When I began my fitness journey over 4 years ago, it grew into such a large passion of mine that I actually studied personal training through the American Council of Exercise. I learned about muscles and how to develop training programs to each individual. But as I became more and more involved with this industry, I slowly started to realize that this was just another area to make money and exploit people’s desire to be accepted by society.  I did a post a while back about the fitness industry, but I wanted to delve a little deeper after being in it a little longer, and finally deciding to turn away from that field, and instead motivate others through my own thing. With all of that being said, I would like to discuss some top issues within the fitness industry and how to overcome them.

Fitness Industry Issues

There are quite a few underlining issues within the fitness industry that do not immediately shine through. What I mean is, until you keep going at it, on your health and fitness journey, as you become more educated you can begin to realize more of what is fake and what is real. My number one example of this is:

Restrictive Diets

They are everywhere, I swear, each week there is something new. How can anyone sift through what’s real anymore? Do you have any idea where to start? What works and what doesn’t? Probably not, especially if you are just beginning. Chances are, you are following what someone else suggested or told you works. That’s okay, you didn’t know! It’s not your fault that the media and these corporations are shoving all of these (expensive) diets down our throats. Just last night I noticed a new commercial that Atkins had, promoting their new Atkins 40 plan that offers some more flexibility to their original diet plan. The guy promoting the commercial made a comment about “Low carb, low sugar” and it stood out to me. So often, diet plans are telling us to be “low carb”, “low fat”, “sugar free”, “meat-free”, and the list just goes on and on! But here’s the thing, you do not have to ban a macronutrient (protein, carb or fat) in order to lose weight. You could lost weight eating nothing but double cheeseburgers – so long as you are within a calorie deficit. Sidenote: I do not suggest a double cheeseburger diet. 🙂 Look, people have turned weight loss into this super complicated, complex crossword puzzle in order to make money off people desperate for a quick fix. I’m sorry, but proper weight loss takes time. If it comes off quick, you will probably regain it quickly. You didn’t gain 10 pounds over night, therefore you won’t lose 10 pounds overnight. It takes discipline, structure, and hard freaking work!
Cutting out sugar and processed foods is never a bad thing. I try to stick to whole foods as often as possible, with processed foods such as cookies, cake, etc. a couple times a week, but I’d say 3 times max. But let me explain to you why you need proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and why cutting out one will not offer you a sustainable solution. Would you lose weight? Sure. But overtime, your body will not work or feel its best.
Protein, we know, is a component of each cell within the body. Proteins are what make enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals, and are the building blocks for skin and bones. They are necessary in repairing and building tissue. This is why, if you are exercising, you need to be consuming more protein to build up that tissue that exercising tears down. Could you imagine if you were constantly working out and breaking down tissue, but were not consuming protein to build it back up? Yikes!
Carbohydrates are fuel! They are necessary so do not fear them. Carbs are in fruits, whole grains, and even vegetables. They help to reduce belly bloating and the fiber helps to keep things regular. They also lift your mood and give you energy, which is why they are great to consume as a pre-workout. On top of all those things, they are yummy! So if you cut these out, you could begin to feel depressed or sad, low on energy, or notice some agitation.
A couple years ago everyone was going on the whole low fat kick! That has managed to change somewhat, but there are still a few who fear fat. When I say “fat”, I am not talking about that thick piece of fat on the edge of a steak. I mean a nice, oily fat such as salmon, avocados, or nuts. Think: Oil. These puppies help our brain, nerve function, energy, and they are packed with vitamins and nutrients. You need to make sure that you measure your portion sizes on fats though, because they are high in calories.
What you should aim to do, is fill half of your plate with a serving of vegetables, a quarter of it with protein, a quarter with a serving of carbs, and sprinkle some fat on top. Try to measure out and weigh your portions, at least at first. This gives you freedom to eat that potato, that peanut butter, that brown rice, it’s all about portion sizes and moderation. Oh, and you don’t have to pay extra for that. #justsayin

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Coaches and Instructors without Credentials

Let’s move on to the next issue I see within the fitness industry: Fitness “Professionals” without credentials. I am sure you have seen this, I have countless times! The thing about the internet is, no one really knows who you are. I could say that I am a renown fitness coach, sell you an ebook I created myself, I have no education and then you end up hurt. There are a bunch of people, some are even insta-famous, who have created and sold fitness ebooks or consider themselves fitness professionals, but have you asked to see their credentials? Yea, they do not have any! Except their own personal experience. Everyone has that! Wait, so everyone is a fitness professional? Didn’t think so.
If you want to work with someone who you feel confident about, but you don’t see that they have credentials for their knowledge and they cannot provide you with those, then I suggest you use caution. Personal experience is one thing, but without proper education, even what they are doing could be wrong. What works for one does not work for everyone, and be advised that you could end up injuring yourself.

Instagram Versus Reality

This just kills me you know? Everyone is always trying to be something they’re not and I don’t understand why we can’t love and be loved for who we are. But, such is our society and such is it that folks edit, pose, and pretend on social media. There are very few people who are always ripped as if they are entering a professional bikini competition. That life, that body, it is not sustainable. If they are sustaining it, you don’t see it, but I promise you they feel awful. I was there, I know. Mood swings, depression, hunger, guilt, body image issues, I mean the list goes on.
I try to be as real as I can on my social media you guys. I am strong and I have a beautiful body. It can do pull ups, throw around weights, move without pain, it sometimes experiences bloating, cramping, abs can be visible or not. It loves pizza night and craves cookies every now and again. It’s getting better at certain yoga poses and increasing endurance. Each one of us has a unique beauty. And I know you don’t always feel beautiful (or handsome), but you are. You’re not Instagram-beautiful, you are YOU-beautiful. That’s so much more than a photo shopped piece of “perfection”.

Too Many Articles, Not Enough Facts

Again with the over-stuffing of information. Just like the nonstop diet trends, there are all sorts of articles on the internet that contradict one another and leave you wondering how in the world you are supposed to lose weight, live healthy, and get stronger. UGH! I mean, one day crunches are the ultimate ab blaster, the next, they will injure your spine. Yesterday an apple a day kept the doctor away, but today an apple with have your doctor rushing to tell you they cause cancer! WTF!?
So how do you sift through what’s real and what’s artificial gimmicks to keep you buying and searching for new fads? Simple: KISS. :-* Keep It Simple Stupid. Go back to the basics sweetheart! If something ever contradicts itself, keep doing what you were doing so long as it was working for you. Also keep in mind, trends will come and go, so my advice is not to fall into them in the first place.

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Too Much “Healthy” Food

Here we go again, people are just trying to make a bunch of money. Pay attention to all of those bars and superfood shakes your are buying and probably spending way too much money on. Have noticed the ingredients in some of that stuff? People will create anything to make money. The sad thing is, we as consumers will buy anything that promises results. Like slimming shakes, meal replacement bars, fat burners, fat blockers, etc. I have nothing against supplements necessarily, but pay attention to the ingredients in what you choose to buy. Maybe give some of the listed ingredients a Goog to see exactly what is what. You might be surprised.

A Lot of Fitness “Models”, Not Enough Role Models

Last but not least is the countless number of fitness “models” on Instagram. Apparently, so long as you workout, are skinny, or you take a bunch of photos of yourself, you are an immediate fitness model! Gosh, if only I’d known this sooner. Maybe I would have my angel wings by now, who’s with me?
Seriously though, you can’t just be skinny, claim your frame comes from working out, post tons of photos of yourself, and label yourself this way. I mean, you can but you shouldn’t. You are giving this ideological image that fitness people or people trying to get on their fitness journey, should have. Unattainable goals are all anyone sees and it makes those people feel like they will never get there, that they won’t fit in, it makes them self conscious and they question their ability and strength.
We don’t need another Instagram fitness model who works out in a bikini and styled hair and makeup (who the f*ck does that though?!), we need someone to show you that off days are part of the journey, you won’t always want to work out but if you can just do something you are making progress. We need role models to show us that we are SUPER strong, but when we sit down skin folds over skin and it makes us look pudgy. 🙂 We need a role model who eats colorful foods and posts the ideas all over their Insta feed, except for that delicious pizza that they consumed half of on Friday night! We need a leader, a motivator, a supporter, and a friend who isn’t afraid to sweat, swear, get dirty, and some days, just give in! F*ck society’s idealistic image of women, fitness, skinny, fat, change your mind, change your choices, change who you follow, and together we can change this world.

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