Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 20, 2024 ·  3 min read

Why People Who Share Post-Workout Selfies May Have Psychological Problems

A study by Brunel University shows that people who share what they eat and how intensely they exercise, are most likely to be narcissistic.

There’s nothing quite like scrolling through social media to see today’s lineup of sweaty post-workout selfies and repetitive high-protein recipes.

Why do people do this?

Is the internet really dying to see proof that you went to the gym and ate a vegetable today?

A narcissist is someone who has an excessive interest or admiration of themselves while having a lack of empathy for other people. People with this personality are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding.

While there are plenty of ways to spot a narcissist. It has been found that behavior on social media can determine narcissism, and those who take part in this behavior are likely to have low self-esteem and crave validation.

Back in 2015, a group of psychologists studied 500 Facebook users. Their aim was to discover how much time these users spent on Social Networks, what their primary reason to post was and what sort of feedback they receive.

Of these users, 285 people stated that Facebook was their go-to network which they spent an average of 1.7 hours on per day.

During the study, researchers used what’s referred to as the “Big Five” personality model. This model of personality states how individuals vary in terms of 5 notable traits:

  1. Openness to New Experiences
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

These researchers determined which traits the subjects possessed, and were then asked what they posted about most often.

Extraverts were found most likely to post about their social activities. Those who were open-minded were most likely to post about intellectual topics. Conscientiousness users were typically sharing updates about their children.

Whereas on the flip side, narcissists were found most likely to publish something related to their fitness and physical appearance. These people not only post to seek validation but also to reveal how important their physical fitness is to them.

They were found to be bragging about their accomplishments and they would continue to do so because of the response they would receive.

A researcher pointed out, “people may like and comment on a friend’s achievement-related updates to show support, but may secretly dislike such displays of hubris.”

Another interesting finding was how people with low self-esteem were most likely to over-post about their significant other.

“Considering that people with low self-esteem tend to be more chronically fearful of losing their romantic partner, these people are more likely to post relationship-relevant information on Facebook, on the days when they’re feeling insecure,”. This study’s authors also notes, “it is reasonable to state that people with low self-esteem tend to update about their partner when their relationship feels threatened”.

Why Do Narcissists Do What They Do Online?

Narcissism is often based on a fear of failing or showing weakness – narcissists cannot fail or show weakness, they just can’t. This is why you would find a narcissist focusing on themselves through social media. They do this in order to prove to themselves that they are the best, to overcome their insecurities.

Here’s How to Spot a Narcissist on Social Media

  • They post regularly but never comment on anyone else’s posts
  • They only like comments made on their post if they are appreciative of them
  • They post a lot of selfies, especially with Snapchat filters
  • They only post self-promoting content
  • They would post anything to gain attention and will do so very bluntly

Now that you know this? How would you classify yourself, and people you follow?


  1. Facebook status updates reveal low self-esteem and narcissism
  2. The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates