One of my biggest pet peeves is the fitness industry’s relentless desire to manipulate their way to profit. Granted, not all fitness companies think this way. However, fad diets and fitness products are everywhere, and even seasoned fitness professionals can be fooled. Here are ways that you can spot fad diets and fitness products.
If it’s too good to be true – it probably is. Get abs in 5 minutes a day. Lose 30 pounds in a month. Eat whatever you want and lose weight. For some reason, as shocking as these claims are, people still fall for them. Maybe it’s because the outrageous claims are the ones that catch your attention. Or maybe it’s because you just want to believe them. Whatever the reason, use a little common sense – there hasn’t been any scientific breakthrough for weight loss.
Unrealistic Before and After Pictures
Nothing gives credibility to fitness products like a great before and after picture. Unfortunately, these pictures are so manipulated that sometimes the before and after pictures are taken on the same day (see video)! Body transformations take place all the time, but no one went from fat to ripped abs in 6 weeks.
Studies Funded By the Companies Themselves
Sometimes there are claims made by fitness products that are backed up by studies. It might be something like “the average person that used xxxxx lost a 10 pounds”. A closer look at the study will show that the study was funded by the manufacturer of the fitness product. This conflict of interest makes it very easy for results to be skewed in their favor.
Anything That Offers a Guarantee
There are no guarantees when it comes to fitness or weight loss. The products that offer a money-back guarantee usually have a time frame for you to submit your claim. They also pray on the general laziness of most people, and they know that even if their product doesn’t work, most people won’t make the effort to get their money back.
Anything Claiming Quick or Easy Weight Loss
Who doesn’t want weight loss to be quick and easy? If you hear either of those 2 words (quick, easy) – become a skeptic. As most people know who have successfully lost weight, weight loss is neither fast nor easy. Until someone invents that miracle pill, only hard work and patience will lead to success. Nothing was fast or easy about these 20 weight loss tips from people who lost over 50 pounds.
Anything Promoting Weight Loss Without Exercise
Can you lose weight without exercise? Of course you can. Should you? I wouldn’t recommend it. I hear these commercials on the radio. They talk about how easy it was to stick to the diet, and they didn’t even have to exercise. These products are aimed right at the people who don’t want to make much of an effort. You only get out of it what you put into it. If a product claims results without exercise, run the other way. Whether it works or not is a moot point – it’s not a component of a healthy lifestyle.
Late Night Infomercials
I don’t think these will ever go out of style. These commercials air late at night while you’re sitting on the couch eating bad food and feeling sorry for yourself. Bam! The solution to your problems is just a phone call away. These people did not get the bodies they have by using the products they are demonstrating. Their muscles and tight bodies might look great while demonstrating these products, but they certainly didn’t get those physiques by using them. The commercials work. Millions of dollars have been made. However, I’d speculate that 90% of the Bowflexes that were purchased ended up in the trash, at garage sales, or being used as a clothes rack.
When a new fitness product doesn’t have any credibility yet, it buys some by hiring a celebrity spokesperson to promote it. Hey, if celebrity xyz says it’s good and will help me get abs, then it must be true. Celebrity spokespeople make you feel confident about your purchase. It gives you social proof that your decision is a good one. No one likes to be the lone wolf.
Any Kind of Fat Loss Pills
Weight loss supplements are a billion dollar industry and growing. Everyone is looking for weight loss in a pill. Fat loss pills are still around because they work. What? Yes, they do – but only in conjunction with proper nutrition and exercise. I don’t promote these pills because they are unnecessary and can cause more harm than good. People use them as a crutch for a bad diet. Stay away from the pills. Focus your time, money, and energy on changing your lifestyle.
Commercials Playing to Your Emotions
The key to successful marketing is eliciting an emotional response to your audience. Fitness marketers do this by playing to your hopes, dreams, and insecurities. They conjure up images of times when you looked great. “High school skinny” is one I heard the other day. Sold! “Don’t be embarrassed to wear a bikini ever again”. Sold! Any company that chooses to use “negative” means to initiate a sale will never get my money.
It’s important to understand that not every product that falls into these categories is a fad product. More times than not though, if a product has to go to these great lengths to sell itself, you should be looking at it under a magnifying glass before buying it.
This article is part of the 10 Ways to a Better Body blog series. Be sure to check out the rest of the series!MUST USE FITNESS DEVICE: BodyMedia FIT Calorie Tracking Armband
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