The Problem With Absolutes In Fitness Marketing…[Breaking it down…]

***These embarrassing photos were taken 2 seconds apart plus some quick filter work***

This is the problem with the digital world and marketing – who knows what is real, and what is fake anymore? With so many fitness gurus out there caliming that “their secret method will get you ripped in 20 days…” what is right and what is wrong?

A client of mine asked me about a Facebook ad he saw the other day from a fitness guru. The title was ” the 6 WORST things you can do if you want to ignite your body’s own fat-burning furnace and get lean, strong & totally ripped in less time”

First thing is that the worst thing you can do is not even on the list – doing nothing at all. Second, everything is relative to the goal, and the process – so I’ll break down this guys list…

1) Doing Isolates Exercises – Doing isolated exercises like bicep curls and tricep kick-backs will NOT get you any significant results. These one-muscle-at-a-time moves simply don’t stimulate enough muscle fibers to build lean muscle or expend enough energy to maximize your calorie burn.

He is totally right. From an energy expenditure standpoint, isolation exercises are terrible. However, if someone wants their arms to look better, or be stronger, doing some form of isolation work can help.

Compound movements ARE much better for hitting multiple muscles and getting the most bang or your buck – squats, deadlifts, presses, rows – are the big 4 compound lift varieties.

If you ONLY do isolation exercises and expect the fat to come melting off, well, you will be waiting a while.

2) Working Out With Machines – Machines alter the way your body naturally moves and restrict your range of motion. This severely limits your ability to fully activate all of your muscles fibers — that means less fat burning and less muscle definition. Worse yet, machines can cause excessive strain on your joints, leading to nagging injuries down the road.

Again, this is true – in the right context. But some people only have access to machines or don’t have the stabilizer muscles to use a barbell or dumbbells quite yet… and cable machines don’t really count as machines because rows, pulldowns, and other single cable exercises are great.

Also, the whole “less fat burning and less muscle definition” is total BS – doesn’t matter what your workout is if your diet sucks, you won’t have any muscle definition.

3) Doing Long Bouts of Cardio – If you’ve been pounding the pavement or the treadmill with nothing to show for it (except sore joints and a pair of stinky worn out sneakers), you already know it takes a lot of effort to get minimal results.

I probably agree with him the most on this one. Traditional cardio is not necessary to lose fat, but it still put on a pedestal when it comes to “being healthy”. You don’t get in shape by running, you need to be in shape to earn the right to run long distances – or you might pay for it later.

BUT – if you enjoy long runs, AND they do no harm to your body – go for it!

He argues for the shorter duration, high-intensity work – which I tend to side with as well, for convenience and time sake (however, to get the max effect from high intensity work, it needs to be at high intensity, not so-so intensity, which I also see a lot of) Again, if you like the long steady stuff, and it doesn’t harm you, go for it!

4) Doing crunches or situps to get a six pack – If you want washboard abs, doing traditional ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups WILL NOT get you a six-pack. In fact, doing any exercises that target your abs won’t get you a six pack either! These so-called “ab” exercises are a complete waste of time. They don’t make your abs get any more defined and they definitely don’t burn any fat.

Correct again – to burn away fat we need a caloric deficit. Crunches and situps are not ideal for training the abs. However, completely ignoring to train the core is a big NO NO. It’s not about targeting the fat, but about building up a strong core which helps prevent back problems and is also often the weak link on many exercises.

The funniest part about this post is the line “I’ll show you how to burn away the “ab flab” while stimulating all 6 of your abdominal muscles at the same time so you can finally carve out your six-pack abs.”

This had me laughing because he is still full of ****. Making it sound like you can isolate each one of the six-pack muscles…we all have a six-pack, it’s the fat that covers it that must be burned away.

5) Repeating the Same Workouts Over and Over – your body has an amazing ability to adapt quickly and when it does, that’s when you hit the dreaded plateau and you stop making progress. 

This is sort of true. You can do the same workouts over and over and still get results – as long as you are progressing in some way, shape or form. Adding weight, adding reps, reducing rest, are all ways to still progress with the same exercises.

For cardio, changing up the modality CAN help, as our bodies can adapt to running, biking, etc. and become more efficient (burn fewer cals). So this is where I would agree with him and say if using cardio (high intensity especially) – change it up after about 4-5 weeks.

6) Doing Looooong Workouts – you don’t need to spend countless hours working out.

True. If you are using your time wisely, you should be able to get an efficient workout in and out of the gym in 45-60 minutes.

Again – diet is very important here as well. You can lose weight without any exercise at all. However, exercise is all about what we build, sculpt and shape on our bodies. This is why lifting weights is so important – yes you burn calories from lifting – but it’s more about challenging your muscles to change them, and create a lean, strong physique.

So while he makes many valid points – they aren’t absolutes, and actually aren’t anything “secret” or “fancy” – just basic physiology and the principle of progressive overload.

These click-bait links are meant to hit you in the emotions, and get your money fast – but this is the point, and that is all. Once you dig more into this “secret method” it’s nothing secret, or unique.

Do the work, challenge yourself, and make sure your nutrition matches your goals. Simple – but not easy.

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Stay healthy my friends,