You don't need to look far to see offers of a drink that will be your solution to muscle gains, a tablet for weight loss, a non-evasive surgical procedure for visible abs, a 2 minute workout for the body you've always wanted and much more.
Some are better disguised than others and some simply try to bamboozle you with words that make you think "Yeah - I need that in my life!" I mean just watch this Garnier advert for an example of these promises...
Apparently it's the "L-Bifidus" that means I only need to moisturise once a week?... Have I missed something!?...
At times it can be hard to decifer what's hard science, "bro-science" or marketing fluff.
Here's a few things to look out for:
DON'T fall for short term promises
Ultimately, there's a reason you have "gym regulars". Health and being in good condition comes from regular and consistent exercise with a balanced diet the majority of the time. If you could do things for just a short time and have them mastered then there wouldn't be full time athletes. They'd practice once a week and keep a regular job in all of their free time. People dedicate themselves to a sport just like individuals will dedicate years to building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The guy on the front of the "12 week body" didn't get his physique in 12 weeks... well, if he did, he probably wasn't in bad nick to start with.
Remember your starting point
"The enourmous lady in the advert lost 5 stone in 5 weeks... I'd like to lose 5 stone in 5 week" you say. Consider your current activity level vs their current activity level. The likelihood is if she's buying home workout programmes then she's not a gym member and we can assume therefor, in the majority of cases, she doesn't exercise regularly. So, to take something like the "Insanity" workout and train 6 days a week from doing nothing originally, of COURSE she's going to lose weight! This doesn't mean everyone can expect the same results. The big lady in the add probably would have lost weight if she took her dog for two brisk walks a day; it doesn't mean we can start selling dogs as a weight loss solution.
If your diet has an end date then it's useless
Ultimately you're always "on a diet". It might not be a good diet, but it's your diet. The solution to managing your weight and forming a desirable physique and maintaining the required energy levels is to form a sustainable diet. Dieting for a holiday in four weeks might require some last minute tweaking; but expecting to crash diet for just 4 weeks to undo 40 something weeks of punishing your body!?.. You don't have the balance right there I'm afraid.
If a workout guarantees results - avoid it
There are so many variables that impact results including rest, current activity levels and diet. To offer guaranteed results is impossible. Worse still, if they put a number to it such as "7lbs in the first week" just run for the hills. This is not to say you won't benefit from it at all - just be wary "promises" aren't always promises.
There is no "BEST"
If someone is selling you "the best" (not "one of the best") then they're lying! There is no best! That goes for exercises and diets alike. Different things will work for different individuals. This is why it can be short sighted to buy a product from an online or television advert and expect life changing results every time.
Short and sharp...but not THAT short!
As peoples lives become busier and people become lazier, many people are looking for the next best/shortest thing. While short, sharp intervals are great for burning body fat and improving your metabolic rate, be wary of anything that suggests you do "just 5 minutes a day" or similar. Best solution? Make time and stop being so lazy!
"Look I'm hardly even breaking a sweat but still getting a really great workout"
If the people on the TV sales channel aren't really sweating, they're smiling and chatting non-stop about pointless things then it's not a good workout. You don't have to be in pain to workout but you do need see a distinct difference between "workout mode" and "day-to-day" mode. Somewhere along the line you're going to need to work hard!
Don't believe the hype... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vQaVIoEjOM
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