Companies in the fitness and nutrition industry are not interested in your health but instead relieving you of your hard earned money. Everyone wants to lose fat, get a six pack, have more energy, look younger and live longer. The fitness and nutrition industry know this so they advertise their products or services with words and phrases that get your attention. The only problem is that these words or phrases do not mean anything or are irrelevant to what is being sold to you. Here is my top five most meaningless words and phrases that companies use to convince you to hand over your money.
Long, Lean, Toned Muscles
Long, Lean, Toned Muscles
All women want long, lean and toned muscles. No one wants to be short and bulky. Companies that sell services in yoga, Pilates and dance often use this phrase to convince people to spend money on their programs. It is not that I am against any of these types of workouts. I think many people can derive health benefits from any one of these programs. The reality is that if you have the genetics for short thick legs there is nothing you can do to lengthen them.
The term “long” is interpreted by the consumer to actually lengthen the extremity. Your bone length is determined by your DNA. The companies that sell these services actually mean increasing flexibility or the range of motion around a particular joint. Your muscle length will not change but the amount of movement around a joint could increase. “Come to our 60min Pilates class and increase the range of motion in your hip flexors” does not have quite the same selling attraction to females.
The term “lean” refers to how much body fat you have. The most effective treatment for fat loss is to follow a nutritious diet comprised mostly of plant based sources with the calories not exceeding the energy you expend daily. Exercise will help but plays a small role compared to diet. It takes 5min to eat an 800 calorie piece of cheesecake and up to 2 hours of intense exercise to burn it off.
The term “toned” is really not even a thing. It is just a state of tension in the muscle. When exercising you are either training with enough tension to build muscle or you are not. More tension equals an increase in muscle fiber size. Women have been afraid of getting big or “bulky” from weight training for years. This theory has been debunked numerous times. It is ignorant as someone to still think the world is flat. Increasing muscle is a good thing because it atrophies as you age. Bulk is the circumference of a particular body part. Some people may have thicker shorter bones, muscle and a layer of body fat over their legs. Resistance training does not make you bulky, doughnuts do.
Companies that sell energy drinks and supplements advertise their products by promising you will be less fatigued by their consumption. The reality is vitamins do not give you energy because they contain no calories. Energy drinks have some calories in the form of sugar which are quickly absorbed and used up. The stimulants in the drink such as caffeine have more of an effect on your nervous system. You may feel more alert temporarily but this soon fades. The side effects of increased heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenalin can have a long term negative impact on your body if consumed in large quantities. Instead you can increase your energy in these three ways:
- Sleep 8hrs plus per night. Your body needs to recover and de-stress from daytime activity. Proper sleep allows you to recharge for the stresses of the follow day by balancing hormonal levels.
- Improve your cardio fitness and muscular strength through exercise so that regular every day activity and sport feels easier to perform.
- Eat a diet that contains healthy carbohydrates so that you have the calories necessary to fuel long hard intense work.
Probably the two most common words used today to sell you useless products. You can find books selling month long cleanses, 14 day detoxes, 7 day cleanses and even one or two day detoxes if you are in a real hurry. Companies that sell detoxes and cleanses are usually focused on juicing, fasting methods or drinking concoctions such as distilled water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Supposedly this is supposed to clean out your organs. Right now there is no research that exists supporting any program, drink or fast that detoxifies or cleanses your body. There are no specific toxins experts can identify that are removed either. The human body has organs that do the job for us mainly the liver, kidneys and intestines. A person who is an alcoholic will damage their liver if they consume excessive amounts. The best way to detoxify from excessive alcohol consumption is “stop drinking alcohol”. If you eat a mostly plant based diet (75% of all your food intake), drink water, sleep well and go to the bathroom regularly you are as clean and toxin free as you are going to get.
This word is used to sell numerous products, mostly in supplements. I am sure many people have no idea what it even means but they want some of it anyway. Companies that are good advertisers know how to make you want something and convince you their product has it. Vitality generally means having more strength, energy, a feeling of being healthy and a zest for life. Products that claim they can help delay the aging process often use this word. Once again another tag word related to a product that promises more than is received. The hope people desperately have that something can help without putting in effort consumes us all. Good genes, not smoking, sleeping well, regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and being around people you love will give you all the vitality you need compared to a pill.
Your basal metabolic rate is how many calories are expended at rest. Many people, products and programs try to sell you on becoming leaner by boosting metabolism. One big culprit is Dr. Oz. He has gone from respected cardiac surgeon to a con man selling untruths just so that people will watch his show. Products on his program such as green tea, spices and coffee beans have all been touted to boost metabolism. Today there is no research that has a direct correlation to any specific product and any significant boost in metabolism that would have a long term effect on fat loss. There are pills that can boost metabolism while you take them. They usually contain caffeine and ephedrine. Many bodybuilders and figure competitors take them to get the last couple of pounds off before going on stage posing in a bikini in front of judges. They do work but there are consequences such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, irritability, anxiety, stress on adrenal glands, stroke and even death. Once you stop taking them your metabolism reverts back to where it was. Some ways you can give your body a metabolic increase without the risk of dying are:
- Add muscle through weight training. About 6-8 calories per day for every pound of lean tissue added. Not much but can be significant when 5-10lbs of lean mass are added over time.
- Engage in high intensity exercise. You get a temporary metabolic boost for 1-2hrs post exercise. Not 36hrs like some fitness scam artists claim.
- Eat a bit more protein. You expend more energy digesting protein than fats or carbs.
Weight loss, anti- aging, increasing energy and long term health is the desire of everyone. We so want to believe that there is some special pill, workout program or drink that will take care of this for us. We believe it so much that North Americans will spend over 100 Billion dollars this year trying to achieve these objectives. If you look at past history it is not working. We are a fat society that depends on medicine to keep our sickly bodies alive. Instead of wasting money on the magic bean spend it on healthy food you make yourself, go on an active vacation with your family and don’t feel bad about enjoying the occasional treat.