5 Things I hate About the "Health and Fitness Industry"

I have put these 5 things into a blog because they do my head in. Sitting quietly would have been just as easy for me, but I wanted to put them out there mostly because I know that people fall for this crap. People spend money on the absolute nonsense products and fads that are out there, and often end up further back the road than they were in the first place. I meet people who have tried everything I describe here before, and maybe you have tried them as well. If you have, I feel your pain. This is my list. You can agree, disagree, or disregard.

1. The empty promises;

‘Lose 12 bounds in 2 weeks’, ; ‘Revolutionary weight loss tea’; ‘The detox juice diet that will change your life’; ‘Get shredded in 6 weeks’; ‘Flatten those abs once and for all’’ ‘Rapid weight-loss’

You know the ones right? The massive statement that you see at the roundabout or on the billboards? These statements make me die a little inside every time I see them with their empty promises and attractive language and irresistible propositions that pry on the vulnerabilities of the person sitting in the car who is feeling less than health, or not as in-shape as they would like. The reality is that these advertisements are designed specifically to pull you in, and sell you something. They have been formulated by marketers, not by experts in the field. For the most part, they present a supposed quick solution to a problem that has built up over years. If you are overweight or out of shape, its because you have established poor nutrition and exercise habits over months and years that have led you here. The good news is that you can reverse the process; the bad news is that a short-term solution/ drastic or extreme plan, will set you back more than you will know.

2. The gimmicks

Gimmicks are everywhere from different diet plans, exercise equipment, fad training programs, new super foods, supplements, ‘systems’. Many have come and gone, and all promise to be the new best thing. Many of these gimmicks have celebrity endorsements, and/or some made up certification so that people can go and get qualified in ‘teaching’ the way of the revolutionary gimmick. I don’t even need to name the actual products, but I’m sure you can name a few off the top of your head. They are easy to spot on infomercials, or advertorials in the free newspapers. Be wise enough not to allow yourself to be sucked into believing that these gimmick products will actually make a real positive difference to your life.

3. The marketing

This is pretty related to #1. Making an empty promise, and then delivering it ‘for as little as 65c per day’ or some other nonsense. The bottom line is if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Going for the cheapest option is a pretty sure way to fail at achieving your goals, and wasting time and money into the bargain. I recently took a trip to Thailand to train under some of the best coaches I the world. It was an expensive trip, but it was worth every penny and more. I got to train under the best, and developed more in a week with them that I would have in ten years under an amateur. As they say, if you think working with an expert is expensive, wait until you see the cost of working with an amateur! An investment in your health is one of the most important investments that you will ever make. Would you take out the cheapest health insurance if you knew that you would have practically no cover if things went south? Or ask the cheapest builder to build your house even though they have never even built a simple garden wall?!

4. The training
When the main objective of a training session is to sweat as much as possible, or simply burn up calories, the time has come to leave. Your training should serve a higher purpose than simply wasting energy so you feel tired at the end, but unfortunately, this is the prevailing mindset in the fitness industry. For me, training should serve to develop your capabilities to partake in everyday activities, for example, your training should make lifting boxes easier, climbing the stairs a breeze, playing with your children fun as opposed to exhausting, going for a hike a pleasurable experience. Your training should also help you build a strong, mobile, and resilient body. It should protect you back, hips, knees, shoulders etc. It should also provide the mental stimulation that you get from learning a new skill. Its not just about sweating it up, and exercising the muscles, the brain needs to be worked as well. Unfortunately, the thousands of ‘exercise machines’ that are so prevalent in gyms do the exact opposite. They take the complexity OUT, and allow for hours of mind-numbing and monotonous flapping about that gives you about as much stimulation, excitement, and challenge as watching paint dry.

5. The diets
This one really is a doozy. ‘Points’ for this, ‘treat meal’s’ here, ‘order a month’s supply’ there, ‘new supplement‘ over there, eat only green foods’, ‘the juice diet’.

All nonsense, and that’s not even scratching the surface. Do you want to pay good money for a crappy product that wont wok anyway, or do you want to hear the truth? The truth, which I will give you for free, will give you long-term success, but it will be moderately hard work by today’s standards, and require you to make consistent effort for a year. You can choose.

The truth is that if you take part in some form of challenging and meaningful exercise every day for 30-60 minutes, eat 3-5 meals made from whole and unprocessed foods every day, drink 2-3 liters of water day-in and day-out, get 8 hours of sleep every night , and set aside regular time to enjoy life with friends, family, and to give your mind time to relax, in one year, you will be healthier than you have ever been, and wont even have to consider how to ‘get into shape’ for the rest of your life because it will be so easy for you by the time you have practices this for 12 months.

This article is by Coach Ainle Ó Cairealláin.