Very little gets me bubbling as badly as shitty fucking fitness programs and quick fix diets. Do I expect it from the “weight loss industry”? Yes. Do I expect it from “network marketing companies”? Yes. Do I expect it from the “diet pill industry”? Yes. Do I expect it from personal trainers? NO. I do not. And you shouldn’t either.
I hear so many stories of people taking this ” 7 Day, 14 Day, 21 Day, yada yada yada” program” that they lost a ton of weight on, BUT hurt their shoulder or their hip or their leg AND gained back all of the weight in a week off the program! Personal trainers are someone people should be able to trust to keep them on the right path to fitness and wellness. That’s my opinion. If someone wants a quick fix fad diet, then they can get it anywhere! And it pisses me off to no end that “personal trainers” are selling shitty fucking diets as a way to get “numbers” so that they can get MORE clients to fuck up.
I stay pretty silent on what trainers are doing what, mostly. But I’m tired of that. My clients and anyone who knows me, knows that I promote healthy eating, exercise, and a healthy mindset. I promote health and I recognize not everyone is after that. For some people it’s all about looks and only looks. They eat fucking pop tarts because it “fits their macro’s” – fine, that’s your style not mine. It isn’t healthy. It’s just another way to eat whatever the fuck you want but stay thin. Processed foods are not healthy. Period. Can you be thin? Yes. But are you healthy? Unlikely.
It truly baffles me how a trainer can assign a meal plan that promotes disordered eating and body image and focuses on nothing else but numbers. Weigh ins every week, strict diet plans designed to drop 4-10lbs in one week, gruelling workouts that most people are not physically ready for. But do they care? No, because in truth what they care about is the significance they get from being the trainer that can help someone lose 20lbs in 4 weeks and how many more people want to train with them because of it.
And that makes me angry. Because it’s a trainers responsibility to teach people about weight, the addictions to the scale, mental health impact of obsessing over weight, looks, ideal BMI and body image. It’s a trainers responsibility to build a program that ensures a clients’ safety first. Without a solid base injuries can and will happen. Never compromise form for numbers. Where’s the base line program to ensure shoulders, hips, lower back, core is protected and strong? Where’s the form based classes? Where’s the education about how to build a strong body and where’s the education on food? How to sustain and maintain a healthy diet?
In most facilities and with MOST trainers, it’s simply not there. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. I’ve made mistakes in coaching and training. But my program design is solid. I always, even in groups, provide warm ups and workouts to ensure all muscle groups are getting targeted. This is why my injury rate is so low. It’s because I build the frame first and I don’t compromise for quick results. I stand behind my diet plans because they are healthy and use real foods to “detox” people in week 1 of a plan, but they are balanced plans that provide sustainable weight loss, focused on eating real food and eating consistently.
But of course, it’s not all the trainers fault. Clients want quick results, they push for it, they make trainers feel like that have to give it to them or they’re not successful. I fell into this trap for a little while, myself. BUT, it is MY responsibility to tell a client what I do and what I do not do. If what I do isn’t in alignment with what they want then I can refuse to train them and send them elsewhere. It is MY moral responsibility to ensure the safety, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally, of any client in my care. They put their hard earned money and trust in me to provide them with the BEST that I can. Quick fix, fasting days, 400 calorie days, shake days, IIFYM, cheat days, binge days, bread days, soup days, water days – you name it, it’s out there.
It all sounds a lot like cabbage soup diet, south beach diet, atkins diet, fat free diet, banana and steak diet, grapefruit diets. We all laugh at those, but the reality is, all of these “training programs” are doing the same thing. Look at performance athletes – how do they eat? Most of them eat balanced, healthy, clean/real foods. Because their performance depends on it. And when they train hard and they eat well, the body takes care of itself. It really is that simple. But it requires a constant and dedicated commitment to a “lifestyle”.
If you wanna be a bodybuilder or a figure model, different story; there’s a completely different lifestyle for that. I used to be a little angry about the “bodybuilding” world because I knew the lifestyle wasn’t healthy, but most “clients” going in don’t realize that. But when Phil Heath was quoted recently as saying ” I don’t wanna be healthy, I wanna be huge”… it all made sense. That’ what he wants and clients who want the same will go to him. Clients who want to be healthy will find the right trainer and right coach for them. When I get pissed off it’s because coaches and trainers are saying this SHIT is fucking healthy when it’s not.
Yes, research shows this and research shows that. 12 years in the fitness industry doesn’t mean I know everything but what I can say, in my humble experience, is that a plan that a client cannot LIVE for life is a failure. It can be the best fucking plan in the world, but if they can’t do it longterm, it failed. Because it has to be sustainable to them because MOST clients who show up to a trainer want to be healthy, they want to look and feel good in their clothes, they want to be fit. Instead they’re being sold some fucked up version of the cabbage soup diet, they’re standing on scales obsessed about how much sugar is in a fucking apple and fasting every few days and training hard. Does that sound sensible or sustainable? No, it’s not.
Eventually, they’ll burn out and quit and regain the weight they lost because the lifestyle their trainer set them up on wasn’t sustainable. And if lucky, they will only regain the weight, they won’t have lasting emotional and psychological issues surrounding weight, body image and food. But in my experience, every time they try and fail one of these programs, they are hit a little fucking harder every time. And they have to work that much harder to get themselves into a healthy place where food and exercise become a part of their lifestyle.
Most days I mosey on my merry little way, doing what I do and letting other people do what they do. But then I go out somewhere and hear the following:
“my friend is going _____ and they fast like everyday, what do you think of that?”
“my friend is going _____ and they are like throwing up at their workouts, is that safe?”
“my mother is going ____ and they have her on so many protein shakes a day, like 2-3 days a week, all shakes, is that safe?”
This is what I hear, day in and day out and sometimes it’s so fucking exhausting to listen to. Trainers need to take responsibility for what they are creating in the world. And people smarten up for fuck sakes!! You’re a smart, amazing, intelligent human being who knows that an apple and nuts is healthier than a fucking pop tart. You know that fasting or doing shake days 2-3 days a week is not sustainable. You know these things. Don’t compromise your safety for getting lean quick. Don’t compromise the health of your body to get lean quick. Don’t compromise your integrity to yourself to get lean quick. Don’t compromise your self love, self respect to get lean quick. Don’t compromise your emotional, mental or physical health to get lean quick.
Use your common sense. Stop the quick fix gimmicks. Ask trainers the right questions. Do your research before you buy into a quick fix program. Realize that these things are short term, unsustainable band aid solutions. Eat healthy. Exercise. Take care of your emotional and mental and physical needs and your body will automatically take care of the rest.