11 Fitness Stock Photos That are Awkward AF

Man planking with female planking on top

We’ve written a fair few fitness posts over the last couple of months and one thing that we try to include in each one is a relevant image to break up any big blocks of text; this makes the article easier to read and it helps illustrate the point we’re trying to get across.  There are TONS of great fitness stock images on the internet. One site that we regularly use is Pixabay, and they’ve got some absolutely stunning pictures available for all kinds of subjects.

Here’s an example of some of the fitness images that we've used recently. 

Female Sit Ups

Male Bodybuilder in Gym

Pretty good, right?

Of course not all the images look like that.

Some are functional, a little dull perhaps but that’s understandable.  These can be great at illustrating posts, too. Sometimes you don't need anything fancy you just need something straightforward.  And THANK GOD because have you ever tried to make a close-up of a dumbbell look sexy and exciting!?

But then there are the fitness stock images that are just...well, balls-to-the-wall batshit random and awful and awkward. When people are posed in the pictures, you can often pinpoint that exact moment where the light died in their eyes: the Pugel strike of self-awareness 

Bored Panda recently reported on the Twitter hashtag: #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob and there are some brilliant examples of awful images with a few hilarious captions. What Bored Panda did really well in the article, however, was to explain the commonalities between stock photos wherever you’re sourcing them from:

“There's something about stock photos that make them instantly recognizable as a genre, a weird, posey cheesiness that unifies them all. When you see a stock photo, you just know that it's a stock photo. Trying to represent so many different topics, ideas, concepts and scenarios into single photographs makes the job difficult for photographers and actors, and the ways in which they fail is a source of absolute comedy gold.”

The problem with using stock images for fitness is that often the exercise is posed: there’s no motion or momentum so it looks flat and two-dimensional.  Maybe we’re asking too much. Most photographers aren’t Morgan Massan or Chris Burkard. Maybe beggars can’t be choosers BUT you have to wonder at what kind of artistic license was occurring (or not occurring) in a few of these shots. 

Here are a few we’ve found recently with the narrative that we think they deserve.


Martial Arts


GIVE ME YOUR EYES, ALAN! Your tiny man hands are no match for the length of my arms and the strength of my resolve to destroy you.  I will bathe in the blood of my enemies, Alan, and yours will be the first drop I draw.


Woman Aerobic Vector


Sharon likes to have a couple of pinot grigios before her step-aerobics class.  Her favourite book is Eat, Pray, Love. She knows full well that her leggings are see through.

Awful Image Man


Oh God.

Here’s another example of the media pushing unrealistic standards of beauty onto us all. You won't get this body in the gym but you could probably get it by booking a spa break at Fukushima.  This image has been filed under the term 'fitness' which must be the short tag for OMG HOW ABOUT FIT-NISS ABOMINATION in a bin where no one has to look at it ever again. 


Man Swimming Pool


Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

"Alright, Brian, this is Roy Scheider, would you mind starring in a little film about a shark? We need to convince people not to get into the sea. Brilliant, mate, just get in the water and look as absolutely creepy as you can, yeah?"



Can you remember playing the game Half-Life back in the day? Remember the head crabs that you’d empty a whole clip at because they were creepy AF?  They looked like frozen chickens with lobster claws. Well, after the game finished Head Crab 417 changed his name to Craig and spent some time thinking about where his life was going.  On the journey to self-forgiveness, he enrolled on a photography course, won the hearts and minds of his tutors and peers and then opened a studio in Shoreditch specialising in arty self-portraits.  


When Kevin said that Karen could go on top, this wasn’t what she had in mind.

‘What the bleedin’ hell have you got me into Kevin?’ Karen asks, ‘I only popped in for Zumba.’

Karen’s face is ALL OF US when we’ve been roped in by a mate to help out with something.  Extra points if you’ve noticed the (not-so) subtle rectangle of gym carpet under Kevin’s hands.  Just so we could see that he wasn't planking into the white of oblivion (which at this point - Karen would probably welcome).


Sinead, what are you doing, pal?  

You're in India: the spiritual home of Yoga so why not bust some moves in front of a temple or on a beach or half-way up a mountain or at the side of the Ganges? 

"Nah," says Sinead, "just here, Clive.  Don’t crop the images.  Right by this bin? Here’s a random man. Oooh a washing line - hold me bag, Clive, let me just limber up in front of this mangy cow." 





Can I bring my dog into the gym?  Not unless he's an assistance dog.

He assists me - he’s my trainer, bro.

Using Photoshop is a bit like science experiments in movies: just because you can bring back dinosaurs or turn people into flies doesn't mean that you should.  


Send us the links to your favourite awkward fitness stock images, we'd love to see them.  

Luckily, EarHugz aren't awkward AF.

EarHugz are sweat-resistant headphone covers that are machine-washable, anti-bacterial and come in a range of awesome designs (and are fully reversible, too).  They're the only way to protect your headphones from sweat damage, and they fit almost ALL major headphones brands. Sign up for our newsletter and you'll get 10% off, too. 






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