Every great fitness journey begins with inspiration. Whatever the story, whatever the goal, a defining moment often kickstarts change for the better. Whether the plan is to lead a healthier lifestyle, lose weight or build strength, someone or something usually presses the button for us to go full steam ahead. Before you know it, you’re lifting heavy dumbbells in vibrant gyms, running 5ks on sunset-lit roads, and drinking protein shakes with your breakfast.
So, who is this ‘someone’? It could be a friend or family member. But in this digital age, it’s more likely to be a fitness influencer. Instagram, YouTube and TikTok are brimming with stars we aspire to. And it’s not just the new workouts we eagerly await. Watching them live their best lives hits the mark on a daily basis. And here at Bulk™, we partner with some of the best influencers out there who inspire so many of us every day.
But while the influencers we love are authentic and genuine, there are those who might be giving us a distorted view of what fitness and a healthy lifestyle look like. And it’s not just influencers either, but everyone. The growing trend of body editing apps that allow you to change the way you look in your posts plays a pivotal part in this.
What are body editing apps?
Body editing apps can change your appearance in a number of ways, some of which we’ve detailed below.
- Making your muscles look bigger
- Giving you a flatter tummy
- Creating more defined abs
- Removing scars or stretch marks
Why do people use body editing apps?
These apps make us look like we have the bodies we think we ‘should’ have (whatever the ‘should’ means), but one that very few people actually have. In many cases, the bodies they create are not a particularly realistic or healthy-looking image. When posted online to people who may not know us, a whole new version of ourselves can be created.
And it’s more common than you might think. In fact, it’s pretty likely that you scrolled past a picture that was edited using body editing apps today.
How popular are body editing apps?
With many of these apps being free to use, anyone can access them. But just how popular are they? We carried out some research to find out just how pervasive body editing apps have become. By tracking the number of searches made each month, we found where these apps are particularly popular. During our research, we discovered a number of insights.
- The countries in Europe where searches are highest
- The parts of the UK where apps are being looked up the most
- How the UK compares to the rest of the world
Top 10 Countries in Europe
We started our investigation by looking at searches for body editing apps across Europe. Which countries are searching for these apps the most? The UK wins hands down, with 23,510 times a month. That’s almost 800 searches every day, or one every two seconds. In fact, in the time it’s taken you to read up to this point in the blog, there have been at least 100 searches made.
Germany came second with a significantly lower 16,770 searches per month, followed by Italy with 14,770, and then France and Spain.
Body editing apps are changing the way people view themselves and others across the continent, but particularly here in the UK. Individuality and a healthy-looking body are being skewed by apps that create an unobtainable image that has us all looking the same.
Top 10 Cities in the UK
Here in the UK, we can dive even deeper and see which cities have the highest number of searches. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the capital comes out on top. London is the city with the highest number of searches at 11,690 each month. That’s almost half of all UK searches.
The runner-up cities display substantially lower figures, with Birmingham at 3,680, followed by 3,060 in Manchester and 2,840 in Glasgow.
Typically, we tend to trust influencers more when they’re closer to home. Looking at the UK figures, we need to be mindful that what we see isn’t always the truth. So instead of viewing your body positivity through the prism of what you see online, it’s important to view it through your own personal goals and what makes you feel happy and healthy.
Top 10 countries in the world
And where does the UK compare to the rest of the world? Despite our dramatically lower population, the UK ranks number four, behind the USA, Brazil and Indonesia.
Images of some of our influencers in body editing apps
So we decided to put this process to the test, with the help of some of our influencers. We ran their pictures through a body editing app (with their permission, of course). In each case, you’ll see two versions of the same image – the original and some minor tweaks (which vary between subtle and quite shocking).
Just to be completely clear – our influencers do not use these apps. Emily, Alex, Hayley and Tristan have kindly agreed for us to ‘enhance’ their images in order to raise awareness.
First up is Emily Gervasio. On the left is her original photo. The right shows some subtle tweaks, that an everyday user could make, with just two edits of the app. Realistic and believable, but not how she actually looks. In this case, we created a third image, in which we made the same amount of edits that correlate with how many times people in her home country (Italy) are searching for these apps (14,770). Obviously, no one would make themselves look like this, but it perhaps shows us how distorted this worrying situation has become.
Below are images of Alex Crockford and Hayley Madigan. On the left are the genuine photos from their Instagram feeds, and the right shows a few edits that are a little more noticeable than those of Emily. The change to Alex’s torso is significantly different, but also believable. As for Hayley, a lifetime of walking lunges wouldn’t achieve this look.
Finally, we have an untouched image on the left from Tristan Defeuillet-Van’s Instagram, with some changes on the right. His guns have gone up a notch, but again, alarmingly believable.
The popularity of body editing apps is also only likely to increase as the pressure to conform to a certain body type continues. So it’s never been more important to think differently about body positivity. It shouldn’t come from the bodies you see online, but from the goals you set yourself to become happier and healthier. And no matter what you’re trying to achieve, we’re with you every step of the way.
Maintaining body positivity with Bulk™
Whether it’s our protein powders, our packaging or our messaging, transparency still remains at the heart of everything we do. Spreading the message about body positivity is an important cause and as a brand that leads by example, we feel it’s vital to raise awareness on just how prevalent these apps are, and how it’s so important not to compare yourself to what you see online. We want to help everyone reach their own goals and help them on their own unique journey to improve their lives in a healthy way.
We believe in sharing, and we’d love to know what you think, so don’t forget to tag us in your creations using Bulk™ products. Check out @bulk for more recipes, ambassador workouts and tips. Join our community of fitness lovers and foodies by tagging #TeamBulk.
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