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OPINION: "Gym-Tok" is taking over our lives

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Caitlin Claypool | The Daily Wildcat

Students wait in line to enter the University of Arizona North Rec Center on Wednesday, Jan. 27. 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by Chloe Ting, “gym-Tok” or the butt-scrunch leggings.

*raises hand*

The workout side of TikTok has held us in a chokehold for the last year and a half. After the first two weeks of “spring break” after COVID-19 became a serious matter, people went straight to work. Many of us somehow decided to spend our extended spring break glued to gym-Tok, the 12-3-30 workout and Ting’s 2 week shred.

Did you notice a change in your body movement since the pandemic began? Are you more or less active?

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Currently, there is an open-discussion on TikTok about how to protect your mentality when it comes to body image. Influencer, Mik Zazon, dedicated her social media accounts to “#NormalizeNormalBodies.” Zazon herself went through many stages of life trying to become a fitness influencer and in her case, she was taken to the ER. The influencer had a realization that she needed to go into recovery, “after 6 years of bulimia, binge eating disorder, and orthorexia.”

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Many, including myself, have created a better mentality in choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, physically and/or mentally.

Sharing personal experiences regarding body image online can hinder how others perceive their own lives. There was an influx of TikToks about Ting’s workouts, with some swearing they work. I followed the trend because what else was I supposed to do with all of my free time? 

I saw a change in my body, and I craved to change my eating habits and the movement I would get in one day because of how much better my mentality was. Workout routines and videos about how to track my macros along with healthier substitutes to my meals were so helpful and they are completely non-exclusive.

Changes in routines are tough and we have gone through many throughout the last year. Staying indoors wasn’t healthy for my mentality, so having an outlet like TikTok was great. It was a place where those who are in the same boat can share what works and what doesn’t. I think body image was so affected by this wave of content because there were real people with similar traits being candid about their bodies. Although some feel as though TikTok is not the place for those who are recovering from body image issues, their stance is understandable as gym-Tok can sometimes be unmotivating

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Not allowing gym-Tok to hinder your mental health is sometimes difficult because we face the idea of wanting to be "that girl.” As cheesy as it is, you have to remain true to yourself and what works for you. It’s impossible to take someone else’s daily routine and expect it to fit in your life without any tweaks. My best advice is to try out new forms of body movement to see what you like best and slowly incorporate it into your daily routine.


Follow Jacqueline Aguilar on Twitter



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Jacqueline (she/her), born and raised in Arizona, is a senior studying digital journalism and information science & eSociety. She spends her days with her two huskies, Chemino and Roma. Jacqueline enjoys hiking and is a coffee enthusiast!


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/20)
702 10 1.4%
Total (8/2)
40,959 623 1.5%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated October 20, 2021