#fitspo on TikTok: Describing fitness trends in social media posts


TikTok has emerged as one of the most prominently used social media platforms in the era of digital media. The application continues to attract and engage younger audiences who continue to develop their body image from various social media platforms. To date, the #fitspo has been examined across other photo-based social media platforms to explore fitness and health content. However, it is unclear how the #fitspo is being utilized to convey information about fitness and health behaviours on TikTok. Therefore, this study used a content analysis with the purpose of describing and characterizing the visual, textual, and verbal content associated with the #fitspo on TikTok. To address this aim, 250 TikTok posts were extracted. Based on empirical evidence, the posts were coded using the following criteria; type of video (e.g., original, duet, stitch), source of content (e.g., individual creator, verified creator, organization etc.), video content (e.g., person or people, food-related etc.), gender, age group, race, body-type, clothing type, body exposure, behavior and location, objectification, food, and verbal messages. Emerging themes suggest that the #fitspo is closely related to content on outfit inspiration, instructional workout content, and hubristic general appearance-related and weight loss content. These findings suggest that the #fitspo may not be completely capturing fitness related content, and this warrants further inquiry. Additionally, these findings also suggest TikTok may be perpetuating body-related ideals that may foster harmful body image among users.