If you work out regularly and are making great progress, you should be proud. Most of us want to share this elation by posting pictures of our shapely arms or rounded butts in celebration. It’s only natural now that so many of our closest friends and family members are more easily reached via social media. This being said, there’s a big difference in posting such things for your closest kin and posting these things for your entire network.
One of these is a no-go.
Professional or Not?
If you are a personal trainer or work full-time in the fitness community, these pictures are expected. They are verifiable evidence that you know what you’re doing because you have achieved the results you’re promising to help others achieve. Because of this, you are expected to have these shots. From full body shots where more skin is showing than not to up close studies of your individual muscles, these are your portfolio.
If you are anything but a professional trainer, do not post these photos on unsecured personal media sites. While impressive, they have nothing to do with your chosen field. If you post them for everyone to see, you’ll begin sending mixed messages to coworkers, bosses and clients as to what you do. Your professional life and your personal life need to have some division in this sense, otherwise the business persona you’ve tried for so long to build up will be deconstructed almost instantaneously.
Working on Focus
Keep in mind that workout photos are not inherently bad, especially if you’re looking to share your journey with others. The biggest reason they serve as a detriment to your career is that is draws focus away from your endeavors in the field you are working in. You may have written great papers and published countless successful articles, but none of these will matter if focus is shifted to the physical aspects of your body. Such photos imply that your validation is based on physical achievement, not intellectual – something that can easily be misconstrued as pompous or pretentious.
As disheartening as it can be, posting workout picks for your industry to see devalues your worth as an executive. Companies, coworkers and clients are expecting you to be able to compete in that specific industry’s arena successfully. Health and fitness is a different arena altogether, making it appear that you are trying to promote your current industry’s skills by a different method not everyone else can use. It’s like trying to underline your prowess in math by writing an essay on the history of the English language. While you could argue a connection between math and writing, it would be strained at best.
Even so, your personal achievements should not go unrecognized. After all, if you’ve taken a photo and are proud of what you see, you should have a safe place to share it with those that want to see you happy. That means keeping your social media sites private, never sharing them with anyone at work.
Luckily, all major social media sites give you privacy measures. Have these set so that only those you are directly connected with can see your posts. As a word of warning, though, make sure those that can see your posts can be trusted. After all, some coworkers will inevitably become your friends, and you’ll want to share personal information with them. Should this happen and that coworkers begins sharing photos of you that should have remained private, warn them to stop. If they don’t, simply block them from your social media sites. Yet, this is often “too little, too late” so as you connect with people who you’re active with in your work life – proceed with caution.
A best practice:
Whether you use Facebook or Instagram to post your more personal pictures, get used to saying, I use that private site for only family members. Keep in mind that there’s nothing really private on social sites. If you post it, it can be copied, downloaded or screenshot. But, if you do have a close circle of friends or family members you are having an exercise challenge with; or they’re your support system and encouraging you on; or they’re a group you want to stay more connected with personally – then consider creating an Instagram account that’s private. And, for Facebook, you might want to create lists of people that can only view certain components of your Facebook page and certain pictures. These slight changes are the ounce of prevention that can serve and protect your personal brand.
Play It Smart
In the end, no one can tell you what not to post. It all comes down to your better judgement. In terms of business acumen, simply ask yourself if the post directly relates to the persona you are working toward in the business world. If it doesn’t, either don’t post it or keep it private. If it does, share away. People appreciate your achievements within an industry so long as they are notable and help advance the business. If it doesn’t, it’s only a distraction. Respect your audience, and they’ll respect you.