By Maria Chung
That's how I'll be greeting you all for a couple of months when I am in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach...cocktail in hand...in my new Brazilian bikini. Shit, bikini means being half-naked. I've already accumulated winter bulk and there is no way I'll be wearing a bikini in my current state.
Better kick up my fitness regimen!!
This conversation or something very similar has probably run through your head before. Whether it is your 2016 New Year's Resolution to get fit, getting ready for that Hawaii vacation, or planning to look your best at your wedding; there are TONS of “lose weight quick” scams on the internet that use marketing tactics to reel you in and grab your money.
I have fallen for lots of these in the early part of my fitness journey. In my quest for a rock hard 6-pack, I used countless diet pills, detoxes, cookie cutter meal plans, diuretics and laxatives. The only thing these were successful in doing was burning a hole in my wallet, slowing down my metabolism, and causing binge eating.
These are some things to absolutely avoid:
1. Fitness icons selling fitness and meal plans: Just because someone looks good does not mean s/he is a good coach, let alone qualified to coach. Also, if this icon is busy promoting supplements, training for competition, works full-time, and travelling for photoshoots, do you really think you will get the attention and support you need?
2. Waist trainers / slimmers / wraps: This is the silliest thing I've ever seen and I still don't understand why people think they work.
3. Detoxes and juice cleanses: Your liver and kidney are all you need to detoxify your body. Many detoxes/cleansers eliminate entire food groups, are extremely high in sugar, and low in the protein necessary to keep you healthy.
4. Supplement stack, diet pills, and metabolism boosters that are “GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SHED 15 LBS OF FAT IN 4 WEEKS!!”: This includes raspberry ketones, green coffee beans, ephedrine, et cetera. Does this sound too good to be true? There is a reason why the weight loss supplement industry is $35B. Don't be the one who gives even more money to this industry without getting the results you think you're paying for.
5. Booty training plans that accompany a 1,300 calorie or lower diet. Fact: you cannot grow muscle on a calorie deficit. Period.
6. Body/sauna wraps. These things make you sweat more, pulling more water out of your body than you need to. It is temporary water weight you just lost, which you will gain right back when you rehydrate.
7. Weight loss teas. A lot of these teas include diuretics or laxatives that may be harmful for your gut. The most important factor when it comes to weight loss is eating less than you expend. Calories in vs. calories out.
8. Ab crunch machines. The only thing ab machines are good for is increasing endurance on bodyweight ab crunches. They won't develop muscles unless you add resistance.
THE QUICK AND DIRTY
What signs should I look out for?
- Does it sound too good to be true?
- If your fitness icon is selling “custom training and meal plans” yet boasts about having “300 satisfied clients” or “only 100 spots left” do you really think you will be getting a personalized plan?
- The words “secret” “quick” and “easy” show up multiple times in their copy. The only “secret” to weight loss is good old fashioned calories in vs calories out. “Quick” weight loss is usually not fat loss, but temporary water loss. And losing weight is certainly never “EASY”. It takes 24/7 effort and you WILL be hungry.
- Other phrases to watch out for are “scientific breakthrough” “guaranteed” and “carb/fat-blocker”. Unless they have replaced the laws of thermodynamics, they are not scientific breakthroughs. Nothing is ever guaranteed unless you put in the work. And, our bodies don't block carbs or fat. If you ate it, you will metabolize it. Metabolism is the complex process of converting food into usable energy for cells. Beyond throwing it up right away the body will not block food.
- In today's digital world, many “client testimonials” are completely fake. Especially if it is a product or service that is exclusively sold online. Don't rely on these. Do as much research as possible.
- Many magazines overexaggerate things and try to re-invent the wheel by labelling exercise regimens and eating protocols as “revolutionary”. There is nothing new under the sun.
What are better alternatives? “list of reliable books/resources”
Hire a high-quality, reliable coach. Ask about his or her coaching philosophy, testimonials, and if he or she has worked with someone like you before
If you cannot hire a coach, here is a list of free resources so that you can take matters into your own hands:
- Getting started with a weight training routine: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/
- Free training programs: www.bodybuilding.com
- Comprehensive resource of exercises: www.ExRx.com
- Supplementation: www.examine.com
- Performing maintenance and understanding your body's mechanics: www.mobilityWOD.com
- Nutrition calculator: www.eatthismuch.com
- Body fat percentage calculator: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/library/blbodyfatcalculator.htm, http://fitness.bizcalcs.com/Calculator.asp?Calc=Body-Fat-Navy
Have you fallen for a scam before? Do you know of reliable coaches and resources that have helped you tremendously in your fitness journey? Leave a comment below: