Wesley Vissers discusses the power of social media in bodybuilding and how it can also set unrealistic expectations.
Whether or not social media has improved or degraded society is a debate that has been going on for the past decade. While this is a broad topic across the globe, it’s also hit home for the sport of bodybuilding. There’s no doubt that the instant access of social media has great benefits… but do the downsides outweigh the improvements? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Wesley Vissers explains how social media is essential for his bodybuilding success despite downsides.
In the world of bodybuilding, social media has given fans unlimited and instant access to their favorite competitors. Before the internet rose to popularity, the only way you could see a bodybuilder’s physique was through magazines (or physically going to a competition show). Now pro bodybuilders have direct access to their fans and vice versa. Within seconds a physique update photo can be delivered to millions of fans.
While this sounds like a great development, it of course comes with a new series of drawbacks. Social media addiction can effect the emotional state of a person based on just a couple of “likes” from anonymous strangers. Web has essentially killed the magazine and print industry. Not only that – but as social media and photo apps rise in popularity – so to do manipulations of photos through filters, lighting, and airbrushing.
What was once held as a key skill for graphic designers working on magazine covers now exists in the hands of every single person with a smart phone. While it’s not the same level of skill or talent – photos are becoming much less “real” than they used to be.
This is something that Wesley Vissers is very aware of. We asked him if he follows his fellow Classic Physique competitors on social media for physique updates. In his response, he claimed to not worry too much about what other bodybuilders posted. Of course he will see some posts as he scrolls through his wall – but he doesn’t purposefully follow his competitors as a tactic for adjusting his training.
The reason for this isn’t due to strong willpower. It’s because Wesley Vissers knows that photos you see on social media are not accurate at all. A bodybuilder has full control to manipulate lighting, angles, and use filters or apps to tweak a photo. Being reactionary to a competitor’s physique on social media is reacting to a physique that doesn’t really exist.
That’s a problem fans are facing as well when it comes to expectations. It seems more common now for fans to have contrarian opinions on who wins or loses a big show. That’s because they can now easily see photos taken the day after the show happens. But judges often warn that the photos look very different than what is seen in person at the competition. In a sense, we’re living in two separate realities.
That being said, Wesley Vissers is not against social media. Quite the opposite. He sees it as essential to his bodybuilding success. He sees a direct correlation to his growth on social media and the success of his business and brand. Even if he’s not posting about his products – simply getting more likes and follows as “Wesley Vissers” brings in more awareness and better conversions on sales.
It’s been long stated that most pro bodybuilders cannot rely on prize money alone. And sponsorships are not always easily handed out. That’s where the powers of social media comes in. Wesley Vissers is able to promote his own brand and start his own business. He doesn’t need anyone else to earn him money to support his pro career. He relies on his own physique and personality through social media to get the job done.
Ultimately, it seems that awareness is most important as we evolve into the next phase of social media dominating our lives. The positives just might outweigh the negatives – at least Wesley Vissers thinks so. But it’s important for us as a individuals to also be resistant to the illusions social media can create. “The grass is always greener” has never been more true than it is today. What we see online is not always what is true. If we can keep that in mind – these tools can be focused on more good than bad as we continue forward.
You can watch Wesley Vissers’ full comments on social media and bodybuilding by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!