Transformation photos are the main sales driver of the fitness industry. Gyms and personal training facilities share unrealistic and unsustainable transformations they claim serves as motivation. Ultimately, these 'transformations' leave you feeling like you should want to change your body. The fitness industry preys on this expectation they’ve created for you. They preach challenges and quick fixes to get you that look, which doesn’t provide a long-term sustainable solution. This behavior is toxic because, newsflash: you will never look like another person in a photo because you are you, not them. Heck, they might not even look like the person in the photo.
At Garage 1880, we believe the harm transformation photos provide severely outweighs any sort of potential motivation. Let’s get into why transformation photos are unhelpful.
Why transformation photos are harmful:
1. Transformation photos tell 1/100 of a story in two photos. Someone could appear their leanest or fittest, yet may not be eating enough, experiencing body dysmorphia and/or anxiety, be feeling weak and/or immobile, or feeling like shit in general.
Only looking at a change in photos could be cherry picking vs looking at what truly matters most: how you feel.
2. Most of the transformation photos we see claim to come from 12 week challenges which can be very misleading for many reasons. To start, fitness isn’t just for 4, 8, or 12 weeks; it’s for life. Transformation photos may get you started with motivation, but motivation won’t last forever. Seeing these 12 week transformation photos set this false narrative that you should change your entire life in a very short amount of time when Garage1880 believes that lasting change comes from slowly adding positive habits into your life.
3. Transformation photos specifically focus on changes in weight. We’re here to tell you that weight is not the only reason people workout. In fact, most benefits you receive from working out go far beyond weight change. Fitness is helpful for gaining strength, building muscle, increasing endurance, managing stress, improving sleep, and maintaining or enhancing bone density.
4. Transformation photos don't show what happens in between the “before” and “after”. It just states, “lost 20 lbs in 12 weeks!”.
It doesn’t say whether it was done healthily or unhealthily.
Someone could lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks by eating only chicken, broccoli, and rice for dinner every night with one weekly cheat meal, or by consistently eating foods they enjoy.
Someone could lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks and develop horrible sleeping habits or sleep like an angel.
Someone could lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks by taking unnecessary supplements or by eating real food.
Someone could lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks while skipping out on all social outings or by maintaining a healthful social life.
Someone could lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks while working out safely and efficiently or by engaging in unsafe training environments.
Someone could lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks and manage stress or completely derail stress management.
A photo can’t capture how someone gets from A-Z, so what we end up doing is assuming they feel great when who truly knows.
5. It can paint a picture that once you hit your goal, your fitness ends there. It doesn’t address how you’re feeling, adapting, sleeping, gaining strength, increasing mobility, managing stress, or eating to fuel.
In our opinion, transformation photos are misleading and harmful.
This is why you won’t find transformation photos as part of our personal training marketing here at Garage 1880.
The 'transformations' you’ll see and hear from our clients are ones who have improved their mobility, strength, exercise form, and overall lifestyle for the long haul. Not for 12 weeks, not for 6 months, but for the future.