Dear Fitness Industry, Stop Scamming People

I want all of you to know that this is not to meant to de-value any one training style, or to ruffle the feathers of such fitness professionals, for some it’s not you’re fault….as the saying goes “if you can’t beat em, join em,” and if there is a demand there will always be someone to fill it (especially if it sells).  But just when I think we’ve exhausted the stupidity of training modalities, the internet proves me wrong and the cycle of bullshit workouts grows larger and larger.  I’m not coming from a position of “hating,” “jealousy,” or “envy.”  It’s not that they’re “successful” and i’m “not”…. It’s that thousands and thousands of people are getting misled and taken advantage of in the process.  I just truly believe I have the education, experience, and I give a damn enough about you to expose a major flaw in the industry.  A flow chart below will illustrate my thoughts:

 The "muscle confusion" continuum

The "muscle confusion" continuum

The longer I’ve been in the fitness industry, the more I hate the fitness industry.  The “top” influencers right now are not good trainers nor coaches, they’re just good marketers, that’s it.

Let me explain.  I love FITNESS, but I hate the INDUSTRY.  The fakes, facades, the fads, the gurus, the marketing, the scams, the novelties, the buzzwords, the cliche’s, the pornification, the god damn skinny tea…. All try to make the consumer believe that working out is everything it’s not (great results that are easy AND fun!)  So, in a sense, bad good marketing has created a demand that simply does not exist.  The GOOD side of the industry feels forced to adapt or they lose clients to Funzo Spin or “the so-and-so method“, and the DARK side can use it as a low bar to enter the industry (you don’t have to be smart to make a workout fun).  Both cases promise “insert exaggerated number of calories in an unusually low amount of time to reach unrealistic goal here.  The end result usually being poorly structured, poorly coached, unsafe, laser-light-rave-circus-shitshow of sweaty bodies flopping around doing random “stuff” designed to distract them with just enough bells and whistles that they don’t realize how much the workout is an uneducated grab bag of garbage set to loud music…or in other words, a totally fun workout that’s getting them nowhere.  “Innovation,” is a word they use to describe “bullshit they just made up.”

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But Kurt, at least they’re doing something.

OK, i get that…If it’s fun then they will want to come back/buy again/follow, like & share, etc.  Well no shit.  After all, even if they don’t get results, at least they had fun doing it, or you got a couple new shares/likes.  Who cares if it’s not quality training if it’s a really fun way to workout, right?  Then once the novelty finally does wear off, they just go searching for something “more fun, more novelty.”  It’s a vicious cycle.

For example, I came across a program recently that shall remain nameless. The creator has over a million followers and the workout is probably popular. The “novelty” is combining two popular training modalities, Pilates & High Intensity Interval Training. Let me put this as nicely as possible – Fuck this program and the person who is making money off of the poor souls who buy it. Why? Because you’re scamming people. You may not even know you’re scamming people because you’re too stupid to realize those two modalities should never be used in the same sentence, but you’re scamming people.  Not to mention the “before-and-afters” are altered… but “HOW DARE YOU QUESTION HER HARD WORK IN MY PROGRAM.”

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But listen to this… i’m about to blow your mind here.  You know what’s more fun than a fun workout? A workout that WORKS.  Trust me, the people you probably consider fit, don’t always love, or have fun during the workout… but they are addicted to the results, and THAT is what is FUN.  The ULTIMATE HIGH is located in the feeling you have when you get into your short-shorts at the beach, or do your first pull-up, or get a compliment from your gym-crush.  Do you think Michael Jordan will remember the thousands of hours practicing free-throws, or the 6 championships, 6 Finals MVP’s, and 5 League MVP’s?  Seeing results, even from a “not-so-fun” workout program, is INCREDIBLY FUN.  It is more fun than any fun you will ever have from a fun workout, I promise you that.

Now this is not to say that a workout CAN’T be fun, it certainly can.  And a workout doesn’t have to be miserable either, but there’s a give and take.  There’s no shame in trying to make an effective workout fun, but I see too many fitness fads banking on “fun” at the expense of “effectiveness.”  They create a gauntlet of complex/random/fancy movements that have no rhyme or reason other than to be “fun and sweaty.”   It’s great to have a fun workout, but the second you prioritize “fun” over physiological principles such as specificity, overload, progression, and energy systems, you are missing the trolley.

My point is that in the effort to “Make Exercise Fun Again” we’ve sacrificed the very thing that the consumer (should) want/s – to get results, whatever that may be.

Essentially, the industry wants your MONEY more than they want your RESULTS.  It’s sad, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

So here are my suggestions, for the consumers who may feel lost, the trainer who feels obligated to “innovate.” and the Industry.

Consumers:

If you can filter out the noise of colorful leggings, empty promises, and novelty workouts, there’s a lot of great coaches/programs out there that can really help you if you just drop the notion that every workout has to be “a magical journey from beginning to end.”  And if you NEED rainbows/lasers/unicorns to get you off the couch, you need to change your mindset.

Trainers:

Stop trying to learn ways to make a workout fun.  Learn ways to make it more effective (while keeping it fun).

And as for you, Fitness Industry:

Stop misleading people.

Stop scamming people.

It's not that hard.