The reality behind toned Instagram pics

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017, 12:29PM

Our Instagram feeds are constantly littered with images of buff, tanned women flexing for the camera.

The #fitspo movement has well and truly arrived, along with millions of women who love to push their bodies to their limits and compete in bikini competitions.

One of those competitors, Colorado woman Julie, is shedding some light on just how much work and sacrifice goes into those bodies, reported news.com.au.

She used to compete in bikini competitions in 2014 and says that kind of effort is not sustainable all year round.

"I was almost in the single digits for body fat percentage (not healthy), constantly cold, always thinking about my next meal because I was in a deep caloric deficit and couldn't miss a gym session," she wrote in an Instagram post which has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

"I also remember sending that exact photo to my coach asking him if I was ready because I thought I still needed to lose fat in my stomach ... like what?! Talked about a WARPED brain I had.

"The body on the right is a maintainable body. I am at a healthy body fat percentage, I am not constantly thinking about my next meal or stressed when things take priority over my workouts"

"I am strong, content and most importantly confident of the body I have built since 2014. This body is something that I can confidently say I can maintain for life."

She said the moral of her post was to encourage women not to compare themselves to images on magazine covers or bikini competition photos.

"99.9 per cent of them are either showing a VERY VERY VERY extreme highlight reel OR photoshopped. No matter how 'healthy' your approach is to the stage, it is an extreme. Plain and Simple," she wrote.

TURN THAT SOUND ON ladies, you need to hear this one LOUD-n-CLEAR. Since bikini competition season is is FULL swing this time of year and tons of people are showing their highlight reels from their bikini competitions on instagram and using them for program covers and advertisements, I felt compelled to show you my BEFORE and AFTER from the day before I won my #WBFF bikini pro card back in 2014 to today (happy, healthy and free with NO plans to compete in the future). Looks a bit backwards from what you think in your mind huh? It most likely will for over half of you. That is the fitness industry for you..showing you the highlight reel of what they call a "bikini" body. For those of you who have competed, you know what I am talking about when I say that the body on the left is NOT maintainable year-round. I was almost in the single digits for body fat % (not healthy), constantly cold (in the middle of JULY), always thinking about my next meal because I was in a deep caloric deficit and couldn't miss a gym session because "I was weeks out from my show". I also remember sending that exact photo to my coach asking him if I was ready because I thought I still needed to lose fat in my stomach...like what?! Talked about a WARPED brain I had. The body on the right is a maintainable body. I am at a healthy body fat %, I am not constantly thinking about my next meal or stressed when things take priority over my workouts. I am strong, content and most importantly confident of the body I have built since 2014. This body is something that I can confidently say I can maintain for life. Moral of this post: Ladies, do NOT...I repeat, do NOT look at all these bikini competition photos or magazine covers these next couple months and compare your body to theirs. 99.9% of them are either showing a VERY VERY VERY extreme highlight reel OR photoshopped. No matter how "healthy" your approach is to the stage, it is an extreme. Plain and Simple. BTW this is not bashing competing in any way, just stating the fact that competitors often tend to use photos from their competition photoshoot to advertise these bikini programs and it is just NOT right. #EndRant

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