Renounce Your Fitness Gods
I don’t mind being proven wrong. “Why,” you ask? Because, any time you are proven wrong, it means that you have found a new truth, and to me, truth is far more important than ego. As much as I immerse myself in fitness and nutrition scientific research, I am more likely to find new truths by discovery than by losing a debate. But, the fact is that whenever a new approach or variable is proven to assist my clients in reaching their highest genetic potential in the simplest way possible, I add it to the carefully synthesized balance of my programs and watch the transformations take place.
I want you to notice what I didn’t say, here. I didn’t say, “…because this renowned scientist said so.” I didn’t say, “…because Dr. Oz had an entire special on (blank).” I didn’t say, “…because I read from a prominent fitness author that…” And, I didn’t say, “…because Arnold Schwarzenegger did (this in his workouts).” No. What I said was that when an “approach or variable is PROVEN to assist my clients in reaching their highest genetic potential in the simplest way possible,” I add it to the programs. It makes no difference to me where the scientific revelation comes from or from whom the information is derived. If it leads to a simpler way to a greater result, I’m all about it.
Now, this declaration is not being made to pat myself on the back. Far from it. This declaration is being made to show you how powerful you would be if you would just stop worshipping wellness idols and begin exercising a little more skepticism (especially with those sources that you deem worthy of trust), and that includes me as a potential fitness worshipper and idol. Let me explain.
Now, I’m all for respecting someone for what they have earned. Lawyers and doctors go through a massive amount of information, retention, application, testing, and alcohol before receiving their documentation to practice. It is difficult, stressful work. A huge accomplishment on both accounts. Does that mean they are always right? Do lawyers always win their cases? Do doctors always make the correct diagnoses and recommendations? Is every client and patient receiving justice and health because lawyers and doctors exist?
Speaking of Dr. Oz, after all of the various supplements and wellness suggestions he has made, are all of his most dedicated viewers in the best shape of their lives? Are Oprah’s or Osteen’s most devout followers receiving more blessings than anyone else on the planet? No. They’re not.
If you’re a fan of one of these celebrities or are a lawyer or doctor, don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not saying that people in authority don’t serve very important purposes or have nothing positive to contribute. What I am saying is that a person’s position or accolade does not give them authority to be right; rather, it gives them the authority to practice a particular vocation. Keep that in mind as we continue. If it hasn’t already, the light will flash on in a second.
Where Fitness Gods are Made
There are only two things that usually separate the regular Jane and Joe from a fitness god. In contrast to lawyers and doctors, those things are not slips of paper signifying the meeting of a standard; those things are money and genetics. This is how a fitness god is made. (I’m going to keep this example very generic so as not to be impolite to anyone in this great field of fitness and nutrition, but those who know me well are already fully aware that my number one allegiance is to those who struggle to reach their fitness goals and not to the few who have genetic abilities that can’t be universally applied.)
A group of wealthy people get together and develop a training program for profit. The highest priority is given to what type of program will appeal to the greatest amount of enthusiastic people (so the word will spread quickly and passionately) with the biggest bullseye in the target. They usually land on developing a hardcore program that will appeal most to fitness-minded people (both men and women) between the ages of 17 and 35.
Then, they look for a face, body, and personality (a genetically blessed individual) who can stand in as a poster child for the program and deliver the program’s message to the masses (that is if they don’t already have such a person within their group or company). They write scripts for that person which include fitness buzzwords like metabolism, toned body, hardcore, ripped muscles, feel the burn, sweat it out, and the like in order to convince the consumer that they are experts in the field.
Meanwhile, they will take a small sample of testimonials from a group of people (whom you can’t verify actually used the program exclusively for the time allotment promised for results) and use them for before and after pictures and videos.
Finally, they get the initiated consumers involved. This means that they give some sort of incentive to those who are able to complete the program, such as a trophy t-shirt, an official affiliation or name to be used in social media, and/or a position as an ambassador of the program (someone who trains people in the name of the program).
The upside to all of this is that a select few will actually be able to complete the program and will be motivated by their victories. Another good point is that the t-shirt, social affiliation, and ambassadorship are all really cool benefits. And, lastly, actually receiving results at any level gives the trainee hope that their body actually can change.
But, then comes the downside. This program was always designed primarily to sell, not to offer the simplest solution for the greatest reward. Most peoples’ genetics just can’t keep up with such an intense program, and they peter out after a couple of weeks. Others will power through the program having received what I call false results, which indicates a loss of muscle along with fat. This loss of muscle, in turn, slows down a person’s metabolic rate and forces them to gain fat back, even while maintaining a lighter overall weight. Essentially, this means that they will lose muscle and gain fat, which is the exact opposite of what an optimal program should do.
Therefore, your fitness journey typically begins with a genetically blessed fitness god reciting a sales pitch that was written by a group of marketing geniuses and pushed into the market with big money and ends with dusty workout DVDs being used as coasters for your sweet tea as you sit and wonder why this super exciting program just didn’t work for you…if you’re lucky.
You're the Master
Does this mean that persuasive marketing is bad? No. Does this mean that all fitness gods are liars? Not at all. Does this mean that all wealthy people are bent on selling snake oil? Not entirely. What it means is that what is popular, official, and masterfully presented isn’t always going to get you the result you want.
What it means is that you shouldn’t trust the person; you should trust the truth. And, let me give you a little hint about the truth: It doesn’t always sell so well.
Remember, YOU are the master. Not me. Not your fitness gods. YOU get to research and choose the simplest path to YOUR greatest result, and making sure that the information that you use to make an educated and responsible decision is sound is more important than submitting to an “expert.”
So, as you move forward in your wellness journey, if you’re really looking for the simplest solution to your highest genetic potential, keep this quote by author Robert Heinlein nearby: “No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority.”