In the world of social media “fitness pros” the lines get blurred between true fitness and looking fit. I understand the need to peacock on social media to sell, whether it’s a product or a service, but where do you draw the line between flashy advertisements and lies? The difference lies between great pictures and great information. I follow a lot of fitness pages on multiple social media outlets, but I trust the information of only a small percentage of them that I see as an authority on the subject. The others I follow for the pictures and fail videos. The hard part for most who want quality information is deciding who to believe and who to disregard. This is very easy to do.
1. Disregard anyone who talks to the camera with their shirt off. This action alone shows they have no opinion on the matter. Sounds harsh, but why would they need to take their shirt off to talk to you. If I’m training a client in my gym and they ask a question I’m not going to undress and say “Ok, listen carefully. This is important.” That would be creepy... It’s still creepy when it’s on camera. Their abs do not prove their intelligence on the subject. It proves that they, like 80% of fitness related individuals, have abs. I watched one video that was about four minutes long and you could tell this gentleman was having a hard time talking and flexing around two minutes and he started turning red and getting uncomfortable. I continued to watch just to see if he would rip something. He kept it going, but it was not pretty. The only exception of this rule is if they are doing a heated motivation rant after a hard workout. I let that one slide because it is for motivation not necessarily information.
2. Look for people who explain the exercises to emphasize importance. We have all seen the 30 second clip of some chick doing a random exercise, that you can’t really make out because the camera is fully focused on her ass, of course, with 50k likes in an hour. What did you learn from that post? That a nice ass can get a lot of likes very fast. This is not a problem by any means, but it’s entertainment not information. Chances are good that you will not get that ass doing that exercise, nor will you know how to program that exercise if you don’t know what that exercise is being used for or where the focus of the contraction should be without a justification.
3. Pay attention to those who write more than they pose. Gym-goers often follow fitness icons based on who has the body they want rather than who can help them get the body they want. This goes back to the “sex sells” marketing tactic. The dirty secret is that no one walks around looking like they do during a photo shoot and most of them are photoshopped. “InstaPros” get caught editing images all the time (google Shredz athletes photoshopped for a couple examples). Others use supplements or steroids and get a following, then get sponsored by a different product claiming that the new product is responsible for the results they have. Many of them pay trainers to keep them in shape as well because if they get out of shape they lose their following and their paycheck. I make it a point to avoid anyone who constantly pushes a product. I understand that everyone needs to make money, but when you’re not flexing for the camera give me some information I can sink my teeth into. Anything other than “You see these abs? Check out this ass? Want both? Click here to buy 30 days to Dream Body by Snake Oil Inc.!” Keep in mind that models get paid to look good, not give information.
4. Don’t take advice from anyone who doesn’t practice what they preach. As I said before, I take advice from a couple different fitness authorities. The ones I trust have proven themselves to be professionals in different modalities of fitness. For example, I strongly prefer working with kettlebells. I mold my training through the teachings of Pavel Tsatsouline. He has worked with many athletes from powerlifters to fighters to soldiers and has written multiple books on the subject. There are other resources for kettlebells as well, but I hold Pavel’s word above all others. In Jiu-Jitsu, I hold My Instructors (Mr. Bebber and Professor Richardson) above the others that I train with because they have proven time and time again to have an in-depth knowledge in which I can learn. I still watch DVDs and train with other professors, but in the same respect, I see them as the authority on my grappling.
In conclusion, follow those who understand what they are doing. The ones who take the time to teach and write about their profession. These are the ones who know what they are doing and how to navigate the long road ahead. I have given away more information than I have ever been paid for and I plan to continue this trend. This is my passion and that is all that matters to me. I know I stepped on some toes during this post. My response as always, “You’re welcome and come back next week for more.”