Recently, I put up an Instagram Story asking people how long was between the before and after picture. The answers varied dramatically, some said it took 6 months, some said 2 months, some said it was a year, and some (mostly fitness professionals) said it was only minutes apart

And the fitness professionals were right, the two pictures were taken a minute apart, but most people thinking they took 2 – 12 months, were people not in the fitness industry. Trainers have a good perspective for this type of thing, and know what to look for, but people outside of the industry don’t always have this type of B.S. detector.

Unfortunately, we can’t believe everything we see online when it comes to “before and after” pictures.

Taking progress pictures is a great tool to measure how your body changes. It allows us to see how the body is changing through exercise and lifestyle changes. Personal trainers have used this for years as a way to shift the focus from just looking at the scale, to looking at body composition.

However, there are a lot of different ways to manipulate these pictures as well (without using photoshop) to show “results” that might not have actually occurred. Some “Personal Trainers” will use these to mislead people into crappy programs and spend hundreds of dollars on something that won’t actually help them see results.

So here are a few ways you can “improve” your before and after picture in just a few seconds:

Stand with better posture & flex

By simply standing with better posture, our bodies change dramatically. We look more confident, leaner, and look like we have better developed shoulder (imagine if we worked on our posture for real…). Add on top of that flexing your muscles will help look significantly more muscular. Hell, even smiling and looking happier will significantly help make your “after” picture much more appealing to people.

Improved Lighting & Camera Position

Ever find that perfect lighting for a selfie? The same goes for before/after pictures.

By changing the lighting in the picture, you can dramatically improve the way you look in pictures (plus things that look brighter are much more visually stimulating to look at). The same can be said for camera positioning. Angles can be everything when it comes to a photo and how people are perceived to look.

Adding Tanning Oil or Trimming Hair

Tanning oil helps make us shine and shimmer, and once again helps with the lighting of the photo. This also makes us look more tanned, and in most cases shows off more musculature (see bodybuilding shows). For men, trimming their body hair can help show off more defined muscles, but some take it a step further and will actually use different sized trimmers to make them appear to have better abdominals… yeah, it’s a bit excessive.

These are just a few ways that people can manipulate these pictures. Keep in mind, most of what you’ll see on magazines and in tv shows are photoshopped. A lot of time people will religiously diet and exercise prior to these pictures, and not live their everyday lifestyle. All this list and that’s without mentioning quick changes to the diet or exercises to get a “pump”

Be wary with online results you see however, there’s a good chance that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Before & After’s can be a great tool for you to measure progress, but they need to be done consistently in the same setting for the best effect. Have someone else, or a personal trainer, take a look at your before & after pictures, because they’ll most likely be able to spot differences you don’t see in yourself.

If you’d like to find a fitness approach that helps you reach your goals, and sustain your success, make sure to click here and set up a consultation with RK Athletics for Personal Training or Online Coaching that will help you live life to the fullest.

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CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer