Part 1- Introduction
The world of exercise and nutrition is awash with clichéd advice of the “no pain, no gain” variety. So many views, statements, and myths abound that it’s hard for the uninformed to sift the fact from the fiction.
Unfortunately, there is an enormous industry built around bending our perceptions and judgement to make use believe that only by purchasing products and paying experts can we reach our goals. It is totally in the interests of these people to mystify the process of body modification through lifestyle and fitness.
As an exercise scientist with a doctorate, and ten years experience in the fitness industry as an instructor and trainer, I can assure you that, when it comes to the latest branded workouts, products, training philosophies, pills, and “systems”- they’re rarely what they appear to be. The money behind these brands, products and services would like us to believe that they represent the cutting edge – the best, most advanced, and evidence-based approach to achieving our goals.
There is some truth in this, otherwise what they have to offer would appear obviously phony and no one would be interested.
However, in truth, the constant cycle of new products (be they exercise aids, supplements, branded workouts, or the trainers themselves) is there mostly as a justification to take our money. It’s the same reason that food manufacturers regularly repackage their offerings and make a claim that something has improved, it’s purely to stimulate sales. Oftentimes we’re asked to pay twice as much for something that is, at best, only slightly better. Yet if the marketers can make us think that we “need” the item- that we can’t succeed without it- then they’re ahead in the game (and we’re behind).
The industry wants to present itself as science-based but for the most part it’s commercial. There is just enough science to make it seem plausible to us. As the poet Lord Byron said, “a lie that’s half-true is ever the blackest of lies!” In fact, many of the pearls of wisdom cast before us are not true at all, and even worse they’re coming from the pens and mouths of unqualified, self-appointed experts who are preying on the naivety of those who are new to the exercise tribe.
That’s one of the reasons that we take pride in having assembled a team of experts with exercise-science research credentials and extensive experience of fitness and nutrition instruction. What we’re saying is that the story of the fitness industry is rather like the story of the emperor’s new clothes- make that the emperor’s new workout! So in this series of articles we’ll take a journey through the emperor’s kingdom and call out some falsehoods as we encounter them!