Fitness Industry Deception
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen it at one point or another in our health and fitness journey; the program or the trainer or the supplement company that boasts unbelievable success, and I admit it’s hard to ignore these claims when you are chasing a goal. As humans, we like to see proof of concept before we buy into something, but we can’t resist a great sales pitch with unbelievable results. We’ve been struggling with this goal for so long that it doesn’t take much to convince us; some pictures, a few well-written marketing pitches, some statistics, and a lot of “air” time. They convince us those products like juice fasts, wraps, and pills are quick and permanent solutions to our fitness problems, that these products or programs can make it easy and will get us what nothing else ever could. It’s sad that fitness preys on ignorance through flashy and sometimes dishonest marketing methods. The proof that calm our doubts and make us into believers can be manipulated to look better! I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing the hype marketing of the fitness industry, but I will say that as consumers, we need to ignore all the buzzwords. We’ve all been victim to the word game; we get drawn in and go further down the rabbit hole until we analyze the total package. Just a few buzzwords or phrases you see in fitness every day: Muscle Confusion, ROI, Effortless, Alpha, Super Secret, Revolutionary, Shortcut, and Ultimate. Of course, I have to mention the outcomes of these programs: Shredded, Jacked, Beast, Toned, and Ripped. These lists can go on and on. This is where your bullshit-o-meter comes in to play and can move you through the flashy, buzzword, speak. Images are another element the fitness industry uses to lure you to listen to their sales pitch. They place oiled, tanned, beautiful people on the screen to sell the product.Seriously, when’s the last time you saw a normal person in clothes selling the newest fitness craze? I’m betting the only ones you remember are freakishly fit and wearing skin-tight clothes. Then they flash amazing transformation photos and have these amazing transformations speak about how easy it was. They fail to mention that most of these amazing changes took longer than the 12 weeks of the program. Other photos are less grandiose but never do you see the photo of the participant that lost less than 12 pounds in 12 weeks. It’s as if the average result is tucked away because the average truth doesn’t sell. While photos seem more reliable than marketing, multiple trainers have debunked the before and after photos by showing how to do it in under an hour. I’m not saying everybody does it, but be aware; it isn’t that hard to do. If you haven’t seen the before and after tricks, here are two sites to check out:
This is where you meet the hardest challenge, the numbers. If you don’t have an idea of what is realistic, you can get caught in the amazing numbers touted by programs. Most people don't want to think about the data and the fitness industry knows it. Programs tend to show their successes, and rarely, their total data including their failures. I’m naturally a skeptic, but when I see only positive data or data that nobody else can substatiate, I get a little worried. Some examples of claims that make me think hard:
Participant’s averaged 80% pure fat lost in the first two weeks. Participant “X” lost 50 pounds in 12 weeks. Participant “Y” gained 10 pounds of lean muscle in 12 weeks. Participant “Z” improved their [choose a lift] by 50 pounds in 12 weeks.