Molly, aka @progresspure started her personal fitness journey after being inspired by transformation pictures of girls across Instagram. Less than a year later, the 20 year old History student has managed to connect with over 65 thousand people, building personal relationships and life long friendships along the way. After undergoing her own physical and psychological transformation and discovering what really worked to achieve results, Molly has recently published her own 12 week strength training ‘Curve Guide’. Focusing on compound exercises, interval training and macros the guide is ensured to build lean muscle, lose fat and create a feminine curve by shaping your glutes, thighs, waist and shoulders. Encouraging girls to see fitness in a positive and empowering light as they step up to the rack.

I decided to open up an account in March 2015 after being madly inspired by ‘transformation’ pictures of girls my age who had plucked up the courage to get a pair of Nikes on, slip into their lycra and change their life for the better.

Prior to this I had tried countless times to stick to ‘clean eating’, ‘only fruits’, ‘no carbs past 5’, (basically a million different diets which promised a smokin’ hot bod by the end of it) but I constantly kept failing. I had tried my whole teenage life to bring around my health and fitness habits, I always wanted to be that girl who ENJOYED the gym (did they exist?!) and who actually liked eating red peppers, broccoli and… oh okay throw in some quinoa! I usually had these momentous epiphanies that the healthy way was the only way after ordering a Dominos and tub of cookie dough. Without having anyone to disappoint but myself, I failed every time at managing to incorporate the fitness lifestyle into my own.

After a bikini holiday in March 2015 it dawned on me how near Summer was and I became aware once again, that I would either have to change something about my lifestyle or continue feeling ashamed and disappointed in my unmotivated mentality towards health and fitness.

I’ve never been overweight or looked ‘bad’ but it was never about the way I looked, but more so the way I felt about myself and how that was reflected by my body. Everyone should love their body, no matter what shape or size. For me, I was never going to love my body if I didn’t respect my body, and the way for me to respect myself is to work hard. Let’s say you’ve got an exam, and you know the exam is coming up so you revise extra hard, harder than you could have imagined and you ace that test. That proud feeling of being able to wear your success on your sleeve is how I see fitness. Your body is a reflection of your goals, ambitions and determinations. And in March 2015 whenever I looked at my body I felt demotivated and disappointed at all the times I had given up along the way. What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how you look, whether you have those rock hard abs, love handles, big booty or legs up to Mount Everest, if you don’t love yourself it doesn’t matter who else does.

After creating a fitness account and experiencing all the ups and downs I can safely say that getting an account is one hell of a motivator for 3 reasons:

  1. Friendships
  2. Positive Pressure
  3. Criticism

The number one beneficiary I am most grateful to Instagram for is the support I received and the friendships I’ve made (yes, real friends! Not those cyber fake friendships). I recommend going to your ‘real girl’ inspo pages, those girls who tell it like it is, who enjoy their cheat meals, rock those messy buns, aren’t afraid to sweat and who are well, basically badass. Check out who comments on their pictures as they are usually awesome girls who have also started a fitness account and are looking for more people to connect with in order to inspire and motivate. Get talking to girls who are on your wavelength and find out what they do to stay motivated, what are their tips and tricks and how could it benefit you?

I promise you these key relationships I made at the start of my account is the thing which kept me dedicated in the beginning, and trust me when I say that the first 6 weeks are the hardest. These connections and bonds formed with other people are one of the most positively unique friendships you can make. Solely because you have both become friends in order to encourage and motivate one another on their journey. Instagram helps you feel like you are in a team and that you’ve got people rooting for you to be a better version of yourself, so the journey changes from a lonely one to a shared experience with women just like you.

This leads me onto my next point, pressure. Because of these friendships you want to see each other succeed, if your insta friends are getting into their workouts then it motivates the hell outta you to get to the gym! When you first start your fitness journey, the beginning is definitely the most challenging period because that’s when you’re really transitioning your life from a dominos and ice cream one (well, for me anyway) to a kick ass/ ‘go-getter’ one. So scrolling through your fitness account and seeing all your main girls posts about getting in their workouts makes you realise that hey, people all around the world are doing this fitness thing. They’re not complaining or giving in and so why should I? This positive pressure, as I like to call it, is the key factor in bringing about success; you don’t want to let down those people who are counting on you, and its actually pretty fun posting a picture on Instagram but it’s even better when you can attach a positive caption with it, telling people about your workout which you conquered. It didn’t happen if nobody saw it right? I know this isn’t exactly logical but psychologically, if you can tell peeps you’ve worked hard and then get praised for it – it makes getting sweaty all the worth while.

My last point is criticism, which I struggled with a bit at the beginning. When I started my account I made sure to not put my name anywhere, I even used a different email address just in case someone could find me. The point is, if you create an account people will find it, I don’t know how or why, I think we have cookies to blame (or thank), but either way it will get uncovered.

Unfortunately for me the first people who found my account were people I wasn’t friends with so I had to endure some pretty embarrassing mocking. On the outside looking in people criticised me for only having about 300 followers, cheesy captions, embarrassing hashtags and of course, ‘before’ photos all over my account. I was humiliated at the time but it forced me to address something incredibly important, I had to make the decision of whether I let people’s criticisms get to me and delete the account, or I not give a damn about other people and their judgements and get on with my life. Even though this was a tough decision, I’m sitting here thanking cookies for embarrassing me. It was a decision which I now make sure to live my life by, to truly not let anyone else’s judgements effect my own life choices. Without becoming Kelly Clarke here, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I believe you’ve got to have some fire and determination in you to pursue a fitness lifestyle on social media.

60 thousand followers later, my own workout guide and incredible new founded friendships, I’m happy I chose to ignore the haters. Okay, yes it was originally embarrassing when someone found my account, but you have to address the question as to why that is and why has society (especially British culture) made us feel like we’re doing something wrong if we demonstrate an ambitious attitude to change our mental outlook and therefore physical appearance for the better. One reason why I love Instagram is because it is very clearly giving a platform to normal women and helping us visualize fitness as an empowering tool. No longer do I associate the gym with excessive cardio, hungry workouts and calorie burning. But rather as a therapeutic space where I can sculpt my body and watch myself grow physically and mentally. And I have Instagram to thank for this, all those motivational posts and inspiring captions DO something to you. You might not think it at the time, but if you’re scrolling through these positive messages at least 5 times a day (yes I am addicted to my phone, woops, did I mention there are side effects?) then along the line you’re going to start feeling that there actually is a very real and positive way to live a fitness lifestyle and that once dreamed of image of the girl who loves the gym is actually you.

Words by Molly Teshuva

Follow Molly on instagram: @progresspure

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