Vitals: 5 Types Of Fitness Blogs You Should Stop Reading
Well intentioned people search online for fitness or health advice every day but find their searches leaves them more confused, anxious, and less enthusiastic than if they hadn’t bothered.
After most of my adult life in fitness, ten from behind the iron curl bar, I can tell you there’s a good reason: anxiety sells.
It’s as true in Hollywood (where I cut my teeth) as it is in Melbourne or anywhere else in the world. The fitness industry is in the business of selling you goods and services which burrow through your fears like the roots of a fungus.
Most of us already believe we’re not fit enough, but there a blog or series of transformation pictures to tell us just how much we are not fit.
The crazy dichotomy of this is how this industry which proposes to be about health brims with overworked, often unhealthy people themselves, who use shame and fear to make sure you keep spending your money, often without actually helping you.
Unless we talk about trends, there isn’t much interesting to say about fitness. To get healthier most of us need to move more, and eat less, the end. But, those words are the refrain of a song that's been overplayed. We're over it.
To combat this boring song, content creators drill down into minutia to write something new, but not necessarily helpful, not necessarily true.
To illustrate my point, I’ve pulled five headlines from a Google search with two words “fitness," and "Australia.”
I’m leaving out the sources, but one source comes up more than others by a factor of nine. (I’m looking at you Popsugar.com.au). In a second I'll talk about where you should get your advice.
What Is Maca and Why Do You Need It?
This specific article to which I'm referring is about maca, a tuber native to Peru in South America, but the concept of superfoods is nutrition meme. Doctor Oz is guilty of proliferating the superfood farce.
Superfood sounds impressive, huh? Like, if you eat superfoods you could learn to fly. I’ll be the first to admit some foods make better choices for one’s unique goals, but no food has super powers.
Focusing on single sources of nutrition is a panacea. It creates faulty thinking, distracting readers from learning more important aspects of nutritional education.
There exists no superfood that, when added to an unhealthy ecosystem, will save the eater from her lifestyle. Even when one adds these “superfoods” to an otherwise healthy lifestyle, the overall impact is not worth the hype.
The overarching problem is that these superfoods create rabbit holes, where we do not find a big enough carrot to warrant the chase.
A better plan would be to master our understanding of the foods we like. Know what’s in those foods, what the nutrient profiles look like, but how those foods fit into one's goals. Forget the rest.
Takeaway: No single food is your enemy nor will any single food save you.
Avoid the Common Exercise Mistakes
This blog centers on a sensitive spot: our fears. (Noticing a theme?) Guilty as charged, I’ve written these articles too. They sell. People don't want to look dumb.
This blog leverages our fears about doing the wrong thing (which scales up to our fears about our whole lives being on the wrong track, but that's another blog).
There are common mistakes made in the gym, but solving them is a case-by-case solution.
Each human body moves different, comes to the gym with different bone lengths, hip-structures, body history. There are too many moving parts to solve in a single blog.
If you want to avoid your movement mistakes, work with someone trained to find and solve those mistakes, like a trainer. Don’t read articles that may or may not apply to you.
Takeaway: If the title of any blog spikes your anxiety, skip the read.
Brighten Your Day With Unicorn "Cheese" Cake
No, seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up...
The irony of this is that unicorns don’t exist. Neither do the claims made by this article, like the assertion that blueberries attack belly fat. This is simply not possible.
One cannot target fat, especially by eating food.
The idea behind this kind of content is that there is a secret code of eating, where if we know what you’re doing, we can unlock secret codes in food. All the healthy people know these secrets, but they’re not telling the rest of us.
These types of blogs or videos promise to us keys to the secret castle. Guess what? There is no castle. You can’t eat around your goals. There are no secret ingredients, the same way there are no bad ingredients inside the realm of untainted food.
There are food choices and quantities that are better for your goals, and that’s it. Recipes that hack other recipes with substitute ingredients, unless you have a diagnosed allergy to something, are not superior to the original version.
Takeaway: There are no secret ingredient formulas.
The Surprising Reason You Can't Lose Weight
Here we go again with the guilt. Perhaps weight loss isn’t the best goal for you? I know, I know, most of us could lose a few kilos. Hear me out.
There’s a good chance most of us are heavier than we would prefer, even if we tell everyone we don’t care. The world is full of humans who weigh more than the former average. Whether or not that is a problem for each of us is between us and our doctors.
That said, fat loss goals are the standard pitch in fitness, an easy lever to pull. In my years in fitness, I spent more time selling prospective clients on the value of fat loss as I did on the value of joining the gym.
Fat loss goals resonate 80% of the time. It’s also the #1 goal people fail to reach or sustain. In short, it’s a dumb goal.
Your health (and value to the world) is more than just your body fat composition. Body comp is more about your ego and motivation, two important drivers for chasing fitness. Fat loss is not the only lever you can pull to boost your ego or get motivated.
If we consider the sequence of events, finding the right exercise environment is ten times more important than fat loss. Getting into a habit of health also proceeds a fat loss goal.
Losing stored energy (tired of typing the words fat loss) should be way down on your list. Stop feeding this foaming-mouthed beast. You are worth more than your body composition.
Takeaway: Don't let a blog or anyone tell you your health goals.
3 Weight-Loss Success Stories That Prove the Scale Is Bogus
There is so much wrong with this one...
Let’s begin by phrasing it in other terms, using your finances. What if a blog read like this: Three Financial Planning Stories That Prove Your Bank Balance is a Silly Number. You would literally LOL.
This blog preys on your fears while stroking your back. In truth, the scale is neither the whole story nor your enemy, like your bank balance.
Neither the number on the scale nor the sum total of your bank balance represents your personal value. They are points of data. The sooner you drop the emotional attachment to those values, the sooner you can use them for what they are: overviews.
You’re gonna have to dig a little deeper to know the whole story of your bank balance, like you’ll have to dig a little deeper to know the story behind your bodyweight.
If either one gives you night sweats, you don’t have to look, but that doesn’t make the data bogus.
Takeaway: Blogs that tell us just what we want to hear should make us sit up and scrutinise.
So where should you get your advice? I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Medshop Australia’s commitment to education. We’ll always do our best to take a fair look at your health, letting you decide what’s best for you.
The best way to educate yourself about fitness would be to take a course or at home study from a certified organisation.
There’s nothing stopping you from adding professional trainer or nutritionist to your credentials. It will only make you better at your job as a health professional. You can apply what you learn to your own life.
If you don’t have the time or energy for that, work with a trainer or nutritionist on your program. Be a good student, apply what you learn, but please stop reading silly blogs.
Damon Mitchell is a recovering fitness industry fancy-pants, with twenty plus years of experience. He’s been certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. These days he works as a content creator.