The fitness industry, particularly online, is like the American Wild West. Lots of simple goons pedaling their “snake oil” ideologies and programs, only to be reinforced by their “henchmen” who are lacking enough knowledge to reconcile what they are being told with what they know to be factual. The use of medicinally enhanced images and the exploitation of consumer behavior has resulted in many people shelling out dollars for products and programs that aren’t reasonable or are patently false. All these programs and products contain “secrets” that no one else knows about. Individuals will see some results, initially. However, most do not see continued progress and then fall off completely. This is because the majority of the programs or products being sold are gimmicks with shiny packaging or half-truths that will often leave consumers’ physiologic state worse than it was previously. How many people have you seen successfully achieve and maintain their goals utilizing “Keto”? What about “intermittent fasting”? How about “CrossFit”? All of these are valid protocols in their own right depending on the individual circumstances, and the coach applying the regimen. Now, ask yourself how many of these individuals who participate in these regimens regain their losses or injure themselves? Probably the substantial majority.
How do we change the perspective and approach to this toxic “yo-yo” relationship between manically pursuing a gimmicky diet and an exercise program? It starts with a fundamental education about your physiological needs and the nutritional values of foods. Without that knowledge, most people will continue down the path of paying the loudest “Adonis” to tell them, “you just have to be committed and work harder, bro.” Secondly, you should know about what adaptations are garnered from particular training modalities. Furthermore, you should know how these stimuli should be arranged in order to maximize the adaptation you are looking to see. If your goal is to compete in an Olympic-length triathlon, would do you need to resistance train 3-4 times a week? If you don’t have this knowledge you will be hard pressed to determine if your protocol is in line with your goals. Lastly, and most importantly, you need to understand how to determine exercise modalities based off your current movement patterns. I guarantee you that an overwhelming majority of individuals who have purchased an on-line program have done so without having their movement issues screened, much less addressed. Is it reasonable to have an individual do a pull-up if they can’t even complete a set of pull-up negatives? What about a barbell back squat when they cannot yet achieve proper alignment and knee tracking in a body weight squat? Bottom line, if you are not educated or screened on proper movement patterns, it is only a matter of time before you will be addressing a much more significant and self-induced problem. Movement modalities exist on a linear continuum, meaning the individual must master the movement modalities in a hierarchical order. This order is based off their particular movement pattern, and where that pattern lies in the movement continuum. Without this understanding, you will likely injure yourself because there has not been a proper progression to your movement pattern programming. In summary, the most successful and sustainable approach to achieving your exercise, health and body composition goals is rooted in science. Without an understanding of physiological adaptations, nutrition and proper movement patterns you are limiting the potential for long-term success. My recommendation for anyone looking to start a new exercise program or body composition goal is to ask yourself two questions. Do I have enough applicable knowledge to be able to pursue this goal successfully? Do I want to just achieve this goal or do I want to sustain it? The best answer to these questions is rooted in having a science-based foundational knowledge of physiology, nutrition and exercise. Not a “get fit fast” program with a “tummy tea”.