Fitstas and Finstas emerge as new trends on Instagram

Stephanie Bias, IV Leader Assistant Culture Editor

Two new trends have recently emerged on Instagram, a social networking app that allows users to share photos. Many users are now creating additional accounts known as “fitstagrams” and “finstagrams.”

A fitstagram, meaning “fitness Instagram,” is an Instagram account dedicated to an individual’s fitness journey. Posts may include different workout plans, favorite healthy foods or stories of personal success and failure.

Hannah Engel, a sophomore from Mendota, created her fitstagram, or “fitsta,” almost one year ago. Engel has enjoyed documenting her journey to become a happier and healthier version of herself on Instagram.

“I love my Instagram because I can help other people and it has given me an outlet to post about some of the things I love,” Engel said.

“When I first made it, it was more to keep myself accountable for my actions. Then I began researching food, fitness and different types of workouts, and I absolutely loved it,” she continued. Engel’s fitness account is nothing like her regular Instagram account.

“On my regular Instagram, I mostly only post when I’m doing a certain thing or look a certain way. On my fitness account, I post whatever and rant about anything I want because it is more about how I’m feeling,” Engel said.

The honesty of her fitstagram is what allows Engel to connect with her followers.

“[Followers] love when you talk about the days you have cheat meals or don’t feel like going to the gym. They have been following your journey and know that if they decide to eat a bad meal or skip a workout, it isn’t going to ruin their progress. I feel like the honesty aspect of it is what is truly motivating, because when [your followers] see you keep on going, it makes them want to keep going,” Engel explained.

Engel predicts that this is a trend that is going to continue to grow, and she encourages other site users to create fitstas of their own.

“It’s a place to say how you really feel and post about your own personal progress,” Engel said.

In addition to fitstagrams, Instagram users are also creating finstagrams.

A finstagram, meaning “fake Instagram,” is a separate Instagram account where users post funny and embarrassing photos that they would not usually post on their regular accounts.

Finstasgrams, or “finstas,” take the stress out of Instagram. Many users spend copious amounts of time photographing, editing, and writing captions for posts in order to define and maintain their social media presence. For many young adults, how they appear online is just as important as how they present themselves in person.

In contrast, finsta users quickly snap and upload photos, forgetting fussy filters and well-developed captions. According to Mallory Bima, a sophomore from Oglesby, finstas are essentially “relaxed Instagrams.”

Bima created her finsta five months ago and continues to update the account regularly.

“I made my finsta because one of my friends who goes to University of Illinois said that they were popular within her sorority,” Bima explained. “At first I posted embarrassing selfies of myself, but now I use it to post pictures I wouldn’t normally post on my real Instagram account. However, nothing inappropriate.”

Bima only allows users whom she knows personally to follow her account.

“The reason why I only allow my friends to view my photos is because I know they would find the posts funny. They don’t judge my posts,” Bima said.

Makenzie Zulkowsky, a freshman from Oglesby, also created her finstagram after seeing her friends do so. Zulkowsky enjoys the relaxed feeling of her finstagram account.

“People make finstas for all sorts of reasons and they don’t have to worry about the likes,” Zulkowsky explained.

Zulkowsky sometimes feels pressured to hold her regular Instagram account to a certain standard, but her finstagram helps relieve some of that pressure.

“I made a finsta so I could post about my real self and what I really enjoy doing with my friends. I may not necessarily want everyone to see these posts,” Zulkowsky said. “I only post pictures on my real Instagram if they’re nice, cool pictures because that is how I want to be portrayed to everyone else, I suppose.”

Many Instagram users feel pressured to present themselves in a certain way on their regular Instagram accounts, but fitstas and finstas can help individuals feel more relaxed about social media. Instagram allows users to invent and define themselves online, and with 600 million users as of Dec. 2016, fitstas and finstas will surely not be the only new trends to emerge in 2017.