clueless.
"I had absolutely nobody to look up to or ask questions," she says, "I had nothing to guide me. And nothing is intimidating."
Her lack of fitness know-how combined with low self esteem following a bad breakup meant it would have been easy for Krissy to give up there and then. But, determined to make a positive change in her life, she kept going.
"I was in a really dark place at the time. I’d just been cheated on and I felt like nothing was going my way," she reveals. "But I decided I wanted to enjoy what I was doing with my life. So, I went back to the gym. I kept progressing. I kept making mistakes. But then I kept learning more. I just gave it my all."
It's this experience that inspired her to create Tone and Sculpt. "I thought about all of the things that I personally needed when I started and I meshed them all up," she explains.
But for Krissy, Tone and Sculpt is more than just an app, it's a platform where community comes first, and training second. "When I started out, there were no tools that allowed me to have some form of interaction with like-minded women who felt the same way. No one was telling me, 'Hey, it's okay to eat what you want to eat, and also to stick to your goals in a sustainable way'."
Through her app, Krissy reveals how women from across the world have connected, meeting up for coffee and even going to each other's weddings. "They meet every single week in different parts of the world," she says, "They share their fitness journey, they encourage each other and they're now brave enough to face the gym when they'd never stepped foot into one before."
But, if there's one thing Krissy wants those who use her app to come away with, it's that having balance when choosing to move your body is more important than the number you see on the scales. "I'm not trying to push you to create a specific type of body," she says. "As a trainer, my biggest aspiration is to see you move your body, that is literally the best thing you could ever do."
Over-exercising is never the answer either, the trainer says. "If you build a massive mountain for yourself that you have to climb six days a week, you’re putting pressure on yourself not to fail, and you’re also not giving yourself time to recover," Krissy emphasises, "If you genuinely want to better yourself, to progress and to become 1% better than you were yesterday, then don’t create a lifestyle that’s not sustainable. Because that’s how you’ll set yourself up for failure."
The Tone and Sculpt app is available to download now with a free 14-day trial.
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