Personal trainers Joel Catala and Annie Vallius are concerned about the unrealistic advertising images of online coaching. Now they tell what kind of tactics are adopted in these.
Such results in just four weeks!
This is how 28-year-old personal trainer Joel “Jocke” Catala may advertise his training using the pair of images below.
But this will not be true.
Actually, these pictures are just two days apart. The one on the left was taken after a long shift. Kaitala drank a liter of lemonade before the picture was taken and she puffs up her stomach for the camera. The light doesn’t highlight the muscles at all.
The photo on the right is re-taken after a gym workout from an optimal angle and body covered in self-tanning lotion.
It doesn’t look like the same guy at all!
Kaitala says she herself was surprised by the stark difference between the photos.
If you know the tricks, you can do wonders in two days, he says.
Entrepreneur, Boss Lady podcast host, and personal trainer Annie Valias, 35, knows her tricks, too. She once posted some pictures on Instagram, the one on the left is the original, while the one on the right was processed in a few minutes with a free photo editing application.
– I got rid of cellulite by tapping on the place where I wanted to smooth the skin with my finger, says Valius.
Retouching photos is very easy these days. Anyone who knows how to use a smartphone can do this.
The illusion can be created even without actual image processing. One very specific method, says Joel Catala, is to use, for example, Instagram’s darkening filter, which makes the subject tanned while emphasizing shadows and muscles.
Another way is to adjust the lighting. Joel Catala doesn’t look as tight on the beach in natural light as he does in dressing room ceiling light. The reason is again the shadow.
A third way to emphasize muscles is to bring the subject closer to the camera, making it appear larger than it is.
Muscles are also stressed immediately after training.
– when the so-called bar pump or beat pump is on. When muscles are full of blood, they look completely different, says Catala.
When a muscle is filled with blood, it looks completely different.
What does it matter that social media is full of edited pictures?
Catala and Valius’ concern is that not everyone knows what is being done with the pictures. Young people in particular may be susceptible to the unrealistic ideals that edited images conjure up to viewers.
– When I was young and it wasn’t cool yet, I only saw good-looking people in magazines and imagined that was the only reality, says Valius.
Vallius began to feel insecure about his body. That’s why they also posted their ravishing pictures on social media.
– I thought that if I, who has spoken publicly about this matter, falls into such a situation, how many others do and how many do not realize how easy it is to do?
This phenomenon has been noticed abroad, especially in Finland to some extent. For example, Vallius has spoken in favor of body peace and body positivity. That’s why he has published pictures on his Instagram account showing his “belly sausages” from years ago. Although they are owned by almost everyone, Valias admits that it was not easy to publish such photographs. The idea that only a certain type of body should be presented is so strong.
Men have not actively participated in the discussion. Joel Kaitala doesn’t know of any Finnish men other than himself who have raised this issue.
– The general understanding was so low that I wanted to pioneer, says Kaitala.
Catala reminds us that it’s not just image editing. Popular fitness images usually depict a man who starts training because of his genes. Few people have, even in theory, the possibility of achieving the same body. Such an image often attracts a lot of attention – and therefore may end up in your social media feeds as well.
— these kinds of things easily lead to and create feelings of inadequacy, says Catala.
This article is not intended to stop anyone from posting smoothed or edited photos of themselves on social media. It’s everyone’s own choice, but you should still be aware of the unpleasant side effects associated with it.
Image manipulation becomes more problematic when marketing services. For example, if pairs of pictures before and after the training program are augmented by Joel Catella’s list. It can be thought that in reality the consumer is being pulled a bit.
Vallius and Kaitala often seek coaching from personal trainers and fitness influencers who are sold with pictures or pairs of images that are not comparable.
Catala urges people to look, for example, at a pair of before-and-after pictures, to see whether they were taken in the same location and under similar conditions and lighting. What about clothing and other small details? Vallius says that by simply lifting the edges of the underwear, for example, you can achieve miracles. A raised edge can give the impression of a slimmer body.
– This should also be exactly the same condition, so that the pair of pictures gives a realistic picture of what has actually happened to the body.
If it isn’t, Catella thinks it’s misleading.
– That’s how I would formulate it, says Catala and adds that he certainly has seen a lot of factual and real transformation photos and photo pairs as well.
Transformation images and their marketing always emerge after the start of the year, when people are encouraged to train for “summer fitness”.
This spring, fitness influencer and personal trainer Erna Hasko’s four-week butt challenge, which she also promoted with her own pair of before-and-after photos, has sparked buzz. The Challenge is practically an online training where, as the name suggests, the focus is on the buttocks, but the program also includes upper body and HIIT workouts. The challenge also includes diet.
Kaitala has taken an approach on her TikTok account Jokke_PT similar to how Hasco has marketed its coaching by promising big changes in a short amount of time. In Catala’s opinion, it’s not really a training program, but a quick diet and toning regimen.
Catala herself strongly believes in the permanent results brought by the regimen, which become visible in as little as six months or as long as a full year. He generally barks at the fact that a few months before summer, training is marketed through “summer fitness.” According to him, it is impossible or at least very difficult to develop in a sustainable manner in a short period of time.
Vallius doesn’t want to take a stand on any individual coach’s programs, but he has experience with overshooting, which was based on the idea of getting in shape quickly for the summer.
– I remember when I went to high school in early May to fast and lose weight to get “summer shape”. I didn’t eat for five days then, Valius says and recalls the desperate measures at the time.
Erna Hasko previously commented on Ilta-Sanom that the challenge aims to achieve a good feeling through exercise and a clean diet.
– You can choose whether you have a lack of energy, in which case you aim for weight loss, or whether you eat according to your consumption, in which case you maintain your current weight and with the help of training Modify your body composition, Hasko said.
The market is gendered in a particular way. None of the personal trainers interviewed for this article recall ever having seen a solo training program aimed at men, one that is of short duration and focuses on a specific muscle group.
Vallius thinks the men’s equivalent of the “buttock challenge,” for example, could focus only on bench press results and increasing the girth of the biceps, which would sound a bit odd.
Joel Catala reminds us that personal trainer is by no means a protected professional title. The industry is “a bit of the Wild West” for him.
– Anyone can set up a company without a license and call themselves a PT, reminds Catala.
They fear that most consumers are not aware of this. Catala encourages those interested in the services of a personal trainer to inquire about the trainer’s background and whether a license is available.
– If I want to work as a psychotherapist, I must have an education. It should definitely be the same here.
Anyone can set up a business and call themselves a PT without a license.
What do personal trainers want to say to young people – and why not older people too – who see pictures of incredible fitness hunks or beauties online and feel inadequate?
The message of both is clear: You shouldn’t compare yourself with others. Especially for the kind of person who presents themselves on social media using only the best angles, photo editing, and other enhancements of the digital age.
—If you want to buy coaching and feel better, of course there’s nothing wrong with that, Vallius reminds.
— but if the motivation comes from a concern that you have to conform to a certain mold and try to be a perfect social character, then the starting point is not the right one. Should be left through welfare.
Furthermore, Valius stresses that when you see “flawless” photos of social media influencers selling training online, you should remember that this person is working out and just showing off their toned body for work. .
Most of them have work or studies. Could be kids or any other life. Some can train as a profession.