Isaac Norris

Brafton’s Monthly Newsletter from the Social Team

Hello 2023! Here’s to New Year’s Resolutions, reinvention, reinvigoration. 
In this month’s newsletter, we’ll be focusing on the intersection of fitness and social media.

social newsletter january

In this month’s edition, you’ll find…

  • How Equinox axed “New Year, New You” in lieu of a controversial marketing campaign…
  • How #Fitspo and other “motivation” hashtags may actually deter you from health…
  • And a spotlight on a fitness apparel brand featuring their stunning organic growth!


Equinox, a luxury chain of gyms, rang in the new year with a controversial yet brave exercise in divisive social media content. 

While this approach to garnering new memberships at what could be seen as the time to do so is somewhat exclusionary, from a marketing perspective, it is a standout. 

On Instagram, the post has more than 5,000 likes and a plethora of comments calling out how negative this approach is. 

Speaking to The Drum, Will Mayer, the brand’s executive creative director said that “Equinox is not buying into the whole wishy-washy culture of feel-good resolutions.”

“Equinox exemplifies the belief that life is forged at the extremes, and because we are for people who constantly push themselves to those extremes, we can’t in good conscience support the ‘new year, new me’ movement that happens every January.”

And yet, people are still talking about it. What do you think? Advertising genius, or a swing and a miss?


Did you know that social posts using #fitspiration or #fitspo can negatively impact your mental health and actually discourage exercise?

On TikTok, #fitspo has more than two billion views and includes videos of people showing exercises, physiques, meal planning, and more. 

While all this content is meant to inspire, it may actually do the opposite. In fact, viewing this content can lead to feelings of defeat or lethargy. 

A 2019 study by BMC Public Health analyzed 180 participants, who answered open-ended questions regarding their consumption of fitness-oriented content. About 25% of the participants said they weren’t happy with their health or physique, and felt failure when consuming fitness content. 

Researchers in another study found that people who are motivated to exercise to change their appearance are less likely to see gains in body satisfaction. And if people don’t see the expected results, they are less likely to be motivated to work out.

However, another study found that people who exercise for enjoyment, stress relief, wellness or for competition were more likely to work out than those focused on appearance. Consciously rethinking the “why” behind their workouts, and moving from appearance goals to function and mobility goals, proved to be more beneficial and ongoing. 

Bottom line: comparison is the thief of joy—workout for you, your health, and how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror.


One brand I personally enjoy following is @gymshark! Not only is this an excellent fitness apparel brand, but when it comes to social media content, their team knocks it out of the park. 

What started as a small screen-printing operation borne out of founder Ben Francis’ garage in Birmingham, UK, Gymshark has now become a well known fitness apparel powerhouse of a brand, valued at more than £1 billion in 2020.

Becoming such a recognizable brand didn’t happen by accident. Instead of spending big on social ads, they decided to invest in relationships and community-building.

Francis homed in on his favorite Youtube and Instagram fitness influencers, like Nathan, and realized that their followers are Gymshark’s target audience. 

The brand then sent clothing samples to their favorite fitness stars on social media, eventually sponsoring them to promote Gymshark to followers organically.

This approach led to more followers (their Instagram profile is currently sitting at around 6 million) and incredibly high organic engagement, averaging around 67K likes and 294-ish comments per post.

While Equinox may take a more exclusive approach to fitness and wellness, Gymshark takes a more open, accepting approach. On their channels, they showcase people of various body types, with different fitness goals and aspirations. 

The brand incorporates memes, Spotify playlists, and fitness influencers of all kinds while promoting their product. Check out some of their content below. ⬇️


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