Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't Be Fooled by Fitness Frauds

The world abounds with get-rich-quick schemes and lose-weight-quick schemes. I believe it is human nature to want the biggest reward with the least amount of work possible. Oh, and we want it tomorrow too. Marketing sharks prey on this desire and deliver useless product after useless product... they end up with your hard earned money and you end up with a waste-of-space product and wonder why it didn't work for you. After all, it looked so good on TV, right?  Well, what they were selling was the IDEA of being rich or being fitter and that idea in and of itself is an amazing goal to strive for. The product they were passing off to "help" you accomplish that goal was the problem.

So how can you avoid being fooled by these fitness frauds?

1) Recognize the above mentioned desire within you. Marketers intentionally sell to your emotions. So take your emotions off the table. Look at the product with logic. Does it make sense? Is the claim they are making safe or even doable? It is not safe to lose 30 pounds in a month, nor is it doable for most people. [Yes the Biggest Loser contestants sometimes do, but 1) heavier individuals who make sudden, drastic lifestyle changes will drop big numbers early on, 2) they don't do anything but work out and eat - no jobs, no spouses/kids/pets to take care of, no chores, and 3) they have professionals telling them what to do and what to eat.] Realistic, safe weight loss (which is also most likely to be maintained & not regained) is approximately 1-3 pounds per week.

2) Weight loss = calories out > calories in. It is a simple equation, yet it is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Which, in turn, is why we willingly hand over our hard earned money for that magic pill to get rid of all of our weight. Simply put, a product, pill, or liquid diet will not cause you to lose weight unless that product or plan involves you putting less food in your mouth and moving your body more. For more on this issue, see my blog Why Diets Don't Work.

3) If it only moves one body part, it's not doing much.  We all know of the products that you shake vigorously with one part of your body or the odd contraption you kneel on and swing your hips back and forth. And by using those machines just 10 minutes a day, you'll lose X amount of weight, get rock hard abs, and super guns! I don't think so. It saddens me when people believe that hype.  If you have more than 10 pounds to lose, only moving one part of your body is not going to accomplish anything. You need a full body strength workout with significant cardio each week... minimally 2.5 hrs/week to start with. But most individuals looking for significant weight loss need to commit to 3-4 hrs of activity per week (in addition to healthy eating and caloric monitoring).

4) Those super skinny female models and bulked up male models didn't get that way by using the product that's being sold on the infomercial. They are paid to be in that infomercial... they might even be actors. We as the consumer have no idea if testimonials are real or fabricated. And the reason their muscles look so taut and toned is because they did 50 pushups to get them pumped up before they yelled "action." Keep in mind that it goes back to marketing. They are using attractive individuals to sell you their product. But those attractive individuals most likely never saw that product until they showed up to the set that day.

5) You didn't gain all that weight overnight, you won't lose it overnight either. We all want to lose weight... but you want to keep it off too, right? As I mentioned above, weight loss that is maintained needs to occur at a realistic and safe pace (1-3 pounds per week).

A pill will not convince you to get on a treadmill or not eat that candy bar. Fitness is a mindset and a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. The good news is - that mindset and commitment is free! YOU have the power to choose healthier foods and to take a walk around the block. Enlist the help of resources in your network (your doctor, friends, spouse/partner, family) to make healthier choices. Find reputable fitness blogs for information and motivation. Use the library to check out books that promote safe weight loss using sound methods. Some libraries even have fitness DVDs you can check out. If you have the money, invest in YOURSELF by working with a registered dietician or a certified personal trainer. It'll be worth your time and money, and you won't be fooled by any fitness frauds!

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