There are quite literally THOUSANDS of different workout, nutrition, diet, and health programs, services, products, etc. From shakes and pills to at home workout equipment to coaching programs, how are you supposed to even know where to begin?
I mean, honestly.
Sometimes I sit back and put myself in clients’ shoes – I would be lost. Heck, even in my own shoes it can be confusing and I’ve had 4.5 years of higher education, 10 formal certifications, access to and completion of at least 4 additional certifications, countless continuing education resources, not to mention research articles and other information that I consume through social media and internet.
It’s just all too much sometimes. that’s what we’re talking about today.
How can you weed through it all? I’ve put together four questions that act as a filter before you try something new. These will help to weed through the information (and the people promoting it) so that you know prior to investing that it will be a good fit for you.
I do want to give a disclaimer before I dive into the questions. By no means would I say these questions are all-encompassing. There are still products, services, and programs that may pass them but might not be a good fit for you. But they are a starting point. The baseline, if you will.
This is where we start. Then, like I’ve mentioned before, we can continue to question as we dive deeper and learn more about them.
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This aired on the Fuel Your Freedom Podcast! You can find it here and on all major podcast platforms.
So, all that to say, let’s dive into the questions, shall we?
Does it sound too good to be true?
This is a HUGE one, which is why I kicked off the list with it.
Have you ever heard the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”?
I don’t think this statement is truer anywhere but the health and fitness space, specifically the supplement industry. As humans, we’re wired to want things fast, yesterday if possible. (Amazon Prime shipping, anyone?) Our entire society is set up in a way to provide that instant gratification we crave – advertising and the supplement industry is no exception.
There are quite literally powders and pills for everything and anything you could ever want.
Unfortunately, we often want these end results so badly that we think this new product will get us here. We spend money on the products, thinking they’ll do all the things they say in the advertisement. Only to discover that it does not in fact work alone – the hard work, discipline, and time are still requirements. Fat burning supplements are a great example.
Not all fat burners have the same ingredients, but I’m going to put them all in the same category. Some fat burners have been studied in formal research and shown to burn more fat in comparison to the placebo. That is true.
But what the advertisements neglect to mention is that the people in the studies were also on calorie-controlled diets, exercising at moderate to high intensities multiple times per week, getting adequate sleep, incorporating stress management techniques into their day, etc. All of those BASIC habits that we talk about when making any lifestyle change – Those are there. THEN the fat burner (or other supplement) is stacked on top of them.
So, instead of the magic pill that the companies advertise, the fat burner is exactly what it is at the core: a supplement. It may push you further, but if you don’t have the habits in place, it’s nothing more than a waste of money. Side note, fat burners are ABSOLUTELY not necessary, and you do not need them, even if you have those basics nailed.
Some services market toward having this brand new, secret, never-before-seen information as a play to get you to buy their service. But when we step back from the situation, remove the emotion that was called by the advertisement, and think: Does it make sense that an Instagram influencer has a never-before-researched piece of information? OR Does it make more sense that they’ve perhaps mis-interpreted research and existing information to fit a narrative they want to tell?
Now, this is not to downplay the people on social media; there are hundreds of reputable, smart people on social media. (Yes, even Instagram.) But we have to be able to think logically, instead of with our emotions that are brought up when we see one of these advertisements or a post explaining the “next best thing for your weight loss journey”.
Does it sound too good to be true? If so, it’s probably not the program for you because it likely IS too good to be true. If it doesn’t sound too good to be true, it’s time to dive deeper.
This leads to my second filter question.
Does it sound realistic for you? Will it impact your life in a negative way?
While the last question was a big one, this might be one of the most important question you can ask yourself before starting something new. Because if something isn’t realistic for you, if it doesn’t fit your life as it exists right now, you’re not going to be successful doing it.
Done. That’s it. It cannot be simpler.
You can have the most perfect program on paper. Seriously, it can abide by all of the scientific principles, utilize the most current research, and all the bells and whistles. But if you cannot execute it with similar perfection, then it’s not a perfect program. On the other hand, you can have a great program, perhaps not perfect, but great. This program fits with your schedule, accounts for your activities outside the gym, and is flexible enough to allow time for recovery between workouts. You can execute it nearly perfectly.
THAT is the perfect program FOR YOU.
With so many programs out there, there’s bound to be ones that don’t fit your lifestyle, goals, preferences, etc. It’s going to happen. You don’t have to fit into the mold that many of these programs what to put you into. You want to find one that works WITH you, not against you.
But it’s not only exercise. This happens in nutrition as well. If you know you want to enjoy craft beer regularly, following a diet that cuts out alcohol and carbohydrates likely isn’t the best option for you. If you know you LOVE avocados and mixed nuts or nut butter, following a lower fat diet is going to be challenging.
Because we don’t want to find a workout program or nutrition plan for only 2-4-6-8 weeks. It’s not about that. It’s about a life change and lifestyle design that you want to maintain and sustain for a long time.
If the program as realistic for you, we move onto the next question.
Will the program, product, or service meet you where you are at right now?
Can I say that this is equally important to the first two, if I said those are the most important? We’re going with it because this is similar to the second question. By now, we know that we want a program that will fit into our life. But we also need a program that will meet us where we are RIGHT NOW.
We likely all have a fitness goal. Regardless of what that is, we want change in some regard – changing our body composition, adding weight to a lift, running a further distance, etc. But we want change and we want to improve. Let’s do it. But first, we have to acknowledge where we are in this current moment.
Have you ever heard the quote or idea that you should “act as the person you want to become”? This may be true, to an extent. But at the same time, if the person you want to become is too far from the person you are, we have to start smaller.
If we try for the overnight overhaul, it’s bound to fail. On the other hand, when we can drip in new habits and small changes over time, we meet ourselves where we are and are better able to maintain those new behaviors for a long period of time.
When you’re choosing a workout program or diet, will it meet you where you’re at currently? It might have promises of places you want to go or be in the future, but what about right now? Can you integrate it into your life in small pieces and make sustainable change? If you can answer yes, it’s time to move onto the fourth and final question.
Do you want to work with the people who are promoting it? Do they seem like people you would connect with and do you trust them to guide you on your journey?
I feel like I could just keep saying that all of these questions are the most important, but that’s because they seriously are!
When we work with people at Unity, every single person hops on a call or meets with us in person. This all allows the potential member to learn more about Unity, the team, and what we offer. But, at the same time, it allows us to learn about them.
Joining a gym, investing in a coaching program, or buying a product from someone, creates a relationship with that person. Beyond the fitness side of things, you want to make sure that the person you are entering that relationship with is someone you WANT to spend time with and who will guide you along your journey. While trust may take time, that initial gut instinct is typically pretty great for most people.
Behind the products and services, you want to connect with the person running the program. Because, at the end of the day, fitness is about so much more than fitness. Lifting weights is about so much more than lifting weights. Those things are just trivial. It’s about what the workouts and lifestyle changes can bring to your life outside the four walls of the gym.
If you answered yes, the people are ones you want to spend time with and work with, then it’s time to potentially invest. Of course, make sure that it fits your goals and that you want to do it – like I said at the beginning, this isn’t all-inclusive questioning. But it does provide a framework to filter through the THOUSANDS of programs, products, and services offered daily in the health and fitness space.
Obviously, these are extremely niche questions. If you’re not in the market for a health and fitness change, you may not need them right now. So, if that’s you, bookmark this article or podcast episode. Perhaps write these questions down so you can reference them later. Maybe you have a friend or family member that is looking for something different, share these questions with them. If you’re the one looking, filter your options through these questions first. Then, dive deeper to confirm that it’s something you want to do prior to investing in the program, product, or service.