I completely understand why people go for fad diets, gimmicky products and quick fixes. I have been there and done it. I have followed and believed every bro science trick in the book. The more effort I have taken to educate myself about fitness, the more embarrassed I am about the fads I have taken part in.
People think they can beat the system and believe they are an exception to the rule. They are optimistic about change and over estimate results. Being overweight is frustrating, and making an attempt to fix that feels like they are attempting to find a solution. Whether the solution you have gone for has any credibility or is even going to work is irrelevant. It just feels like a small step in the right direction.
Before becoming a personal trainer, I have followed some ridiculous training programs, diets and taken some supplements that I now know are pointless. At the time I was trying to improve my physique and if someone in good shape told me it was correct, then I would take that for gospel. I want to share my stories of the ridiculous fads I have followed, in an attempt to let you know you that it happens to everyone (and also gives you a chance to have a good laugh at my expense).
Steak, rice and baked beans – When I first started training in the gym, knowledge online was limited. So the people to take advice from were the biggest and strongest guys. I was suggested to ‘bulk’ up on nothing but steak, beans and rice. I remember eating it for about 3-4 weeks, every meal exactly the same…..even breakfast. Now I look back on that and realise how ridiculous that was. I was probably lacking vital vitamins and minerals from lack of vegetables. I was also lacking variety and was unstainable. I can laugh about it all now, but at the time I was convinced I would be stacking on the muscle in no time.
Supplements – I wanted to try every supplement in every different combination. I was lured in by the glossy packaging and false promises. I believed everything on the advert and completely overlooked the basics. If I compare that to now, I only have one supplement in the cupboard and that is whey protein. Even then I only take it when I am short on time and need to increase my protein intake. I have understood that supplements are the last thing you should be looking at. Until you have the basics nailed down consistently, I wouldn’t even bother. Most of the supplement claims are overinflated or have no scientific backing.
Clean eating – I was a sucker for ‘eating clean’. I’m not talking about washing my hands before eating, I’m talking about only eating foods that were considered ‘healthy’. I would be obsessed about eating broccoli and brown rice, with plain chicken. My diet was so boring, plain and lacked any variety or excitement. I have since understood that I need to be more relaxed with my eating habits and enjoy food more. I have taken on a more varied approach to my diet. I eat a mix of what you would class as ‘healthy’ foods and ‘unhealthy’ treats. As long as my calories are balanced with my exercise I will sustain a healthy weight. I couldn’t imagine eating a meal with just broccoli and chicken in now.
Coconut oil – When coconut oil first became popular, I did some very brief reading and was suckered into believing it was basically magic (FYI, it’s not!) I used to believe that by eating fat, you would burn fat (FYI, also not true!). I was having on top of my meals and even in my coffee. I know this sounds ridiculous, and that’s because it is. Now I have seen the light from my foolish ways, I now understand that it is total calories that are the most important. There are no magical powers in coconut oil and by eating fat, it has no ability to burn more of your body fat.
That’s enough of my embarrassing stories for a little while, maybe I will share a few more in the future. The moral of the story is that you should be very cautious about where you get your information. Question everything, including what I write. Follow scientifically backed individuals with real qualifications and ensue their content can be backed up by real studies. If someone sounds good to be true, it usually is. Just because someone is in good shape, it doesn’t mean they have a clue what they are talking about.
If you want to get results without the fads, then fill in the form below and we can have a chat about your results (and have a laugh about my previous fads).
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The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.