Scroll through someone’s Instagram feed and see if you can find any “fitspo.” Odds are, you will. Fitspiration, often shortened to “fitspo,” has become a popular social media trend, especially on the photo- and video-based app Instagram. Fitspiration is the social media hashtag or phrase associated with images of toned bodies, sometimes with inspirational messages, meant to motivate viewers to workout. Every day, Instagram users are liking, commenting, and following fitspo accounts and content. With the popularity of fitness inspiration, some Instagram users have profited.

Courtesy of Instagram.com/jenselter

Courtesy of Instagram

People like Jen Selter (@jenselter) and Alexa Jean Brown (@alexajeanfitness) have become internet celebrities because of their fit bodies and ability to market their lifestyles. Though Alexa Jean Brown markets herself as a working mother who also stays fit, many of these internet fitness celebrities’ career seems to be solely that. Social media has become a communications and marketing paradise for both companies and lifestyle experts alike. People who only used to work out are now getting paid to post pictures of it.

It’s no coincidence that Jen Selter posted a picture using FitTea or that Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines) posted a photo of custom Nike running shoes. It’s endorsements at their finest. Though endorsements via Instagram are not exclusive to the fitness world, they have certainly grown in popularity due to an increasingly health-conscious world.

Ashley Millerick, agent to the Instagram-famous Paige Hathaway, told Forbes, “Now more than ever as a society we are conscious of our health and fitness.  All of these things considered, I think the category of ‘fitness model’ and other similar categories like bikini competitor, will only continue to gain popularity along with the women that are successful at them.” And with this increasing popularity of “fitness models” comes increasing endorsement deals.

Paige Hathaway is sponsored by SHREDZ, a nutritional supplement company. In fact, SHREDZ solely uses social media to market their products. Creator of SHREDZ, Arvin Lal, recognized the ability for likes and engagement on Instagram and harnessed the power of social media marketing. The Instagram-celebrities are able to capture the large followings, and the companies benefit.

For the Instagrammers themselves, this type of advertising pays, and depending on how famous you are in the Instagram-world, it can pay a lot. Though not associated with fitness, Lis Eswein, the face behind @NewYorkCity, demands $1 per like for every sponsored Instagram post. Because of how lucrative this business can be, agencies are being developed to represent Instagram-celebrities. Started by Instagram-celebrities Brian DiFeo and Anthony Danielle, The Mobile Media Lab’s sole purpose is to connect the Instagram communities with companies and brands. This idea has proven to be successful, as The Mobile Media Lab generated more than $1 million in revenue in 2013, their first full calendar year in business.

Instagram has become the hidden face for social media advertising, using already famous accounts to market new products and ideas, especially in the health and fitness sphere. Companies have targeted consumers interested in improving their fitness by hiring Instagram “fitness models” to do their advertising for them. It’s a new age of “celebrity” endorsements. If Jen Selter is drinking FitTea, maybe I should too.

Stay tuned…

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