The fitness industry is a strange, strange place. On the one hand, it’s a positive, forward movement on being healthy, leading a fit lifestyle, and staying safe while lifting heavier, gaining muscle, losing fat, running faster, you name it. On the other hand, it’s a place that is filled with way too many people that have no business being in the business. For example, there are thousands of “Instagram Stars” who did nothing more than compete in a bikini show, flaunt their ass on Instagram, and get a bunch of followers. What do they decide to do next? Offer training programs, diet plans, etc. Tell you how to lose weight fast and be as hot as them. They’ve been in the industry for a year or two and suddenly they have the knowledge to do this? Maybe some of them do…but most of them? No. They are spreading knowledge based on the small amount that they know. And what do people do? Buy it, share it, and jump on the band wagon. Because we see pictures of hot bodies and assume they know what they’re doing.
Newsflash: They probably don’t.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find people that you CAN trust in the fitness industry. There are plenty of them out there, you just have to dig around a bit. These are usually people with at LEAST 10 years in the industry (but more likely 20+) and have seen and done it all. I started working out 8 years ago and still feel that there is so much to learn. I research, listen, and learn all the time. I am constantly trying to get better. In fact, the older I get, the more OPEN I am to getting better. There was a time where I thought I had fitness “all figured out” and I guess it takes a little maturity to realize that we never have it all figured out. I have a lot figured out, but at the same time, a lot that I do NOT have figured out. That’s when I rely on people that are much more qualified than I am.
20 years ago, it was a little bit harder to exploit yourself as an expert when you weren’t actually one. Before these here things called “blogs” and “ebooks” and the “internets”, people actually had to sell real life books. Ones with pages and covers and everything. Crazy, right?! While at that time, yes, you could claim to be an expert without actually being one (marketability is way cooler to a publisher than a brain), there were at least SOME hoops that people had to get through in order to write a book, have it published, and be put on shelves. These days, anyone and their cat (grumpy cat is probably the most famous cat of all time) can have a blog and a following. Hell, they even gave me one. Don’t ask how that happened. With that said, it’s extremely difficult to know who to trust. There are some really great bullshitters in this world, and beyond that, people that THINK they know what they’re talking about (based on a small amount of information that they’ve been exposed to), that are actually flat out wrong. While we don’t know EVERYTHING about fitness, biomechanics, dieting, health, nutrition, anyotherwordthatfallsintothiscategory, we DO know some things. Science is a real thing and while I don’t know much about science, I do know that it doesn’t lie. Sometimes it can be a real pain in the ass and be a little misleading, but it doesn’t lie. It’s black and white. It is or it isn’t. Sometimes that can fluctuate within a series of the same tests, but it’s not going to give you gray answers. It does or it does not. Kind of like us women. It may not always give us the same answer, but it’s always going to give you an answer.
So how do you know who you should trust when it comes to the fitness industry?
Here’s where you will discover that I am not science (and potentially not a woman?). Because I’m not going to give you a black and white answer. I’m going to give you a gray answer and you’re going to have to take it and apply it using your brain.
1. Find someone who has been in the industry for over 10 years (or even more if you can). These people have likely been reading books and testing themselves, their clients, their family members, and probably their pets for just as long, and will likely be able to give you information based on several different schools of thought.
2. Find someone who has been in or studied more than one facet of the industry. For example, rather than finding someone who has only done just bodybuilding their whole life, find someone who has studied bodybuilding, powerlifting, sports performance, etc. There is nothing wrong with someone who has only studied one school of thought, but unless your only focus is on that one subject, you’re better off going with someone who has been around the block, so to speak. They will likely have a more comprehensive and well-rounded knowledge-base.
3. Don’t believe the false marketing. If you see an Instagram post that tells you that you’ll lose 10 pounds in 10 days, or that you’ll get a “booty like this” by doing squats for 21 days, or that you’ll have a 6 pack in 1 month by eating “this one special food” run for your LIVES. These are gimmicks and not real. Real experts aren’t going to lie to you. They’re going to be real with you and give you realistic expectations.
4. Talk to people that have been working out for a long time and see who they know and trust. Even if you don’t necessarily trust the person you’re talking to, it’s likely that they’ve found a few people to look up to that may have some knowledge that can help you. Again, it’s hard to know, but do your research on these people to see if they seem legitimate.
5. My personal favorite: When in doubt, find an old powerlifter that still has their original hips and knees and doesn’t need a walker. Anyone who can squat or deadlift 700+ pounds for 20 years and can still walk definitely knows how to stay safe in the gym and could probably teach you a thing or two.
Hopefully this helps someone out there who feels a little bit lost with all of the information that floats around. At this point, I feel that I at least know enough to know when someone probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And when I’m not sure? I go to my mentors. I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing mentors that have been living and breathing fitness since before I was born and they’ve never pointed me in the wrong direction. Knock on wood, I’ve stayed injury free in the last 8 years, and it’s because (although I’ve been stubborn), I’ve listened to the people that I trust and ignored the ones that just didn’t seem “real”.
P.S. If you’re looking for suggestions on who to trust, I’d be happy to share. Just leave a comment on this post. 🙂