The Seven Blunders of the Fitness World

  1. Late-Night Infomercials
    Even if someone did package an effective training system in a box, infomercials lack one important thing: credibility.  Sure, I’m temepted to pull out my credit card whenever Billy Mays pitches the Samauri Shark knife sharpener – who wouldn’t trust a guy with such a well-groomed beard at 3.30 in the morning? – but when it comes to health and fitness, do you really believe you can have something for nothing?  Listen to me now and hear me later: IT TAKES EFFORT, PEOPLE!
  2. Electical Shock Abdominal Training Devices
    While these are often sold via the previously mentioned infomercials, these human cattle-prods get their own spot on this list for sheer stupidity.  Exercise can be defined as VOLUNTARY musclular contractions AGAINST RESISTANCE.  There is no 9-volt powered abdominal fat suicide belt that will help you burn fat or get stronger.
  3. Low-Fat Diets
    I’m not sure exactly how balance, variety and moderation got lost in the mix, but I imagine is went something like this:

    Profit-driven businessman: “Johnson, we need a new angle.  Is there a macro-nutrient that has yet to be blamed for excessive body fat?”

    Mr. Johnson, Ad Exec: “Well, sir, as you know, carbs have been done to death.  What about fat?  It seems like an easy connection.”

    Businessman: “Surely people understand that dietary fat and body fat are 2 different things?”

    Ad Exec: “Don’t you worry about that, sir.  Using our slick marketing tactics, the public will have no clue how to eat right.  You’ll be cashing checks for decades to come.  Mwuhahahahaha!

    Businessman: (echos Johnson’s evil laugh all the way to the bank)

  4. Foam Covered Dumbbells
    They’re usually pink or turquoise (and some may say they’re cute as a kitten) but it’s rare to find one that weighs more than 3lbs.  I’m fully aware that everybody has to start somewhere, but it’s equally true that if you want to make progress, you need to progressively challenge yourself.  There’s only so much you can do with 3 pounds.
  5. “Functional” Training
    The concept that the time you spend training should enhance and improve your lifestyle is right on the money, but the application is typically way off.  Unless you’re training to be a circus freak, there’s never a reason to stand on a swiss ball.  EVER.
  6. Personal Training Certifications
    Last I heard, there were over 400 different ‘certifications’ in the fitness industry.  Some can be done online in about 15 minutes for as little as $50.  Others are much more credible and actually involve learning, practice (who’d have thunk it?) and continuing education beyond the initial certification. But which is which?  How can anyone tell the difference?  Is any other industry this confusing for consumers?
  7. The Thighmaster
    Do I really need to say more?

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