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Exercise + Nutrition Vs Advertising

I am going to go a bit off topic today, but my goal here is to talk about the advertising industry and its place when it comes to both the exercise industry and the food industry. Time for some myth busting!

SAY CHEESE

You would think, judging by TV commercials for cheese that cheese is inherently good for you because it contains lots of calcium. This is only partially true.

It only takes a Google search to find hundreds of articles about the Cheese Lobby in both the USA and Canada, and how it is being used to sell everything from fattening cheese pizza to cheesy Taco Bell to cheeseburgers and more...

eg. Read the NY Times article: While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

Fun Fact: "Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate."

The Cheese Lobby in the USA is HUGE. They represent every fast food chain that has cheese on the menu, whether it be cheese pizza or cheeseburgers. Their goal? To fool North Americans into thinking cheese is healthy for you because it contains calcium.

Truth be told when you actually check milk and cheese isn't actually a good source of calcium. Milk is actually a good source of protein, and cheese is a good source of fat. Cheese is something you should be asking for less of, not more of.

Want a good source for calcium? Check out the vegetables below.


FIVE RED FLAGS

To demonstrate how bad the food industry is sometimes I am going to show 5 Red Flags to look for when you are watching advertising:

#1. Exotic Ingredients from Asia, Brazil, Africa, Etc.

The idea here is simply: To fool people into thinking that you can lose weight by eating some kind of exotic berry (acai berries for example) or fruit from a place you've never been to (South African Hoodia Extract). If they're pushing something exotic for a hefty price, they're basically just selling you juice or extract for something you don't actually need.

#2. Fake Studies with Fake Doctors

If they have to back up their product with a study from a doctor, most likely the doctor in question is either not a real doctor or he/she is being paid oodles of money to push a bogus study that says their product works. Often there will be a photo of a doctor dressed in white holding a supplement.

#3. Free Trial

Free Trials are a great way to get gullible people hooked on a product that doesn't really work any better than a placebo. Plus when you try to cancel they make it very difficult to do so - you basically have to cancel your credit card to get rid of them. Note - Many companies stick an addictive agent (caffeine usually) in the product so you become addicted to the product.

#4. Celebrity Testimonials

It doesn't matter whether the celebrity is a bodybuilder or Oprah, if they are pushing the product using a celebrity then then company's primary goal is to make money off gullible people.

#5.  Too Good to be True

If it contains the words "Lose Weight Fast and Easy" or some similar slogan, you know they're lying to you.

THE FITNESS LOBBY

If you Google the words fitness lobby you will get a bunch of gym websites and photos of lobbies of gyms. The reason why, apparently, is because there is no "Fitness Lobby" in the USA or Canada (or in any other country for that matter).

I did manage to find one article about fitness groups lobbying for a tax break, but it wasn't an actual lobby group being paid to lobby the government, it was simply a selection of fitness groups trying to get a tax break. They only had one cause and they weren't being paid to do it, whereas lobby groups are basically hired thugs being paid to fight on behalf of the tobacco industry, the cheese industry, the oil industry, and basically any industry which everyone knows is doing something bad.

How many decades did the tobacco industry use lobbying to keep cigarettes being sold and how many more decades will they continue to do so before smoking cigarettes gets banned in North America for causing ridiculous amounts of cancer and killing two thirds of smokers? An industry that kills 66% of its customers is doomed to eventually get banned.

In contrast the fitness industry doesn't kill people when they are selling new fitness gadgets.

But it does use false advertising, like the Fake Doctors, Free Trials, Celebrity Endorsements, and Too Good To Be True slogans mentioned above.

But here are additional tricks used in advertisements:

#1. The fitness industry often uses people who were already thin and attractive (or already lost weight) before they started using whatever new fitness gadget is being pushed at the consumer. So regardless of whether they are trying to sell a Thigh Master or a Bowflex, their goal is to show you people who are already fit using the product. They don't show you people who overweight and not fit using it and then the slow progression of them losing weight - that would be too time consuming, and also impossible because people would realize that the people using the product are also using other kinds of exercises.

#2. They don't mention that people using the product should also be using a wide variety of other exercises - such as jogging, swimming or cycling - in their goal to lose weight.

#3. They ignore the fact that a home gym composed of weight machines really only builds muscle and is useless to someone who wants to lose weight by shedding fat. To shed fat they need to be doing cardio exercises.

#4. Fitness gyms sign people up for 1 year contracts and then make it difficult to cancel the contract by charging the membership fee every month even after the contract has been finished or cancelled. Fitness gyms claim it is due to clerical errors that people are routinely charged again and again even after their contract has expired or been cancelled.

#5. Fitness gyms routinely overcharge members for their membership fee, for an inflated amount with hidden fees - or sometimes charge the membership fee twice in the same month. Or both.

#6. Fitness gyms offer personal training services, but often charge ridiculous rates for those services while paying their staff peanuts. eg. Extreme Fitness charges $80 to $90 per hour for the services of a personal trainer, but only pays the trainer $17 to $20 per hour.

So the fitness industry doesn't really need a fitness lobby because they're already making lots of money off gullible people signing up for fitness gadgets they don't need and gym memberships they likewise don't need.

Want to get some exercise? Start by going outside more often and doing fun activities that require exercise.

Want to lose weight through dieting? Start by learning how to cook healthier food.

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