Love thy enemy #3 Infomercials

Posted on January 23, 2012. Filed under: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , |

If there is one thing that raises the ire of a fitness professional or almost guaranteed to get an eye roll from those who choose to make fitness a profession they respect and care about it’s infomercials.

Infomercials are the bane of every coaches existence and a boost to any would-be trainer who wishes to make a quick buck.

Biases up front, I have very set views about infomercials.  Although not as band as my younger years.  Back in the day I used to tell my coworkers if they ever see me on an infomercial to please shoot me and put me out of my misery.  I have mellowed a lot since than.

The issue most professionals take with infomercials is they keep promoting the myth of the “fitness secret.”  That super secret exercise routine or diet, that has just not yet been discovered by science.

The main problem is that this creates a mind set which is not healthy.  Nor does it eliminate the need for a continual correct nutrition and regular exercise routine.  Think of it this way, let’s say there was an actual magic pill.

You take it and you automatically lose weight and have the body size you want.  Great, but here’s the thing even if you have the magic pill you still have to worry about

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Flexibility
  • bone density
  • functional strength
  • joint stability
  • blood pressure
  • Physical mobility
  • Strength of  your Immune system

You get the idea.

Even if there was magic pill you’d still have to follow correct nutrition & exercise to truly enjoy the use of your new body.

So what positives can we learn from infomercials.  In a word,  Communication.

Infomercials are great for hype, they are also good at communicating there message to the general public in an efficient matter.  Something a lot of fitness professionals lack.

The true experts in our field are brilliant, geniuses in some cases.  They also have no idea how to talk to the general public.  And thus get tuned out.  Here’s an example:

  • “We live in the midst of a pandemic of degenerative diseases stemming from one major and one less major cause: (1) absence or inadequate physical activity signaling DNA sequencing of health protein turnover, and (2) malnutrition from industrial foods instead of the nutrient dense whole foods our ancestral genes crave in order to do their brilliant job.”
The writer behind this is brilliant.  And he is discussing the importance of proper design behind an exercise, nutrition program for the best results.
  • ...a fat-fighting diet that reintroduces the body to high-energy foods to fuel physical activity for Phase 1 of the fitness program, .., a seven-day program that incorporates nutrient rich foods that blasts away the last few stubborn pounds and keeps you from hitting weight-loss plateaus. And, a sustainable weight management program to keep the pounds off and maintain your ideal sexy weight. 
  • Three-phase, sculpting, cardio and flexibility program works in unison with the nutrition plan… Phase 1 lays the groundwork for a strong foundation, as the intensity gradually builds throughout Phases 2 and 3. Each workout includes modified moves to accommodate varying degrees of fitness. So, whether you’re at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, it’s right for you!
The writer of this is not brilliant, and is discussing the same thing.  Who would you rather listen to?  Who do you think your friends would rather listen to?
So what lessons can we learn from the info-mercials
  1. Speak simply.  No one wants to come in to a gym and hear a lecture of scientific jargon.  Yes, ye, I know it’s not jargon.  and so do my clients but they honestly don’t care.  They just want me know it.
  2. For goodness sakes listen.  I always encourage my clients to vent, complain, call me names and question whenever they feel like it.  Just because I think I explained it well doesn’t mean they understood it.  Make sure they know they can ask us to clarify.
  3. Make the gym Plug & Play.  Too often going in to the gym is made in to a big production as well as the eating.  we need to simplify our framework and approach so the client can choose how deep they want the info to go.  some people just want to show up, tune out and do the work.  Other want to know the roots behind every equation.  We need to be able to accommodate both.
By the way, these suggestions are just as important when you are trying to help a friend, family member, etc.

Maybe, just maybe, if people start seeing the true professionals of this industry as approachable friendly people.  Instead of academic elitist and hard nosed coaches.  They’d listen in a bit more.  Other wise we’re just going around in circles preaching to the choir.  So come on fitness people, let’s stop criticizing the Baskin-Robbins all the time, and mix in a little Tony Robbins.  What do you say?

Keep Fitness Groovy,

Coach W


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Love the photo at the top of the blog entry 😀

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