Leta Stevens


Why I Won’t Be Posting Posed vs Relaxed Pictures

The Instagram fitness community is seeing an overwhelming trend of body positivity and self-love at every stage of the “get fit” process. While I love that being BoPo is SO hot right now (it should always be in style, IMO), I’m not on the Posed vs Relaxed bandwagon — and won’t be jumping on it at all.

This isn’t to put down anyone who has posted a selfie of the like, with one side showing you posed at a good angle and good lighting next to a picture of you non-posed, relaxed, just like you are in “real life.” I do believe these posts were all made with good intention. They were posted in an effort to be transparent in the fact that the majority of Instagram feeds, especially those of Social Media Influencers, are posed + curated to increase engagement and follower counts. To show the people that are following that you aren’t always working with a good hip-to-booty ratio pose, your abs aren’t always flexed, and the lighting isn’t always flattering.

The intentions are good. And honestly, I love the transparency! But, if the message that is trying to be conveyed is “Don’t compare yourself to my highlight reel because I don’t even look like my highlight reel all of the time” wouldn’t it be more beneficial to our followers to just simply post more non-flexed, relaxed, natural selfies?

Most of the posed vs relaxed pictures have captions that reiterate that the person posting the picture does not see one as good and one as bad, just different. But… if that’s sincerely the case and the relaxed isn’t a picture where you think you look bad, why aren’t you posting that picture?

The comparison of the two, in itself, implies to your followers “I like this posed one and always post selfies like this, but I typically look like the relaxed picture, and despite the fact that I don’t look bad in the relaxed picture, I’d still rather post the one where I’m posed.” And if you’d rather post one over the other (as you do according to your feed), then your followers would infer that means you DO prefer one over the other.

Instead of making it a comparison, why not just post a picture of you looking like… you, in all of your beautiful, non-posed glory?

Instead of prefacing the caption with “Not flexed and not posed”, why not just post it without feeling the need to vocalize to your audience that you are not flexed or posed? Making it known that you are not doing those things is almost as if you are saying “I know I don’t look as great as I do in most pictures, but that’s because I’m not flexing or using my angles.”

If the message we really want to convey is, “I’m not perfect, I look normal when I’m not contorting my body to show my best angles,” then why not just share more pictures where you aren’t contorting your body to show your best angles?

I read a post the other day, from a woman who is clinically obese and uses her Instagram platform to promote Body Positivity and self-love. Her post conveyed a message that she was not pleased with some women using their thin privilege to convey how “we all have rolls when we sit down” (I’m sure you’ve seen these posts on Instagram, too). Even with the stomach standing vs tummy “rolls” sitting trend on IG, I believe the intentions were good — the way of conveying it just misses the mark. It’s almost as if you’re saying, if you sit down and have tummy “rolls” it’s okay because I do, too. But what about those people who have tummy “rolls” no matter if they sit or stand? Are those rolls okay, too? OF COURSE THEY ARE! But that isn’t the message that’s being sent.

My intentions here are not to criticize those who have made these posts, because I do believe they came from a place of good. I believe they came from a place of love and wanting to promote body positivity to followers. I’m just wondering if we should think more critically about the way these comparison pictures are perceived by those who aren’t “fitness models” with relatively low body fat percentages all year-round.

As those who are promoting fitness, we must understand that there will be people who look up to us who are NOT considered to be at a healthy weight, and the way we speak and talk about our bodies reaches women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. So if you’re a fitness model or fitness influencer with a really large reach, I urge you to keep promoting self-love, body positivity, and fitness… but I also strongly urge you to look at how your messages may be perceived by the women who look up to you.

I think we can all do better in the transparency department. More non-posed, non-flexed pictures will be gracing my Instagram feed.




5 Tips to Stick to Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

The new year is the perfect time to turn a new leaf and make a fresh start. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions that are health and fitness related (I definitely did). Whether you’re trying to start a new diet or commit to working out, it can be hard to start a new lifestyle from scratch. Here are some tips to help you keep your New Year’s fitness resolution.

1. Drink More Water

One of the quickest ways to eliminate unnecessary calories and sugar from your diet is to simply drink more water. Try to drink 1oz per pound of body weight each day. One gallon is 128 ounces, so if you weigh 128 pounds, shoot for one gallon. A lot of people mistake dehydration for hunger. Keeping a water bottle full and with you throughout the day can help combat hunger pains as well as keep you hydrated.

2. Prepare your meals in advance

I know the idea of “meal prep” seems extremely tedious, but trust me it beats the alternative of going into “oh sh*t, I don’t have food, what am I going to do? How am going to stay on track?” panic mode. Make preparing your meals a scheduled event in your weekly routine. Whether it’s cooking food in bulk on Sunday afternoons or preparing all of your meals for the next day at the same time each night, making it a routine and scheduled activity in your day or week will make meal prep easier to complete. (Need meal prep ideas? Check out some of the recipes I’ve posted in the Food section of my site.)

3. Eliminate trigger foods from your house

Everyone has that food (or foods in my case, yikes!) that if it is in arms reach, it will be devoured before the night is over. Maybe it’s flavored peanut butter (guilty!), candy, or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s… whatever it is, don’t keep it in the house! You know you have no self-control with this food, so why put yourself in a position to a) be constantly tempted and tortured looking at it in the cabinet or fridge or b) set yourself up for failure. Does this mean you should completely cut this food out of your life completely? Heck no! Have it in moderation, of course. But that is much easier to do when you don’t have the food at home. If you’re trigger food is ice cream, make a trip to the nearest Coldstone for a cone, but don’t buy a tub of ice cream so that it stares you in the face every time you open the freezer.

4. Stay Ready

It is so easy to make excuses to not stick to your diet or skip the gym. These days it’s almost too easy… long day at work, too tired, too sore, didn’t have time to prep your meals, your commute took longer than normal, etc. Preparation is key, fam! Just like you have your meals ready for the day, make sure that your gym bag is pre-packed and that you have your workout planned in advance. Knowing exactly what you’ll be working out (or what fitness class you’re taking) will save you time at the gym as you won’t be lolly-gagging (does anyone say that anymore? Can I bring it back?) around the weights and machines because you’ll have a plan to stick with.  Having your bag ready the night before means you can just grab-n-go in the morning, whether you’re working out before work or after work, you won’t need to worry about running home to change. This will also combat the “I went home after work to get ready for the gym and I just decided not to go” occurrences.

5. Schedule Your Day

It’s already been alluded to, but scheduling your entire day is probably the best advice that I can give you when it comes to sticking to a new fitness and diet regimen. A healthy lifestyle change can seem like it’s too much to manage at first, but if you sit down and schedule out your week in advance, you’ll see how much time you really do have to dedicate to yourself. Fail to plan, plan to fail! Every Sunday afternoon while my food is cooking, I’ll get my planner out and look at my week. My workouts are meetings that cannot be cancelled or skipped, so if I have after-work activities to attend, I’ll make sure to move my rest day to that day. I’ll also review my workout split to make sure that I have enough workouts scheduled to match my split (i.e. if I have 4 workouts to do, I schedule for 4 days, if I have 5 workouts, I schedule 5 days of my “gym meetings”).

If one of your new years resolutions was to jump back into the fitness game, use these 5 steps to stick with it and get the results that you want. You deserve it!

Happy sweating, #fitfam!



Workout Wednesday: Shoulders

It’s funny that I initially wanted to start this blog to tailor it around fitness and instead, it has more morphed more into me talking about life experiences, my perspective on self-love and mindset, even a handful of healthy recipes, with very few posts in the “fitness” section of my site.

I want to change that!

I am starting a new series called Workout Wednesday! Twice a month (hopefully more regularly down the road) on Wednesday I will post a new workout.


To kick off the inaugural Workout Wednesday — I thought I’d start with my FAVORITE muscle group: SHOULDERS!

Here’s how I’ll break the workouts down for you:

  • Name of exercise, equipment, numbers of set x number of reps
    • I.e. Shoulder Press (exercise), dumbbells (equipment), 4 (number of sets) x 10 (numbers of reps)

The higher the rep range, the lower the weight. The lower the rep range, the heavier the weight.

Easy enough, right? Okay, good.

Now let me throw my not-so-experienced lifters a curveball. If an exercise is listed with // in between the name of another exercise, this signifies a superset, or set in which you do a set of two exercises for the listed number of reps with no break in between. Instead, the rest is taken after both exercises are completed.

  • I.e. Lateral raise // Front raise, dumbbells, 4×10
    • This means you’ll do 10 lateral raises and immediately do 10 front raises before resting and doing it again for 4 sets, instead of doing 4 sets of lateral raises and 4 sets of front raises separately.

Also to note, a dropset is where you do as many reps as possible with a certain weight and when you hit failure, you go down in weight and repeat. Doing as many reps as possible until failure and drop the weight again. Typically, I’ll drop weight 2-3 times. Dropsets should be done with little to no rest in between sets.

Delt Workout

  • Quadset (this quadset is courtesy of Dana Linn Bailey! It is done like a superset except with FOUR exercises straight through, no breaks until all reps in the set are done! This one is a killer but I love itttttt! 😉 ) Overhead Press // Behind-the-Neck Press // Front Raise // Upright row, weighted barbell, 4×10
  • Shoulder press, dumbbell, 4×10
  • Lateral raises, dumbbell, 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, 1×8
  • Arnold press, dumbbell, 4×10
  • Incline shoulder press, dumbbell, 4×12
  • Reverse cable flyes, cable machine, 3×15
  • Face pulls, (use rope attachment) cable machine, 4×12
  • Lateral raises, dumbbell, 1×8, 1×10, 1×12, dropset to failure
  • Battle ropes, 4×30 seconds


Give this workout a go and let me know what you think!

Not sure how to properly execute any of the above exercises? Bodybuilding.com has an incredible database of exercises that lists you can look at that breaks down each exercise for you! This exercise database is an incredible resource for weightlifters of any experience level. You can access the database here .


What do you want the next Workout Wednesday to feature? Legs, back, arms, core? Maybe you want some HIIT cardio variations? Let me know in the comments below!