I’ll be the first to admit the shocking truth to everyone: I love watching fitness and nutritional infomercials. No, I’m not interested in the product, or products being sold. The reason I love watching these highly entertaining advertisements, complete with paid actors (typically models who represent the status quo ideal male or female body) hyping the product as if it’s the fountain of youth, is because of how many fallacies I’m able to identify in the product.
Let’s go down the list of different products that are out there on the market today. You have the Total Gym, a Nordic Track guaranteed to burn five times the calories as a regular treadmill, about twenty different dance studio mixtapes supposedly designed to target the core, and the latest one being some mutant hybrid between pilates and yoga. And everyone who swears by these products will always claim they used the product and only the product, effectively distracting the individual staring in awe at their favorite celebrity trainer claiming this is the answer to their fitness prayers from reading the fine print on the bottom of the screen that says “results not typical.”
Okay, another admission: Each of the listed products are actually okay as long as they’re used in conjunction with a sound, individualized, and effective program. Take myself for instance and my love for bodyweight training. I typically engage in three to four bodyweight workouts per week. Notice I said three to four per week and during my other workouts you’ll always see me in the gym engaging in either resistance training or high intensity interval cardio. I have a really cool deck of cards entitled Fit Deck, but again, I’m only using it three to four times per week, typically when the weather is bad or if I had already engaged in an extra tough training session either earlier that day or the night before, and that’s it. I would never claim to only use my Fit Deck, regardless of how much the guy who invented it would be willing to pay me because I’m an honest person who will always tell you straightforward hard work, consistency, and a sound nutrition program are the key cornerstones to any successful fitness regimen.
I love it when people tell me about fitness and nutritional apps. I had one guy tell me he was going to change his lifestyle completely because his new phone app told him everything he needed to do on any given day. I’ve even had people in the past question my nutritional expertise because their app told them they should be doing something different than what I was preaching. Here is the truth about fancy phone apps: they’re generalized to fit only the average person. With this being said, whatever stats you just entered into the app, plus the goal you entered, is going to be the same for the next guy with the same body stats and goals. Okay, Todd, so what’s the difference? Body type, lifestyle, food allergies, muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint issues, past workout experience, sedentary or active job, muscle fiber type, and not a single app can ever critique ailments in form. I just gave eleven reasons, and these eleven reasons were right off the bat. I can also add these apps will never motivate or tell an individual what they need to be doing, how much weight they should be using, or holding them accountable to what they’re doing. Alright, so I just bumped that number up to fifteen.
So, if you’re attending dance classes every single night of your life and you’re losing weight, I’m about to break that high you’ve been riding since you saw the first pound drop on the scale: what kind of weight are you losing? Are you losing muscle or body fat? This is seriously a tough love section of the post, because so many people, mainly women, fail to recognize this point. Here is my point: I couldn’t care less how much weight you’ve lost, especially if you’ve lost muscle. Want to know what you’re doing to your body? I’m going to give you an insight which will scare you into resistance training with moderate to heavy weights four to five days per week for the rest of your able-bodied life.
If you’re losing muscle and not body fat, you’re slowing your metabolism down. This actually leads to muscle deterioration and fat storage, leaving you skinny-fat. This means your body fat percentage is going to remain the same (if not increase substantially) despite your losing twenty pounds but your lean body mass just went way down. This can lead to hormonal disturbances, heart, and thyroid issues among other things. So, you lost twenty pounds? Okay, what kind of twenty pounds? A good twenty or a bad twenty? So, this debunks the entire dancing or heavy cardio all day every day makes you healthier, because it doesn’t.
There is only one true way in everything, and there are false prophets in everything. There really are, which is why I’m a big believer in the Christian Gospel despite my obsession with Scandinavian and Pagan mythology. What is the one true way to a leaner, healthier body? Not just hard work, but smart work. An overall fitness regimen which encompasses my four cornerstones I have and always will hit hard on: exercise, nutrition, motivation, and accountability. You need to have all four of these components down pat, and with exercise, I mean both resistance training and cardio, so one can even turn these cornerstones into five points in favor of four corners. Nutrition must be on point, even during a cheat meal, because cheat meals are planned in advance. The fat can only burn if the muscle is fed. Motivation is big, because some of us will never get it from friends and family, so we need to not only join a gym or fitness center in order to maximize our results from a motivational standpoint, but we also need to find the right people to do so. Accountability can be intertwined with motivation, meaning they go hand in hand. Someone needs to make sure you’re hitting everything you’ve been prescribed in both the exercise and nutritional cornerstones.
If you talk to a qualified fitness professional, they can and will help you get on the right track and on the only direction to your own success in fitness. You will be motivated and held accountable because fitness professionals live for this. This is especially important for those who have nowhere else to turn for motivation and accountability. Best yet, fitness professionals will prescribe to you the safest and most effective plans for your own unique needs in order for you to best reach your goals. However, you must follow the plan one-hundred percent and not deviate from that plan. Your goals must always be in your mind, no matter how you feel on that given day. If you’re the type who tends to hide in a corner when you’re stressed and want to bypass the gym because you just want to get home and relax, this is where a fitness professional’s motivation and accountability comes into play.
In summary, you have many fads out there looking to simply take your money. You also have people I like to call “tourist trainers” who live to undercut the value in training and leave you with a cookie cutter fad workout in the form of the latest piece of cardio equipment or revolutionary and innovative dance style. There’s a reason these people are constantly changing their own landscape in a fitness sense: their products will never work long term. It’s time for you to take action and say enough is enough. Enough of the mindless shopping for the latest breakthrough, because it doesn’t exist. The only truth and way to the healthy, sculpted body you’ve always wanted is through a qualified fitness professional with experience and expertise in the field who knows how to set you up on a safe and effective regimen that will systemically measure your product with true numbers during your time with them. Fitness professionals don’t specialize in weight loss, we specialize in fat loss.