This is Wellness Ted.
He’s an ‘unqualified PT’ and ‘knowledge-free nutritionist’ public figure, taking the Instagram fitspo scene by storm, one bowl of sausages and beans at a time.
When he’s not in his Primark sports bra, he’s better known as Ted Lane – a journalist for Men’s Health magazine.
‘I’ve seen firsthand the rise of the influencer and work with a lot of them at work to create some cool content,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Social media is, well, everything these days. However, for every great trainer who really knows their stuff, there’s an avocado-obsessed maniac talking garbage.’
‘For the past 18 months, I have been mostly known as “Wellness Ed’s boyfriend”, which basically refers to my other side hustle – apart from a burgeoning career as a micro-influencer – and that’s Instagram husbandry.
‘My girlfriend is Amy Hopkinson, the Digital Editor at Women’s Health (#powercouple), who has something mad like 25k followers, and so I spent the formative months of our relationship taking pictures of her nonchalantly flexing her trademark abs, or laughing with salad – you know the script.’
But Instagram husbandry hasn’t come without its challenges.
‘But I learned a lot. I was a sleeper cell embedded within the wellness cult. Eventually, armed with a pink sports bra and Sharpie I decided it was time for revenge…’
So, with that in mind, what inspired you to set up Wellness_Ted?
‘My Instagram husband role armed me with the skillset to succeed, but the real inspiration came from the wellness scene as a whole.
‘But it’s not clean eating per se that I have in my crosshairs, more so the recent holier-than-though backlash. If you’ll allow me to get even slightly serious for a second, the #cleaneating movement is so obviously toxic.
‘Cutting out entire food groups to lose weight, unnecessary calorie restriction and over training are all stupid, negative messages that, sadly, put a lot of people at risk of an unhealthy relationship with food. That much is obvious. However, in response to this, the lean, lycra-clad twentysomethings on Instagram spend their whole time now talking about how they eat whatever they want.
‘The happy clappy inclusiveness is totally insincere and it annoys me. They may be tucking into a big doughnut on social media, but you know that to maintain their 5% body fat they’re probably left with a dinner of bulgar wheat and ice cube relish. They think it’s doing everyone a favour, but what about when their followers eat whatever they want but don’t end up looking like a fitness influencer? How will they feel then? It’s a load of bollocks.
What do you think are the most ridiculous aspects of the online fitness scene?
‘Difficult question! But my short list would be:
1. Instagram v Reality comparison shots
2. No make-up selfies when they’re clearly using the Perfect365 app
3. People’s obsession with butts
4. Brunch – all of these fitness folk are up so early surely they should be eating breakfast like normal people, rather than waiting ’til 11 o’clock to make their poached egg and avocado seem more sophisticated?
You genuinely look in great shape yourself so are you actually a secret fitness devotee?
Why thank you. But maybe that’s the Sharpie six-pack illusion.
In all seriousness, I am a member of the scene I so love to take the piss out of – to an extent. When I started at MH I was a fat journalism student with a predilection for kebabs and, according to one clever machine, the metabolism of a 40-year-old.
I then did one of our 12-week transformations and, in response to the pressure of sharing a cover with Chris Hemsworth, got in pretty good nick. Now that I no longer hate the gym, I work out relatively regularly as a means of offsetting my turkey dinosaur habit. But I think that inner scepticism about choosing boiled chicken and broccoli over pints and cigarettes still remains and saves me from fully crossing over to the dark side of kale smoothies and pigeon poses.
You call yourself a ‘knowledge-free nutritionist’ and ‘unqualified PT’ – do you think that most of the *influencers* spouting all this stuff fall into those two categories?
Sadly, yes. Instagram is totally unregulated. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of people who are super intelligent and spread a positive and measured message – Alice Liveing being a great example.
But a lot of it is hysterical nonsense. Carbs are hugely contentious, and some ‘knowledge-free nutritionists’ get really wound up at any mention of restricting your carb intake, suggesting that it’s a dangerous message to be sending to women. Bullshit.
There are plenty of very healthy people who exist on the low-carb ketogenic diet. It’s what works for them. Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse – I like pizza too much – but health and fitness is individual, there’s no magic formula and there are plenty of ways to live a healthy life. You don’t have to spend your days wearing Sweaty Betty tie-dye leggings and subsist on protein balls alone to live well.
Do you think the tide is turning – are people getting tired of wellness gurus?
I bloody hope not! Otherwise, I’ll have no one to take the piss out of and my ambition of being paid to do a #spoof post for a brand with a sense of humour will go up in jasmine-infused smoke.
Truthfully, no I don’t. If anything, I think it’s accelerating. But what I hope is that a level of self-awareness starts to accompany it, too. That better health has become a trend is no bad thing, obviously.
What would be even better is if people knew that, behind all the filters, all these people drinking green juices were equally insecure and waking up on a Sunday with a splitting hangover, too.
>The whole idea of #balance actually makes a lot of sense, but people just need to start letting that seesaw swing a little more wildly.