If you thought your favorite strength athletes, coaches, and, uh, influencers (?) were already obsessed with Instagram, it’s only just begun. Today, the social media giant — which is owned by social media mega-giant Facebook — announced and rolled out the release of Instagram Stories, a near-identical clone of Snapchat Stories. For an industry so focused on sharing big lifts, training tips, and general happenings both in and outside the gym, this is actually pretty big news.

For those not familiar, beyond sharing disappearing messages with friends directly, Snapchat allows users to post photo and video “stories” to their platform, which are visible to all their followers for up to 24 hours (and can be watched again and again). Instagram just released (close to) the exact same thing, right down to giving users the ability to add emojis and hand-drawn doodles on top of the content.

While Instagram recently opened up slightly longer-form video posts (the previous cutoff was 15 seconds, now certain accounts are allowed to post up to 60 second videos), the IG Stories are, much like Snapchat, capped at 10 seconds.

So what does this mean for the fitness industry, or strength sports in particular?

1. For one, expect more content, especially from individual influencers who are already in the practice of giving you a look into their daily lives. Stories will likely be a bit more raw, unedited, and unfiltered instead of the “finished” products or permanent posts.

2. Brands may take longer to catch up, as they aren’t necessarily tied to a single person and might feel a bit more reluctant to document the relatively mundane tasks of things like order fulfillment, equipment manufacturing, and content writing (we know a bit about the latter).

3. Expect a (probably temporary) downturn in Snapchat usage among fitness folk. Instagram almost cloned Snapchat’s Stories format, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll replace them entirely. Fitness industry fans and celebs have had more time to curate Instagram followings — the platform is a bit older, after all — but they’ve also been pushing hard into Snapchat territory. Now, they’re at a crossroads: Which platform should they prioritize?

It remains to be seen if IG will take a big bite out of Snapchat’s user base, but other social networks have weathered similar storms of copycats: Facebook survived the short-lived rises of both Google+ and Ello, for instance. But with so many strength enthusiasts glued to their Instagram profiles already, there’s now one fewer reason to leave that app to get their short form content elsewhere. 

As powerlifter, YouTuber, and fitness commentator Meg Gallagher (@megsquats) put it in her first Instagram Stories post:

“Anybody else feel like they’ve been wasting their entire life away trying to grow their Snapchat following?”

Featured image: Instagram

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