TikTok has become the go-to app for young people on the hunt for information, whether it be where to eat, the latest fashion trends or how to guides.
So it is no surprise that it has become the perfect platform for fitness professionals to share information that people can use to better themselves.
25-year-old Michael Neilly from North Belfast has done exactly that, using the video-sharing app to debunk exercise and food myths and inspire those looking to change their mindset towards fitness.
Speaking to Belfast Live, Michael described how he found a passion for exercise through playing sports while growing up but got serious about training and nutrition when he was around 16.
Michael said: “I just started on YouTube like everyone else, just watching tonnes of videos and trying to pick up what I could going in on the path of least resistance to digest the knowledge as easy as I could.
“It really came from a lack of confidence in myself – I was really just not happy with what I saw.”
After completing his degree around two years ago, Michael soon realised he wanted a different career path than he first intended and to follow what he was really passionate about.
“I went to university and did a hospitality degree and realised that was not for me at all so it was a very big decision to decide I’m not going to do it anymore and do fitness and become a PT.
“It was a very selfish decision initially but of course that was caveated with the fact I wanted to help people and I could see how dichotomous fitness was,” he explained.
In order to grow his business and use to knowledge to benefit a wider audience, Michael jumped on to TikTok last year and dragged himself out of his comfort zone.
He said: “TikTok is a funny one – for years it was played down and made to seem like a bad medium to share fitness advice as there is misinformation all over the show wherever you look.
“It’s a really good opportunity to show people what is true and really show people here in Belfast and Northern Ireland that it’s not as complicated as people think.
“The thing I really like about TikTok is you can be short and concise with your message and get massive engagement.”
Michael has almost 120k followers on the video-sharing app and his videos have been liked over 610k times which is down to his no-nonsense information and good humour in delivery.
“You can really get your personality across and really just do good work,” he added.
“The reaction has been really good to the point now where I thought it would never happen but I’m actually training in gyms and people are noticing me for the right reasons.
“I think people enjoy my content because it’s easy to digest.
“In fitness, there are two things I think aren’t good – you have complete misinformation and on the other hand you have people making the right information too complicated for the layman to understand.”
Michael’s online success has arisen from finding the sweet spot between serious factual information and enjoyable content which has his followers coming back for more.
He continued: “I really want to take what is said in the scientific literature and really take what it said about nutrition, training and mindset so the average person won’t have to spend too long trying to understand it.”
His advice for anyone looking to take the first step in their fitness journey is that “consistency is the most important tenant for success”.
“With physical transformations, people expect things tomorrow and I think we are brought up in a culture of quick fixes which is not necessarily the right way of looking at things.
“A long term approach is ultimately what is going to develop really good habits and really change your fitness identity.
“Think about what this is bringing into your life as well – think about what it will do in respect to your confidence.”