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Sports exhibitionists: what’s behind the collective obsession with hacking each other and showing off the nets in the gym

Just a few days ago, we were surprised by the information that influencers Estefi Unzu (Verdelis), known as a mother of eight children and with more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram and 2.1 million on YouTube, announced a challenge that very few could: run 12 marathons in just 12 months. “I have this thing with myself,” he said in one of the videos. “I’m at a point in my life where I want to take risks, when I don’t want to leave everything to decisions, where running means breaking all the barriers for me and I want to see what it means to push myself. To the limit both physically and mentally.. I’m not going to be an example (I know it’s wild), don’t do this in your homes,” he advised us.

This is an amazing challenge, although many suspect that it is simply a strategy influencers Generating content for their followers, this is still a great physical achievement that fits a certain trend that can be revealed in social networks over a period of time.

Doing sports sells and, besides, it makes us feel really good. And Verdelis’ challenge to pursue both, despite the physical sacrifices (and economic ones, since the marathons he will compete in are spread across the globe), will be the envy of many.

The worse the better

It is increasingly common to see how people around us (friends, relatives or colleagues) not only play sports very often, but also take it to an extreme and make it a very important part of their lives and your identity. . It is also generally true, unnatural as it may be to the most sedentary, that the more rigorous and demanding a discipline, the greater the commitment and fixation of its practitioners. Some are drawn to CrossFit, others to weightlifting at the gym, boxing or other contact sports, or participating in Ironman triathlons (a test that includes a 3.86km open water swim, a 180km bike ride and finally a 42.2km marathon). , very strenuous activities that push them to explore the limits of resistance.

This obsession today is even more closely related to social networks, although we do not have as many followers as Verdelis. If you follow any of these people, you’ll know exactly the type of content we’re talking about. There isn’t a workout, early morning, or big or small thing that isn’t properly documented on Instagram or TikTok, giving these users tons of likes. like This usually doesn’t come from their long-time friends or family members, who are usually a bit squeamish about this person’s new hobby, but from users who probably exercise or aspire to do the same things, who share their hobby and recognize them. . as equals or ideals in the path of perfection. The sense of community in this trend is strong and very important.

I am legion

“There is a certain type of physical activity that creates a sense of belonging, of community,” says Patricia Ramirez, a psychologist, author of several successful books, and known on Instagram as @patri_psicologa, where he has nearly 560,000 followers. “You go to the gym, you go to class and you feel part of it. Later you can have coffee with these people or stay outside to continue practicing your sport. In other words, well thought-out physical activity is also a way of interacting with each other in the real world and sharing experiences that enrich us. Psychology has shown that the experiences we share with other people make us happier. So this sense that is created, of community, of belonging, of being able to talk and share a hobby, brings us together,” he explains.

He agrees with it Damian Gomez, personal trainer and sports nutritionist: “I don’t think a sense of community is necessary, because if you have a goal to lose weight or get stronger, if you’re motivated, you’re going to go to the gym alone, you’ve won. I do not care. But it’s true that a lot of times you feel good when you find a small group of people who are as weird as you (as I say) playing sports because they have a common goal with you.”

There is some kind of physical activity that creates a sense of belonging, of community

Patricia Ramirez

to the limit

Let’s go to the beginning: why are there so many people around us who want to push their bodies to the limit? Patri has several theories about this. “There is no clear answer to this question. Maybe it’s the self-educating of that effort and creating their own methodology or discipline that makes them feel good,” he explains. “It is true that there are many people who, when they start training, see a positive change in their body, feel stronger, more flexible, leaner, encouraged to continue, even more perfect, creating a virtuous circle that can. Become addicted,” he explains.

“I believe that when a person starts practicing sports, his goal is to look better, to be healthy, because in the end he is not satisfied with himself and has a goal,” says Damian. “They have to look like someone, they have a model and they go. The problem is that in many cases, we are never able to see ourselves fully, we want more, and in the end it is true, maybe we need to rest a little and be clear that we are in a long distance race and everything takes time”, he assures us.

“It’s also true that sports are involved. It’s a firm yes,” confirms the coach. “The first weeks we need a bit, until we get to know our body, we get to know the diet, the exercises… You can’t go from zero to a hundred, because eventually you might throw in the towel. But when we see gradual changes, if you do the right thing, you start feeling very good, you rest better at night, it helps you at work, in family life… it becomes your moment”, he points out. outside.

If you don’t post it, it doesn’t exist

As we said before, sharing our progress on networks nowadays is a must. What is not posted on Instagram does not exist, and therefore we see ours every day feeds and Stories for people at the gym, in the pool or on the bike.

For a psychologist, the reason is clear: sports have a very good press in the networks. The expert distinguishes three types of users depending on what they are looking for when posting this content. The largest group, and in which almost all of them would be, consists of those who simply see a boost in their self-esteem. “In many cases, by sharing our efforts with others, we gain a Feedback Very positive”, confirms the psychologist: “What willpower”, “I can’t get up at this time”, “You should see what attitude”… it makes us feel very good”.

“There’s another group of people,” he continues, “who like it or who know that they’re somehow influencing or inspiring others with their exercise, even encouraging them to change their habits,” which would be of a different kind. of satisfaction connected with the world influencers.

“I also think there’s another third group who have huge egos and need to hear praise from others all the time,” he adds.

There are people who want to know that they are influencing or inspiring others with their exercise, helping others to change their habits.

Patricia Ramirez

When something goes wrong

But it’s one thing that sport gives us some physical or mental satisfaction, and quite another for us to really get caught up in it becoming a necessity that takes priority over the main things.

“Neither sport makes you feel better, nor chocolate makes you fat,” says the psychologist. “Those who eat it get fat and become addicted to exercise, who don’t know how to set limits or spot the signs that something isn’t working well. The gym isn’t involved, what causes addiction is the neurotransmitters or state of well-being produced by exercise and how you see yourself; The relationship you build between one and the other. If you start to think that your level of well-being or your physique is all about exercise and you convince yourself that the more the better and keep doing more and more and more, that’s when we can start talking. about obsession. The criteria for identifying it are very clear: when you make physical activity an absolute priority compared to work or family obligations, when you ignore other important activities, such as meeting friends, reading, watching a little TV, sleeping, not doing sports. causes you to feel guilty, then you have a problem. You should stop and seek help,” he concludes.

Source: El Diario





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