I wasn’t always into health and fitness. There was a time where I was an overweight alcoholic that was a complete newbie to the fitness world, and I certainly am no expert now. Many people however have seen my transformation from a 240 pound sloth into the almost 100 pounds lighter, wildly energetic dad I am today and have asked my advice on various programs and trainers they’ve seen online. Though I don’t offer too much fitness or diet advice, I too have been duped by the fitness establishment more than a few times and wanted to take it to task, especially when I see my friends wondering if “Doctor testosterone booster” can really give them a shortcut to being “shredded” just by picking up their “before, during and after” protein shakes.
Here are my top five ways to spot if your internet fitness guru is full of myth.
1. They sell a supplement.
Selling a supplement isn’t a crime in itself, but supplements make the most money in the fitness world as they prey on people who are looking for an added edge or a quick fix. Supplements are the single biggest money maker in the fitness world.
Many fitness “experts” claim that their product is the reason for their chiseled physique when we all know that dedication and hard work is the real cause at best; and at worst their supplement of choice is actually steroids and testosterone therapy. Even worse, some use dodgy studies and antiquated evidence to push even more of their product on you. “You can’t get enough protein from food, so take two scoops of my (heavily processed, cheaply made, completely unnecessary, chemically laden) powders!”
2. They sell a workout plan that works for “everyone.”
There is not much that is new under the sun. For most fitness enthusiasts there are an endless amount of free workouts you can find online. All you have to do is start. If you are new to fitness, or working out, you will see results. If you want the best results however; you need personal programming and a specialized diet plan. Rarely is this something that can be done over the Internet unless you know where to look and who you can trust. Some “experts” give away their workout and diet plans in hopes to reel you in to using their supplements (see point one) and you might ask “why would they go to the trouble to do that?” The answer is, they didn’t go to much trouble, and supplements are the biggest money maker in the fitness industry.
3. They use their credentials as their sources and expect you to blindly trust them.
This is quite possibly my biggest pet peeve. Simply by having muscles, or being thin, or even having a PhD doesn’t get you off the hook for peddling myths, nonsense, and outright lies. A doctors degree even doesn’t make you any more credible just because you made a statement. It’s your duty to list credible sources and be able to back your fitness claims. Especially when you are using those claims to…guess what? That’s right, peddle supplements. (See point one)
4. They give you some free content but need you to pay for the rest of it.
I’m all for paying for knowledge, and I understand that people have to make a living; but why isn’t that living from training happy clients? There are millions of fitness bloggers sharing the same advice that someone is trying to charge you for. Sign up here with your credit card information the last paragraph of “how to get ripped quick!” I’ll give you a hint, you’re paying to see that last paragraph contain a link to their supplements, why you need them and a study they hope you won’t fact check because it doesn’t even support their claim. (See point one)
5. They won’t or can’t, answer you questions and ignore any debate without selling a product or directing you to their own study.
Lastly, you know you have encountered a fitness charlatan when they won’t or can’t answer your fitness related questions. If you encounter one of these fitness frauds don’t be scared to call them out on it. When a supposed “expert” claims that they have access to “new science” but have no sources that should be your first red flag. If their claim also supports their need for you to take their supplement, I think you can figure out who you are dealing with.
When a “fitness expert” makes a scientific claim and tosses around their credentials as reason enough for you to believe it, they owe you credible sources to back up their claim. Statements like “there’s new science” and “research shows” or “I feel it more here” isn’t accurate scientific evidence. Chances are they are spewing out nonsense they don’t think you will fact check, citing their own anecdotal evidence or personal studies hoping you are too stupid to realize it, and fall for their number one chance to make some cash off of you; convincing you that you need their supplements. (See point one)
I’ve seen it more often than not, and though some of you have been in and around the fitness world for quite some time, others, like me are pretty new to all the smoke and mirrors of the industry. I hate seeing a con man, and even worse than that a liar. Combine the two and it looks like you got more than half the fitness industry down. Hope this guide helps you decide who to follow, who to trust and reminds you to do you own research. If it was as easy as a magic powder, we’d all be drinking shakes and look like Arnold.
For raw fitness truth and real advice you can trust, check out my friends on iTunes @ Mind Pump Radio. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mind-pump-raw-fitness-truth/id954100822?mt=2)