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How real is being real?

I apologize in advance if this month’s letter comes off as a bit critical, or worse, cynical. If you have followed the changes to Iron Man magazine, you may have noticed that we love photographing our models and athletes in their element, bringing out the best in them, and allowing them to be who they are, rather then creating a polished version of what we think our readers might like. Nothing beats a real image, a real feeling. We have even completely moved out from the former Iron Man studio because I want a real gym environment; real blood, sweat, and tears; and real Iron Addicts around our photo shoots. And what could be a better place for that than Metroflex Gym, Long Beach, owned and managed by Eddie Avakoff, who I’m proud to have onboard as one of our columnists and bloggers introducing hybrid training to our readers. If you ever question whether or not this type of training works or if you ever want to find out how fit you really are, please join us for one of our workouts at Metroflex.
The downside of being out there in real life is meeting and observing so many Instagram, YouTube, and other social media fitness
celebrities and self-proclaimed experts. You read it right: downside. Seriously, guys, you are selling a fitness lifestyle to your followers that usually go together with hashtags such as #beastmode, #realtalk, or #aesthetics when in fact you spend 80 percent of the time at the gym taking photos of yourselves, finding the right angles, lights, and photographing so
much weight on the racks that you barely manage to get it off the ground for one rep. This ritual is followed by hours of post-production and retouching to gain the maximum amount of likes, followers, and views. I have some news for you: This is not real and you are not contributing to our industry in a positive way by creating an illusion as a fitness expert or aesthetic god or Insta-celebrity. There is a big difference between becoming famous because you are passionate about what you do versus faking a passion because you want to become famous.

My point is this: Choose wisely who you look up to. In order for our industry to continue growing and being accepted seriously, we need to aim our spotlight on real Iron brothers and sisters who actually leave their heart and soul on that gym floor. If you are an influencer and you have a following, please take responsibility by being real and true to your friends and help them achieve their goals, rather than simply lusting after their likes and comments. It will benefit both you and our industry in the long run.
This issue is also very special to me since I shot my first Iron Man cover and the entire cover story of Jason Wittrock. I really hope you enjoy the new style and vision.

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