So I've been in this industry for along time and it never ceases to amaze me at how many people view themselves or others, as fitness experts. There are times when I question even the most qualified people on their motives and whether or not they really are a guru of fitness. Heck, I don’t even consider myself a guru (although I don’t market myself that way either), even though I have the experience and education to validate the statement.
Which leads me to the question, do fitness guru’s really exist or are they really just self proclaimed experts of the field? Or maybe they are experts in their respective niche in the fitness realm. But, by default wouldn’t that make them an expert in fitness generally speaking?
My first encounter with a fitness “guru” was at a gym that I use to frequent when I was younger. It was quite the show when he would arrive at the gym because he was very much liked by those that also frequented the facility. The guy was a behemoth and had a very magnetic personality and seemed really nice. He wore tattered clothing with spandex shorts (akin to the 80’s and 90’s bodybuilding apparel), a hat that he wore backwards, and black combat boots.
Normally before I begin my workouts, I try to warm-up on a treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 15-20 minutes which gives a perfect view of the weight area. So here I am warming up on the treadmill and I see this guy huffing and puffing around the gym. Apparently he was getting ready to dead lift. I get a little chuckle thinking to myself, ‘Hey if that’s what it takes to stay focused, more power to him’. I go on with the rest of my workout watching him in the mirror the whole time.
Now I would like to say that the over exaggeration before his dead lifts were it, but I’m afraid I can’t. His whole workout was like that. And let me tell you, that was distracting as hell. It was crazy, never had I been so distracted watching something like this, I’ve seen strongman competitions quieter than this. But hey whatever, at least he’s in the gym instead of out on the street being a menace and using all that energy in a negative way.
I begin to wrap up my workout and he’s been finished for quite some time. I see him sitting at a table near the weight area talking to some guys. I can see that this guy was seen as the “go to guy” at the gym because of his size. I have always been an advocate for sharing useable knowledge to others, but as I walked past the group, my heart sank. The conversation went something like this:
Meathead: To increase your bench, you have to bench more often!
Noob: Really? I’ve always heard that does more harm than good.
Meathead: Of course you have, people that say that aren’t lifting weights. Think about it, the more you bench the more your body gets use to it and is able to adapt. Hence you will have a bigger bench.
Noob: I guess that kind of makes sense. It sounds like you went to school for this or something.
Meathead: Of course it makes sense. No, I didn’t go to school for this. I don’t need school to tell me what I have already figured out.
And that’s when I stopped listening.
Here is one thing I can say for certain, when you say something as a matter of fact and sound confident saying it. Most people are going to believe you with little hesitation, especially when you have the demeanor (or size in this case) to back it up. As a side note, there is a little truth to what "Meathead" is saying, but there's a bit more to the conversation than just "bench more".
Now on the flip side of that, I have met people with a degree and a wad of certifications. The whole ball of wax, but still come up with the most off the wall statements about numerous aspects of health and fitness. I think, to date, the worst statement I have heard come out of an educated fitness professionals mouth is:
Fitness Professional: And remember, if you eat late at night, everything you eat will turn into fat. That would just defeat our workout here today.
Client: What time should be my last meal?
Fitness Professional: I would say about 6 or 7pm.
I shit you not that’s what was said. I was standing about three feet away when this “professional” told her client that.
And you know what; I bet huge sums of money that client continues to believe that statement to be true. I have a ton of examples that will more than likely come out in later blogs, but in the meantime I want to hear what you have to say about this.
So I pose this question one more time.
Do fitness guru’s really exist? As an adjunct to that, who would you name as a guru in this industry and why?