Why You Shouldn’t Get Fitness Advice from Tik Tok

Before I get lambasted for hating on Tik Tok for the sake of hating on Tik Tok, I will be the first to admit the app is an insanely good social media platform idea. Problematically good. 

Additionally, before you come at me for hating on Tik Tok because I’m too old to “get it“. I’m 26 at the time of writing this article. Now I don’t quite make the target Gen Z demographic butttt I’m also not Boomer status here either.

Just being plain honest with you solely as a professional in the fitness industry…Tik Tok fitness content is bad…really bad.

While there’s is a plentiful amount of we’ll say…less than stellar…fitness content to be found on all social media platforms, I found myself noticing it more than usual with Tik Tok’s rise to fame. There’s a variety of reason’s behind this lack of quality, but as it stands I can’t recommend Tik Tok as a quality source of fitness information to well…anybody. Especially those new to fitness as they will be especially susceptible to the information being shared on the platform.

Here’s why you shouldn’t get your fitness advice from Tik Tok.

1. There’s no #nuance

Tik Tok is a short form media sharing platform. While there are definitely some creative ideas that can be pulled off in terms of short form fitness content, you’ll be hard pressed to properly educate people in a 15 to 30 second time frame.

That has not stopped people from trying. 

The problem with this is a lot of the videos end up lacking the necessary detail required to truly understand the topic being discussed. Fitness is anything but black and white and there’s a lot of grey area that’s crucial to understand. All that grey area gets left behind when you chop video times down to the bare minimum.

When fitness content get’s cut down to under a minute things start to get very dogmatic. You should ONLY do this exercise, you should ONLY do this program, this exercise WILL get you hurt, etc. etc.

We miss out on the fact that most fitness advice should be tailored to the individual in question, and there should be a reasonable explanation as to the “why” of why you are doing a particular exercise, program, etc.

2. Expertise is Scarce

I don’t want to gatekeep here. I love people learning about fitness and actively participating in the fitness community and I’d never discourage that kind of behavior.

That being said, the vast majority of people offering fitness and nutrition advice on Tik Tok are not fitness professionals, they are people that happen to do fitness. 

Difference being a fitness professional is someone who has spent years studying whether it be on their own, in higher education for a degree, or for any of the numerous training/nutrition certifications out there. More importantly, these people will have actual experience training real live human beings. Their whole life usually revolves around fitness, continued education, and teaching on a daily basis.

On the other hand you now have people that have fitness as a hobby easily able to provide “fitness tips” to others on a mass scale. Now some of these individuals can be well educated, but for the vast majority it’s noticeable they only have surface level knowledge into the industry. This can lead to bad advice getting shared with confidence some of which can actually be harmful.

3. Pandering to The Algorithm

In order to stay relevant on short form media platforms like Tik Tok you need to send A LOT of content down range. Whereas a professional YouTuber could be seen producing anywhere from 3-5 videos a week, Tik Tok creators will need to produce that same amount of videos per day to perform well.

This forces fitness Tik Tok accounts to keep pumping out the content, regardless of whether or not that content is 1. Good, 2. Truthful, 3. Helpful. or 4. Needed.

I actually don’t blame the content creators in this case. They are playing the game by the rules set up in the form of Tik Tok’s algorithm.

That being said this focus on quantity over quality has had a noticeable impact on the type of fitness content you’ll see floating around on the platform. Translation: It’s some hot garbage.

4. Fitness as a Spectacle

Similar to having to pander to the algorithm, new short form content has created a need to “stay relevant”. This requires constantly creating content that is, new, fresh, and exciting.

Problem being…there’s really not all that much to fitness. In fact, fitness YouTubers have already been recycling the same old content for years now and that’s for good reason…fitness is simple. 

A lot of quality fitness advice isn’t flashy, sexy, or exciting in anyway. It’s practical and it works. Unfortunately practical and boring doesn’t sell very well.

This has created a rise in Tik Tok content creators over complicating movements for the sake of novelty, creating solutions to problems that don’t even exist, and otherwise muddying what should be a very straightforward passion for the sake of views.

 

Matt Molloy

Matt Molloy

I'm a graduate the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Exercise Science. I’m a local guy (North Penn) and athletics has dominated my life. I've led teams in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and my passion, long distance running. I've been strength training for 6 years with a focus in power-lifting but have recently stretched to strongman since joining the pride here at the Den. When I’m not in the gym I enjoy, spending time with my friends, music, and relaxing and playing some video games.