Skip the gym...get fit

Don't fall for fitness scams

One of the adages I strongly believe in is: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Fitness and weight loss product marketing has become all about manipulation. In this Instalment of the column, I'll go over the widely employed methods used to sell programmes and products that may not be worth your time and/or money.


This method is frequently used to make something sound like some sort of magical potion that's supposedly responsible for optimal health. It's easier to convince you that it's effective because it's not familiar to you.

Just think of how difficult it would be to sell something that's local and widely available, like coriander leaves. We've been consuming tonnes of coriander leaves since time immemorial and so far, it hasn't performed any miracle, but if someone claims that an exotic herb from China is miraculous, some of us will outright reject it and some will be intrigued.

This is how this method works, piquing your interest and then further manipulating you into buying the (possibly) bogus product.


Many ads will provide some sort of pseudostudy about how your difficulty to lose weight, build muscle or have energy is due to something you were not aware of and can't control.

What follows this sob story is the audacious claim that only their product can help you in this existential crisis. You might wonder if this product is so critical, how millions of people are doing fine without it. The ads will tell you that those who are fine without the product don't have the genetic disadvantage you [likely] suffer from.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that suffers from a victimhood epidemic. Taking full responsibility for one's health is always a bitter pill to swallow, so anyone making a claim that you don't have to take this responsibility will likely get a lot of people on board.


This particular method targets those who have been trying to get in shape but haven't achieved their desired goal.

Here's the truth: anyone and everyone has endured and continues to endure frustration and disappointment on their way to success. No one has it all figured out. Making mistakes is not only inevitable, but also necessary to learn more about yourself and what works for you.

What this method does is try to convince you that you're not achieving your desired results because there's something wrong with your environment, your diet, etc. It's quite similar to the "it's not your fault" method, but is more believable.

It makes sense to some extent – there must be some reason why you have not reached your goals despite your hard work, right? Often stress is held accountable. Makes sense; why not blame something we all believe is bad and is existent in our day-to-day lives?

After all is said and done, by all means go ahead purchase that lifetime supply of whey protein powder if you feel you need it and you like the way it tastes [I highly doubt this] but don't ever let someone convince you that you're "broken" or you absolutely, positively "need" something that doesn't grow in this country to achieve your fitness goals. And most certainly don't convince yourself that your health is not your responsibility.


Photo: Collected