“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”Colin Powell
You’ve finally decided. You’re going to take your health and fitness seriously, or maybe you’re already on that road. Good for you. Except along the way you’ll see that there are money pits and cleverly disguised scams to take you for every cent you have with nicely packaged slogans. After years of experience, I’m here to steer you right and help you avoid sinking your hard-earned dollars in unnecessary ways and who they are really right for. Let’s jump right in.
1) Protein Powders. Let’s start with the obvious. Everyone sells them and the prices range from 5lb (2.27 kg)’s for $10 all the way up to $85 for 22lb (9.98 kg)’s. Is it worth it? The short of it is, absolutely not. Just from a useful aspect, there are several reasons why you don’t and one superb reason why you do. The first reason you don’t, there is no need for an overly elevated amount of protein to build muscle. Even a slightly increased amount over the norm will do. Secondly, they market the “window of opportunity” for maximum muscle synthesis. That’s all wrong as well. The muscle-building signal lasts for up to 24 hours after a workout and to that point, studies show that fasting after a heavy workout does not cost you gains.
Who’s it for? If you tragically under eat protein and try as you might you just can’t seem to fix it; if you are vegan and your diet plan is not dialed in like crazy or you find yourself in a situation where you can’t hit your numbers then that is where this supplement comes in real handy. It’s not the devil, just not the be all end all the hype makes it out to be.
2) BCAA’s. Not to keep harping on supplements but since we’re here. Branch chain amino acids are found naturally in many foods. Why not just take the supplements though for ease and convenience? Looking at the natural source for BCAA’s:
— Almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts.
So when you eat these natural BCAA rich sources, you also get healthy fats, proteins, Macro, and micronutrients. Instead of isolating one thing, you get so much more.
3) Gym membership. You are either in or you are out. Every year thousands of people buy a gym membership and never use it enough to validate its cost or use it at all. It might not seem like a lot but that extra money could be put to better use. On the upside, you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape at all. Doing home workouts is on the rise and just as effective. Your only real need for a gym is the personal training if you are a greenhorn. Then the money is well worth it, but only if you use it.
4) Bad or Wrong programs. Worse than a wasted gym membership is buying into an overhyped, overpriced program. If you’re new, regardless of your goals, keep it simple. Tabata, HIIT, “infernos” and other such programs have their place, but it’s best to start with strength training. Calisthenics costs zero. Do your body weight and work up to weights. Cardio is great too, but start with longer walks then work into a higher intensity. Without the right base, you’ll set yourself up for injury and a non-sustainable program.
5) “Diet Foods.” A big money maker and also a total waste is over-processed “diet foods.” I don’t want to dump on the whole industry, but the so-called “healthy” and “low calorie” is a sham. In my article “Why Health Is Killing America” I get further into this. While there are a few clean prepared foods, if you can just eat whole foods (which you should) then stick to that. Convenience is a real issue for some. Sacrifices must be made.
6) Pills, elixirs, and other Get-thin-quick schemes. Hard work and time is what’s going to get things done, not fat burners, carb absorbers (yes, that’s a real thing) or “natural testosterone boosters.” Most of these come manufactured with synthetic ingredients and those that don’t show promise of working. Want to boost testosterone, balance hormones? Reduce stress.
7) Your Time. I know this isn’t a product but time is money. Every minute you spend unnecessarily following an arbitrary trend or program you can’t get back. For example, studies have shown that anything over roughly an hour in the gym doesn’t generate any more benefits than 45 minutes to an hour. So situate your programs to equal an hour per workout and you won’t burn time. You have a life after all and a life spent just working out is contradictory to what you should be doing. Your workouts should be complementary to your life, not the other way around.
No matter what methods you use, nothing short of hard work, dedication and a healthy relationship with your body will get the job done. Everything else is just a tool.