Snake Oil and Shake Weights

By: Leo Desforges

In 2010 after less than a year on the market, over 2 million Shake Weights had been sold.

I truly love my career in fitness but often feel discouraged by the industry as a whole. It is plagued by half-truths, misused jargon, false claims, misleading advertising and poorly conducted studies.

In contrast to this current period of economic downsizing, the fitness industry has actually grown over the last five years, and brought to market an abundance of products among which to choose from. These products include but are not limited to: dietary supplements, exercise equipment, fad diets, TV doctors and under trained health professionals.   Much like any other product, they are often accompanied by flashy advertising crafted to prey on our insecurities about how we look and how we feel. These products often over promise and under deliver.  More importantly, they distract folks from (admittedly less sexy) methods that actually have a proven track record.  Real, permanent wellness changes take patience, persistence and a bit of re-education. There is no quick fix when it comes to health.

Instead of getting into the history of the Ab Blaster 2000, raspberry ketones, “cleanses” or unbelievable before and after photos, I will offer two simple tests you can use before investing your time and money in a product and one for after doing so:

  1.  Does it seem too good to be true? If it seems unbelievable, it probably is. Trust your instincts.
  2.  Look for disclaimers and fine print. Most fitness product advertisements have a “results not typical” disclaimer somewhere.  If you find one, heed the warning. It’s probably accurate.
  3. Did it work for you? (That clearly is a question you can only ask after you have invested in a product, but I found it too important to skip.) Hey, maybe P90X or a juicing regimen got you incredible results, and that is GREAT! More power to you. But if it didn’t, learn your lesson and move on using rules one and two as your guide.

As a fitness professional, it is my responsibility to stay educated concerning the most relevant, safe and effective methodologies.  I recommend that everyone continue educating himself or herself and hope these articles will help.

Please feel encouraged to discuss in the comments section below.

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