At some point, you’ve seen someone snapping a gym selfie by a weight machine or right after they got off the treadmill. You don’t have to lie—you’ve considered posting one yourself.
But what should you wear? Are you supposed to snap one before or after your workout? Does it matter where you take the photo? Indeed, considering—and posting—a workout selfie can make you self-conscious.
Still, there are many powerful reasons to go ahead and do it. A gym selfie is empowering. Not only are you showing off your dedication to physical fitness, but you’re also showing that you love and embrace your body. It’s not just about getting a few “likes” (though that certainly doesn’t hurt the self-esteem), it’s about celebrating your efforts and furthermore, holding yourself accountable.
Ready to flaunt your fit self? Follow these guidelines for some Instagram-worthy gym selfies.
Location, location, location
The environment plays a key role in taking a substantial selfie. Avoid the locker rooms — not only do they make for a boring backdrop, but it’s also where other gym-goers are changing and chilling out, and you want to respect their privacy.
Instead, opt for an empty section of a room with free weights, a window opposite the treadmills or the corner of a dance studio — really anywhere where you’re sure there won’t be people in the background. If you’re taking your workout outside, you’ll have even more opportunities for some interesting backdrops, like against a tree or near a lake where you’re stretching post-run (extra points if there’s a stunning sunrise or sunset in the shot).
Find your lighting
As a general rule, natural lighting is your friend when it comes to flattering photographs. This holds true with workout selfies as well.
Why? Because it offers crisper, sharper shadows, and that additional contrast means your muscles look more defined.
Finding good light can be more difficult in a gym than in many other places. Our suggestion is to try to find a spot near a window.
Show off your style
A sweat session is also an opportunity to flaunt your style. You probably think about the ensemble you’re wearing for other photos you post on social media, so why should your fitness selfies be any different?
Don’t shy away from fashion-forward sports bras, like ones with cutouts, mesh, or fun patterns. You’ll likely want one that’s made of moisture-wicking material, especially if you plan to take your selfie post-workout — after all; you don’t want any pesky sweat stains showing through.
Try using tools
Your smartphone camera has tons of features that will prove to be helpful when taking your selfie, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of them. Play around with the brightness, sharpness, contrast and color saturation, as well as the highlights and shadows, to get your optimal aesthetic.
Most smartphone cameras also feature a built-in timer, which can be helpful if you don’t feel like holding it in your hand, or would prefer to use your arms for a complex yoga pose or holding dumbbells or a barbell. All you have to do is prop your phone up on a surface and choose the seconds that you’ll need to get into your desired position before the camera snaps a shot.
By the way—don’t be shy about using a selfie stick if you have one. You might feel self-conscious, and we totally get that. But honestly, your fellow gym-goers will probably just assume you’re an important influencer and not think twice about it.
Many selfie sticks come in a set with a mini tripod and remote, which allows you to set up your shot exactly how and where you want it.
Strike a pose
Selecting the perfect pose all comes down to which part of your body you want to show off. For example, if you’re dying to show off all the hard work you’ve put in on your glutes, opt for a side view, which will draw attention to the curve of your behind. On the other hand, placing your hands on your hips will emphasize your arm and shoulder muscles — the biceps, triceps, and deltoids.
Keep in mind that whatever is closest to the camera automatically appears more significant — so you can cleverly adjust the camera angle to draw attention to specific body parts or muscle groups.
Confidence is key
The most important thing to remember is that a workout selfie is about so much more than showing off how your body looks at a particular angle. Don’t get in your head that other gym-goers or people scrolling through their Instagram feed might be judging you — those concerns will only get in the way of you snapping a shot that shows the most confident version of yourself (and believe us, that confidence will come across in your photo).
Speaking of confidence, don’t let yourself pass an hour obsessing over the best possible lighting, location or angle. Snap a few shots, and then get to the important part: your workout. After all, there will be many more opportunities in the future to take new workout selfies and show off your progress. For now, it’s all about loving your body and giving it some much-deserved attention.