fake fitness myths

Okay, we’re all guilty of it. It’s a Sunday afternoon and we’re perusing the internet, only to have our attention snagged by some very intriguing articles:

“Get a flat belly fast!”

“Eat these 5 fat-burning foods to quickly tone up!”

“Lose 10 pounds in 1 week with this workout plan!”

You can’t help but click on them. Inside the posts, you find promises that can’t be kept. Because when it comes to fitness, it’s often too good to be true.

This is how fads crop up and dominate the market. Since we know that getting in shape is so difficult and time-consuming, we eagerly join in on the next new craze that promises the results we so desire.

Fit teas, detoxes, military diets, cool sculpting, and – my arch nemesis – the keto diet all make some pretty staggering guarantees.

It’s a really big pet peeve of mine, especially as a personal trainer with a background in nursing, to see people hop on board when there are better, scientifically-proven ways to get fit.

Because of my background, I’ve learned a lot about how the human body works. Nursing school taught me the body’s inner processes, and months of studying for my NASM personal training certification taught me how it responds to exercise.

Based on the principles of the human body’s functioning, I can tell you that most of the advertising guarantees you see out there are complete scams.

And today I’m going to tell you how to sniff them out from the start!

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7 bogus fitness advertising phrases I see most often:

1. “Flat belly”

There are only two times I think it’s okay to say something will help you achieve a “flat belly”: if it talks about losing weight as a whole or if it’s talking about ways to reduce bloating. This, of course, isn’t considering if the product even works or not.

Get a flat belly is just one of many bogus fitness advertising phrases

But if an ab workout, for example, tells you, “Do these 5 exercises every day for a month and you’ll get a flat belly,” it’s total BS.

Ab workouts help you to strengthen your abdominal muscles. They can tone those muscles and make them appear more defined, which is great!

But ab workouts, on their own, cannot give you a flat belly. Ab workouts don’t help you to burn fat, and you can’t target just one area to get rid of fat, anyway.

Suppose a company advertises their new product as a “flat belly” granola bar. It doesn’t really matter if there’s cinnamon (a known metabolism booster) in it – the granola bar still has calories. The act of eating it is essentially fighting your flat belly goals.

So unless a flat belly plan incorporates exercise for calorie burn and proper nutrition with a caloric deficit, it’s not really a “flat belly” plan. It’s just a ploy to get you to buy into it.

2. “Lose weight fast”

Anyone who promises that you’ll “lose weight fast” is full of it. And frankly, they make me quite angry because they convince people that it’s possible.

For example, just scrolling through Pinterest earlier today, I saw pins that said:

“Lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks.”

Or better yet:

“Lose 10 pounds in 3 days.”

“Lose 33 pounds in 2 weeks.”

WHAT?!? Not only is that just not going to happen, it’s not even safe!

The guidelines for healthy weight loss indicate losing 0.5-2 lbs a week, with 2 lbs a week at the most! The thought that people are out there promising you can continually lose as much as 16.5 lbs per week is ridiculous.

The most rapid weight losses I’ve seen have been on the show The Biggest Loser. The people on the show are put through very rigorous workouts and eating plans, with trained professionals overseeing them every step of the way. But even their large weight decreases during the first week are attributed mostly to water weight, and they certainly don’t continue losing weight at that rate the entire show.

Losing just 0.5-2 lbs in a week is hard enough. It’s just not accurate that our bodies can drop weight as quickly as these pinners say. Please don’t buy in to these ads.

3. “Fat-burning food”

Similar to the aforementioned granola bar, the tagline “fat-burning food” is a large misconception. A food is advertised this way because it either has a component that can “boost metabolism” or because it has very little calories, such as watermelon and celery. But these foods do not actually help burn your fat, but eating less food and exercising will.

No food gets into your body and immediately commits arson on your thigh fat. Remember that.

4. “Slim down drink/smoothie”

Likewise, any drink a company guarantees will help you slim down is probably just another hoax. Fit teas are one of the most guilty, but there are tons of other “detox drinks” and smoothies on the market as well.

While these may give you some good nutrients, they are not any more effective for health goals than the good old basics: healthy eating and exercise. Don’t waste your money!

Slim down drink is one of the major bogus fitness advertising phrases

5. “Everyday workout”

I’ve also run into a ton of programs that say, “Do this workout every day and you’ll get _____ result.”

To start, you shouldn’t do any workout every day. Our bodies can get injured by doing the same exercises over and over without rest.

Secondly, there’s usually multiple components to achieving a goal. For example, if you want to get a 6-pack, you’ll have to make changes to both your diet and your exercise to accomplish this goal. Simply doing 100 sit-ups every day won’t get you there. Beware this promise!

6. “Saying that one particular product will help you”

It also stands to reason that just one “miracle” product will not be the breakthrough you need. The fitness industry is saturated with products that really aren’t all that effective. Whether it’s weight loss pills (please don’t take these!) or a piece of home equipment you saw on an infomercial, it’s probably not going to be what finally helps you achieve your fitness aspirations.

What will get you there is a commitment to your goals and a recommitment every day to working towards them. It’s all about maintaining your motivation. Don’t buy the bogus products!

7. “Lose weight effortlessly/lose weight without exercising or changing your diet”

And going off of that, anyone who says you can lose weight without trying or without making lifestyle changes is lying to you. Not only that, they’re giving you a false idea of what it takes to lose weight.

The truth will be much harder to wrap your mind around now – the truth being that losing weight is freaking hard sometimes. You have to make sacrifices. You have to put in the work. It’s just that, plain and simple.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is doing you a disservice, and you should not listen to their advice.

Lose weight fast is another of the false fitness claims

The fitness world is a tricky, tricky place to navigate nowadays. With self-proclaimed nutritionists and fitness enthusiasts giving advice amongst the fitness professionals, it’s extremely challenging to differentiate what information is sound.

My advice? Challenge everything. Do your own research, and don’t take it from just one article. Read more.

I will always try to do my absolute best by you to give the most accurate, up-to-date information I can find. But new research comes out all the time, and it’s important that you stay on top of it as well.

I hope this has helped you to understand a little more about common fitness scams! Always do your research, especially before giving anyone your money!


7 bogus fitness claims that you should beware of

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