The Psychology of Social Sharing

If you have ever cyber-stalked a stranger’s wedding photos, screen-grabbed a hairstyle of someone you have never met or posted a gym workout to Facebook just to prove you went – then this post is for you.

Hello. My name is Kate, and I am a social stalker.

The Internet loves us for this exact reason – everything we do online is a form of stalking: from re-pinning, re-posting and re-tweeting. I can honestly say I have learned more skills by browsing content online than I did during my twelve years of school. I know the best Facebook pages to go to for fitness advice, the best Twitter handles to follow for fashion and beauty advice and the best boards to follow on Pinterest for décor and gardening tips.

What is it about this social sharing phenomenon that has the world using the Internet like it’s a drug? For me personally, I am inspired daily by the amazing content other people create and share every single day. When I see average people doing exceptional things it’s like a virtual kick up the backside for me – I too want to do exceptional things. When Felix jumped from Space I can guarantee that not many people went ‘meh’ and forgot about it. Somewhere, that act of bravery (or stupidity for those with acrophobia) sparked a small flame in everyone’s hearts and minds.

For some it’s as simple as pinning a weight loss story, which leads them to working out, eating healthy, and losing weight. For others, it’s learning precious conception advice from communities and starting a family. Regardless of how people use the Internet, the majority of us use it to better and empower ourselves. There is something pretty amazing about sharing a success story, and having the world support you in return.

A very popular movement in social sharing, and one of the platforms which stands out for me, is a local weight loss community named ‘Sleek Geek’. The brainchild of Elan Lohmann, the mission for him was a personal one – to lose weight and get healthy by including those around him for motivational support. It turns out that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to tackle the challenge. Hundreds of people joined and committed to working together to get healthy. The group has now taken off so much that Elan has quit his corporate job, and taken up Sleek Geek as a full time career. The concept humanises weight loss, allows you to share your stories, your successes and failures, and let’s you work towards a personal goal within a group dynamic.

Sleek Geek is just one of the many platforms designed for social sharing out there. Five, ten years ago if you wanted to achieve something you found a friend and used them as your buddy, your sponsor. Nowadays we embrace virtual friends online and join in a cause with them. There is a reason why so many apps post our progress to social sites – we crave that recognition from doing something ‘more’ – whether it’s going to gym, buying a new house or getting a new job – sharing is caring. And we want to share it with the world.

Do you know what gets me up every morning to go training? Knowing that I have told several thousand people online that I will be racing Half Iron Man next year. With that kind of pressure on me, there is no way I won’t be doing everything in my power to finish that race.

*Post originally published on www.cerebra.co.za

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BSG Triathlon Series

After months of training for each discipline I finally merged the three and took part in my first triathlon. It was the Hartabeespoort leg of the BSG series. The distance is what’s known as a ‘sprint’ (600m swim, 27 km cycle and a 5 km run)

I hated the swim and almost got out the water after having a mild panic attack. It was my first open water swim, and having several hundred bodies crash into you, pull you down and kick you while you battle to breathe is very uncomfortable. I walked/breaststroked most of it. the cycle was brilliant and I loved every second – it also helps when the route is fairly flat. Pity about the no-road closure as I found myself waiting behind some slower riders at times. The run felt like I was walking backwards in cement shoes, but I finished in a decent time. 

Swim – 15 mins

Bike – 57 mins

Run – 27 min

To overcome my fear of the water I’m taking part in another sprint tri this Sunday.

Less than 3 months to Half Iron Man!

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Sleek Geek and Half Iron Man

To make up for doing absolutely nothing that was even remotely interesting in the last few weeks, I have decided to repent with a bang and challenge myself to probably my biggest event yet. Somehow between a bottle of wine last weekend and a bit of heckling from 15 post Comrades runners I committed to doing the Half Iron Man race next year. After a small vom (nerve, not wine induced) I pulled up my big girl panties and decided life’s too short to say no to a challenge and decided to give this my best shot. I also reckon the biggest reward at the end will be looking slim and sexy in spandex, not an easy feat.

The Half Iron Man race consists of a 1.9km swim, 90 km cycle and 21 km race. I am so lucky to know a few awesome people, doing this race and have 2 fabulous training partners for most of it, Barry and Eryn.

The training seemed to start almost immodestly, so I was literally thrown into the deep end on day one (hello swimming pool mid winter). I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend with several Iron Men under his belt – gosh that sounds rude – and his trainer who is so specialized he makes chuck Norris look like a janitor. Their input into my workout plan has been invaluable.

My training at the beginning consists of the following :

Monday : 1 km swim
Tuesday : 1 hour spinning class
Wednesday : 1 km swim
Thursday : 3 km run and an hour Bootcamp class
Friday : Off day. This means the heaviest lifting I will have to do is pouring my wine into my glass.
Saturday : 2 hour spinning class
Sunday : 8 km run

So far week one has gone pretty well, but I am nervous for the weekend part. Acknowledging that my morning lie-ins are now a thing of the past has cut me deep. I also know I better suck it up because this training is apparently very basic, and it will only get worse going forward.

I’m also hoping this exercise will pay off with regards to the Sleek Geek change I’m currently taking part in. The diet has been going well and I’m surprised I haven’t yet tripped and fallen into a family sized pizza considering this shite weather. Wait, when I say well I mean I haven’t gained any weight. I still however weigh exactly the same as I did 3 weeks ago. FML.

The below pics are of me full of joy upon acceptance of my quest. And also my heart rate – how not to do it – monitor, after lasts nights Bootcamp.

Happy Weekend!

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(Skinny) Bitch, Please

This is the anti-cupcake post. I need to get off the carb train and hit veggie central. You know those Kellogs Special K ads where they show ladies trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans by twisting themselves into various unnatural positions? That was me this morning. You also know that feeling when you see a reflection of a chubby person who looks a bit like you. Then realise it is you? Ya…

Luckily for me the Sleek Geek challenge is kicking off on Monday, and having heard various (awesome) things about it, I’ve decided to give it a go. The fact that I have to pay to enter, upload a before photo and actually change my body in 8 weeks is motivation enough.

The Sleek Geek challenge is open to pretty much any willing South African who wants to get off the couch and give their best body, their best shot. I have entered in the ‘toning category’ and so far there are 40 contestants who have signed up. The loot will be split at the end, so the potential monetary reward at the end is also a huge motivator.My end goal is to lose around 6 kilos. And to not wear jeans on the beach in December.

There are no rules as to how you can lose the weight, so each contestant is encouraged to find a programme/diet that works for them, and go with that. I’m pretty fit as is, running/gymming/mountain biking at least 4 days a week so all I need to do is stop eating food for a small village, and I should be OK.

Weigh-in and measurement is this Saturday. No, I will not post before pics. Well, maybe…but make sure you aren’t eating at the time.I have posted a pic of me currently, and 4 years ago form a magazine shoot. I want to look like that again.

If you are keen to enter or check it out, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Gym Class, for beginners.

Yesterday I was dared to try out a new class at gym, on my own. The class was kickboxing/aerobics and required three things, which I do not possess ;

1) rhythm

2) Co-ordination

3) The ability to watch a man perform an exercise and then repeat, while facing a mirror.

Thank the dear sweet universe there were no cameras filming me, but to give you an idea of what I looked like, see below.

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