Every time you turn on the television, or read news online, it seems like there's another new best-yet fitness routine, hard-to-pronounce nutrition supplement, or great-tasting miracle food. These products often have marketing budgets that allow for flashy graphics or attractive videos-they are simultaneously hard for consumers to avoid, and harder to stop watching.
As a nation, we spend billions each year on ways to improve our overall health and fitness. However, it pays to keep a discerning eye on product promises. After all, the FTC has filed over 120 cases against fraudulent claims in the past ten years, from weight-loss products to children's vitamins, and even athletic shoes and fitness equipment like the Ab Circle Pro seen below. As ACSM professionals, it is important to focus on reality, and stay off the hype train.
Set Reasonable Goals
One troublesome aspect about hyped-products (and, part of the reason they acquire hype) is the promise of quick, serious results. Unfortunately, health and fitness don't usually fit into that box. Setting reasonable goals based on a client's history and current involvement, and advising towards an end goal that is both beneficial and reachable-such a model is a sustainable form of success for all involved. Many professionals recommend getting your goals down in writing as a point of emphasis; seeing is believing! You can also create a chart, checklist, or calendar to be written on and visibly represent progress towards goals.
Create a Plan
Establishing reasonable goals includes creating a plan that will lead a client to a successful end result. Most things in life worth doing can't be achieved in three minutes, ten days, or another random period of time; a concept that applies to health and fitness. Working with a client to produce an individual plan is more work on the front-end, but lays the groundwork for achievement. For example, the Mayo Clinic advises 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per adult per week-tailoring such specifics to a client means they'll know what needs to be done.
Because real results require real work, rewards can add to the personal initiative needed to follow-through with a plan. Whether it's a funny certificate, small gift, day off, or other surprise, it is important to recognize achievement to continue to encourage forward progress. Best of all, you'll engage your client in a meaningful way-which can be a reward in itself. Some rewards we've heard of include a massage (perfect the day after a work-out!), mp3 or music gift card, or signing up for something fun (from dance lessons to skydiving).
Setting goals, creating a plan to reach those goals, and recognizing and rewarding when they've been reached-all are strategies to stay focused on reality, and not be swayed by modern snake-oil salespeople that we're constantly confronted with. Cut through the hype with focused success-it's contagious.