Fitness in a YouTube World
They are not all created equal.
If you type the word "fitness" into the Google search engine, you get—in less than a second—over three and a half billion search results. Fitness, on the internet, is big, big business.
With the world becoming increasingly more automated and growing numbers of people, especially upcoming generations, turning away from traditional working practices, the internet, and more pertinently, social media, is becoming and has become, a popular avenue for entrepreneurship.
For most of us now, the internet is the first place that we look to for information. It is life’s modern library. As with anything, popularity plays a big part in the success of any endeavor. People gravitate towards success, wanting to be a part of it, hoping that, somehow, it will perhaps rub off on them.
As most people are predominantly visual, gravitating to that which they find attractive, the social media of YouTube and Instagram have become juggernauts and many people have created careers on the strength of that.
As a person who has been in fitness and worked around fitness for over 30 years, I have gained some knowledge of what is, and more importantly, who is good within the fitness sphere.
There are thousands of personal trainers and, or fitness "experts" available on YouTube or Instagram. Depending on what you want—lose weight? There’s a trainer for that. Get bigger? There’s a trainer for that? Increase your flexibility? There’s a trainer for that!—there are plenty of people vying for your attention, ready to furnishes you with the knowledge they think you need or want.
With the explosion of reality television over the past decade, creating the everyman—or woman—an opportunity for anyone bold enough, or thick-skinned enough to take it. Visually driven sites such as Instagram and Youtube have not only grown, they have created celebrities.
The difficulty is when you are trying to find out about something fitness related and you are coming from a position of ignorance. It is a natural human instinct to believe what a person says unless they give you some reason not to.
Even on a first encounter, if a person tells you they are an astronaut and you cannot readily see a reason as to why they could not be one, you believe them. This is the problem with YouTube fitness.
If a young, attractive, not out of shape individual, says a certain exercise is good for—fill in the blank—that you are trying to achieve, you are going to believe them. Why wouldn’t you?
To that end, here are a few of the fitness experts that I consider worth following on YouTube and/or Instagram. I do not know any of these creators personally. They cover most aspects of training—endurance, strength, flexibility—and do not try and overly push their own products or workouts.
The first fitness channel I’m going to recommend is Redefining Strength. Cori Lefkowith is the owner and presenter of this channel and she is fantastic. If you are looking for clear explanations as to why you would do an exercise and how to do the exercise, Cori’s channel is a good place to go.
Not only does she do many of the popular gym-based exercises, but she also seems to have an endless repertoire of bodyweight only exercises at her disposal. Whether you are looking for exercise ideas, especially circuit based, or looking to improve some facet of your fitness knowledge, you could definitely do worse than checking out Redefining Strength.
Jeff Cavaliere’s AthleanX is one of the best fitness channels on YouTube. Cavaliere is a strength and conditioning coach for professional athletes and also has an obvious passion for fitness himself.
Regarded by his fitness peers as one of the best around, Cavaliere’s channel is another one-stop shop for all things gym and fitness exercise related.
Such is Jeff’s profile, he is routinely targeted by lazy, clickbait hunting, would-be, fitness wannabes, trying to debunk his channel. Ignore the naysayers, Jeff’s knowledge is solid.
If you just want to lift heavy, do those big lifts and feel more comfortable hearing it from a big guy, you need to go to Alan Thrall. He is a monster, but a very articulate one.
Running his own gym in Sacramento, Thrall is not a man trying to look pretty on Instagram. He lifts big and he lifts heavy. If you were to just watch his one video on deadlift technique, it would probably save you years of trial and error.
Megsquats is the channel of Meg Gallagher, a powerlifter and fitness coach of many years. Meg is an engaging presence on YouTube whose videos flit between highly informative and real-life personal.
As an athlete herself, she has encountered the trials and tribulations of a lot of her target audience—women—and is not afraid to share with them some of that journey.
That she is incredibly knowledgeable and continues to push the boundaries of that knowledge make her a worthy addition to this list.
There are so many more I could add to this list—Gabriel Sey, TheSwolefessor, Jeff Nippard, Abby Pollock, Austin Dunham, Kris Pope—but then this would turn into a book!
Just a couple more fitness-related people to mention—Alan Roberts, EDDF, and Shredded Sports Science—these are not workout sites. These are the guys who keep workout sites honest. Alan is what can only be described as raw. He does not sugarcoat his opinion of YouTubers he feels are foolish or dangerous in their information.
James, on his Shredded Sports Science channel, takes a much more humorous and analytical approach to debunking, what he sees as, nonsensical statements on fitness.
In conclusion, there is no one size fits all method of fitness. Yes, there are certain principals in fitness that are universal, but different bodies and physiologies react differently to different training methods. It is, and always will be, a bit of journey of discovery when it comes to finding the best route to fitness.