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Online fitness and fitness apps

The fitness industry is flooded with workout blogs, fitness apps, personal training programs, and online fitness businesses; to be frank, most of them suck. They simply are not effective nor good. Fitness “influencers” are touting nonsensical ideas to the uninformed masses while they peddle their discount codes for BS supplements inc. Why do they continue to run rampant you ask? Because unfortunately people still listen to them. As long as we still click the links in their bios to buy ineffective products, pay bottom dollar for cookie-cutter programming that was likely copy and pasted from a muscle magazine, and give out likes to “*insert name* fitness” account, it will not stop. So what can we do to combat this invasion of mediocre information? A system to evaluate information is critical in this day and age. Anybody can create a fitness account on Instagram and put “expert” in their bio. How do we know if they are legit and if that link in their bio is worth clicking? Coach Jon is here to give you the tools to take down these charlatans.

Dr. Who Said What?

Something that is crucial when evaluating an individual’s credibility in the realm of fitness, is their level of education. 

  1. Did this person receive a degree from a reputable institution? 
  2. Do they have any certifications, and if so are they from accredited and nationally recognized institutions? Furthermore, what do these certifications qualify a person to speak about? 

These are just some of the questions that you should be asking yourself when evaluating a persons’ level of education. If nothing else, a high level of education indicates a persons’ willingness to invest in their knowledge and craft. Whether it’s time, money, or some other resource, it demonstrates a passion for learning which is a very good sign. This education can also be informal. Maybe this person doesn’t have a formal degree from a university, but are they continually growing through reading or learning from other individuals?

 Now, before the angry mob with pitchforks and torches sets my home ablaze, let me explain. Yes, somebody can have a degree in exercise science /kinesiology/ exercise physiology/ etc. and still not know anything about training, health, or wellness. I had peers in school who were on paper, brilliant. But, I wouldn’t trust them to watch my cat much less take nutritional or fitness advice from them. We can’t simply look at some letters on a paper and evaluate an individual’s mastery of a skill because it takes much more than information to master a skill.

The Roadmap of Success:

Have they done it themselves? 

How likely are you to trust a sherpa to guide you to the top of Mount Everest who has never gone to the top themselves, nor ever successfully guided somebody to the top? Would you buy a book from somebody outlining how to build a business empire, who has never successfully built a business? It is no different in fitness. A lack of experience will create a dissonance between how things should be, and how things actually are. This is because training practices rarely ever stay the same from novice to advanced. For example, let’s consider a simple statement:

A barbell back squat at 75% is not the same for all individuals. 

Somebody who has never transitioned from a novice to an advanced trainee might think 75% is 75%. That 75% of the 1 rep max of an athlete who started lifting weights 6 months ago equates to the 75% of an elite powerlifter, ignorant to the nuances that accompany the latter. But alas, an individual who has been to the mountaintop is still not without folly. Somebody with a keen understanding of mathematics will be a terrible tutor if unable to explain their process. Often, exceptional athletes are subpar coaches simply because they didn’t have to think, they just did. They performed at a high level instinctually, making it difficult to convey their process. Nonetheless, somebody who has surmounted Everest likely left a trail. They may not be able to tell you how to get there, but you still have the ability to trace their footsteps.

Proof Is In The Pudding

Let’s consider for a moment that we have the smartest most accomplished individual in the history of humanity. They have 3 degrees, 2 Ph.D’s, and every certification under the sun. They also have an amazing physique, and they hold every powerlifting, weightlifting, and any other barbell record there is. This person has only one flaw, they haven’t ever coached anybody to success. No client that has been under their tutelage has attained even remote success. At the end of the day, results must speak for themselves and a proven history of guiding others to the proverbial, well, is a necessity. Conversely, lack of success does not immediately mean they are not talented. Take for example high school athletics; all high schools are by no means created equal. A small school in Wisconsin may have different resources and student population than a private school in Southern California. The exact same coach might have varying levels of success when placed in these two environments. Regardless, if an individual claims to be an expert in any given field they must be able to back it up with results.

Be Critical

These three categories should act as the framework in which you evaluate a persons’ credibility. Because there are varying levels of education, experiences, and success that require context, these are not boxes you check off but rather areas that have or lack strength. At the end of the day, you can learn something from everybody. Whether it is what to do, or what not to do, is up to you to decide.

Coach Jon

Sports Performance Coach

B.S. NSCA-CSCS

“Coach Jon, Irvine Strength and Conditioning Coach who is an athlete himself and someone I recommend to my patients. He knows what he is doing and his attention is on the proper form and injury prevention is what I love about him.”- Dr. Shakib