Don’t confuse marketing for science

Don’t confuse marketing for science

We’ve all been there. You’re at the gym and you see some new fitness fad advertised on TV or social media and you think to yourself, “That's the answer I have been looking for!” You do a quick Google search to see if there is any scientific evidence to support the claims made by the marketing team of the latest fitness fad. In the majority of cases, there isn’t.

We all want to be healthy and in shape. But with so much fitness information out there, it's hard to know what's true and what's just a load of bullshit. And, let's be honest, a lot of it is bullshit.

Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it works. The health and fitness industry is a $30 billion industry. And with so much money on the line, there's bound to be a fair share of BS looking to make a quick buck.

One of the biggest differences between marketing and science is that marketing relies on persuasion while science relies on facts. Marketers use various tactics to persuade people to buy their products or services, such as providing information about a product or service, offering discounts or coupons, conducting market research, and using mass media to reach a large number of people.

Marketers are more concerned with making money while scientists are more concerned with discovering new knowledge. For example, a drug company may develop a new medication that has potential side effects but they are more likely to release it to the public because it is profitable while a scientist may choose not to publish their findings if they feel further research needs to be done to ensure public safety.

So how can you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to health and fitness information? Here are three tips to help you spot the BS.

Beware of miracle claims

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Any product or programme that promises miraculous results in a short space of time is likely to be selling you a big box of BS. Be especially wary of claims that are backed up by "testimonials" rather than solid evidence. A lot of times, companies will cherry pick the best testimonials to showcase on their website or social media platforms. If someone tells you that you can get six-pack abs without diet or exercise, they're full of shit. Or if they claim that a new diet pill will help you lose weight without changing your lifestyle, they're bullshitting you.

Look for red flags

When you're evaluating a new diet or exercise regimen, look out for any red flags that suggest it might not be as effective as it claims to be. For example, does it cut out entire food groups or require you to purchase specialised (and expensive) supplements? Does it demand significant time and effort without any guarantee of results? These are all warning signs that you should proceed with caution.

Be skeptical of extreme claims

When you're looking at different fitness programs or products, be skeptical of any that make extreme claims. For example, if a program promises to help you lose 10kg in a month, it's probably not going to deliver on that promise, and if it did, I would argue that your long term health is at risk. If a product claims to increase your strength by 100%, it's probably not going to do that either. Extreme claims should make you skeptical and cause you to question whether the person or company making them is full of shit.

Check the credentials

When someone offers advice on fitness or nutrition, check their credentials to make sure they're qualified to give it. For example, are they a registered dietitian or certified personal trainer? Have they published any scientific research on the topic? If not, their advice might not be worth taking. Do your research, read reviews and check out independent studies (not just those conducted by the company).

Watch out for "secret" solutions

If someone says they have a secret solution to getting in shape or losing weight, they're probably bullshitting you. There are no secrets when it comes to fitness—it's all about working towards your goals and being consistent with your diet and activities. So, if someone claims they have a secret solution, they're probably just trying to sell you something and not actually help you.

Be cautious of before-and-after photos

Before-and-after photos can be helpful in showing the results of a particular program or product. But they can also be misleading. Sometimes people use old photos or manipulate them using Photoshop or other editing software. So, take before-and-after photos with a grain of salt and look for other ways to verify the results claimed by the person or company before you spend any money involved..

The fitness industry is full of bogus products and faddy diets that promise miracles but deliver nothing. The next time you see an advertisement for a new fitness fad, take a step back and ask yourself if it is something that you really need or if you are just being persuaded by clever marketing tactics. Remember, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it works. By being skeptical, asking questions, and doing your research, you can separate the fact from the fiction and find the information that will actually help you reach your fitness goals.


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