How Instagram is Influencing Girls’ Fitness Goals

The health and fitness industry is booming like never before, and it’s using Instagram to sustain it’s prominence.

Personal trainers, athletes, yoga instructors, fitness models, lifestyle gurus, and amateur fitness enthusiasts with massive followings find themselves spearheading the fitness movement inside the Instagram app, which has 700 million active monthly users.

The societal shift in recent years towards health consciousness is changing people’s attitudes towards diet and exercise, especially women’s, and they are looking to Instagram’s fitness influencers for guidance and motivation.

Until recently,  ‘skinny’ was the ideal female body type and it was widely believed that doing long hours of cardio was the most effective way to reach that ideal. Now, according to Instagram, the ideal is a body that is lean and strong with visible muscle definition. This is evident through the popular trending hashtags such as #strongwomen (2.8 million posts), #strongnotskinny (4.7 million posts), #strongisthenewskinny ( 1.2 million posts), #strongissexy (1 million posts), and #strongisbeautiful (400 thousand posts). Some of the most popular exercise regimens to achieve this new ideal body is weight training and HIIT, both of which have their own niche community on Instagram.



Weight Training

It is becoming increasingly common to walk into the weights section at the gym and see girls lifting heavy; Instagram plays a huge part in this.

#girlswholift is a wildly popular hashtag with 15 million posts and is representative of the surging popularity of weight training for women. The top fitness accounts that promote weight training built their platform by debunking the common myth that ‘”girls get ‘bulky’ by lifting weights”. They often stress that girls do not have enough testosterone to reach the ‘bulky’ stage, and it is only possible if one takes steroids. Weight training is one of the most effective ways to reach the new Instagram ideal body as it is a type of strength training that focuses on building lean muscle. Surprisingly, it is extremely effective for weight loss as well.

The top accounts who promote weight training offer beginner advice, meal ideas, transformation pictures, motivational advice, a peek into their daily lives, nutritional education, and of course, workout ideas.

Tammy Hembrow, an Australian mum of two has garnered an impressive 6.5 million Instagram followers. She actively promotes weight training and has her own fitness program available at With her lean abs and muscular legs, it is easy to see why she is a popular mentor in the fitness community.

Whitney Simmons is a young fitness guru who actively posts weight training exercise ideas targeting specific muscle groups. She also shares her vast knowledge about the complicated world of weight training with her followers, such as the importance of supplements like protein powder, glutamine, BCAAs, how to count macros, how to meal prep, etc. Her fun and quirky personality makes her extremely likable and with over 600,000 followers, Whitney is a fitness influencer to look out for.

Nancy Gonzalez is another up and coming fitness enthusiast, with over 250,000 followers. She has lost over 90 lbs with a workout regime focused on weight training, and documents her journey on her Instagram. She shares her workouts, exercise and diet tips, and acts as a source of motivation to her followers. Though she does not appear to be the conventional fitness Instagramer, she is popular due to her weight loss results using weight training. She is proof that weight training indeed helps lose weight, and is a viable option to help achieve a dream body.



High interval intensity training is another popular exercise regimen that Instagram users have flocked to. HIIT is an extremely effective calorie burner, and it’s time efficient as well. This type of exercise is characterized by brief intervals of high intensity activity, such as running, followed by a short rest period. This is repeated for a number of times and is much more effective than long periods of moderate cardio for weight loss. HIIT is often paired with body weight exercises, and the combination is found to bring amazing results. HIIT is being used by millions of Instagram users to achieve the ideal body, and the results are truly motivational.

Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines with 6.9 million Instagram followers is the creator of the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program, a HIIT focused 12 week program that helps women achieve a ‘bikini body’. BBG is an extremely successful workout guide, it can be purchased from stores such as Walmart and she also has her own app called Sweat for her BBG clients.

Kayla has created an entire community on Instagram for her BBG clients. They use Instagram to support and motivate each other using specific hashtags to connect with other BBG girls who repeat the 12 week program continuously until desired results. #BBG (5.6 million posts) #bbgcommunity (2.2 million posts) #kaylasarmy (2 million posts)

One reason Kayla’s program is successful might be because of her clients’ impressive transformation photos, which Kayla features on her Instagram account weekly.


Instagram is a place where girls can easily access workouts, get fitness advice, inspire, and motivate each other to live a healthier lifestyle. With the rise of weight training and HIIT on Instagram, the Instagram fitness community provides followers everything they need to achieve their dream bodies.



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