I will take this second to apologize for the length, as we go into detail in this blog!
Stick around and I promise I will make it worth your while!
Now........onto the topic at hand
As of now, as the personal training profession grows and we start to see more and more people ”become trainers” and offer advice to people, it is hard to distinguish who the real personal trainers are when it comes to degrees and certifications and who the ones are that may not have as much education as someone else in the industry.
Personal training is a combination of exercise and basic nutritional knowledge along with sheer personality and communication skills. Both of these qualities are ones that we would like to have when we have questions related to fitness, so why even talk about this and why is this important. As personal trainers, it is our mission to stay up to date on all the new fitness trends and ideas floating around and do our research so that we continue to learn and help better our clients. As I was doing some research over the weekend, I came across an individual who had no prior knowledge or education in the fitness realm promoting a full liquid diet, which is essentially drinking your calories and promoting extreme weight loss within a week along with about 700 calories a day. While yes, to any personal trainer this is very concerning that he is doing something like this to himself, it is also concerning for all of the people who watched the video and were enticed by the fast weight loss and the methods that he took that they were asking for the plan he was doing.
To make things a little more clear, this individual never disclosed their weight so I will not give exact numbers, but it is assumed to be above 200 lbs. The lifestyle and results that he promoted are as follows; he received surgery for a gastric sleeve which restricts your stomach and your ability to eat large portions in an attempt to lose weight. From there, he lost over 160 lbs, but with COVID gained back about 80 lbs and then has now worked on a full liquid diet, as mentioned above, to get back to a lower weight averaging about 700 calories a day. Through the initial weight loss, he was given a plan to follow for a period of time that restricts calories and provides a diet plan to follow until they get to a relatively manageable weight. The goals with this surgery, for the majority of the cases, is to take severely overweight people who may not be able to exercise or move and allow for them to shed off some of their weight so that they are able to reduce the risk of any serious medical conditions and reduce the risk of death to obesity and allow for a diet and exercise change afterwards.
The reasoning that this story is so concerning is that basic food biology and nutritional facts state that a liquid form of a food is nowhere close to as bioavailable as a solid form, meaning that your body absorbs the nutrients of solid foods better and moreso than liquid foods. Along with that, weight loss works in adjustment of calories based off of what you exert each day, calories in versus calories out in exercise. As you start to burn more or lose more weight, those numbers always change and you may start to stall, so you will have to lower your calorie intake to start to lose more weight. Well, what happens when 700 calories starts to slow the progress that you make, you will have to go lower to continue to lose. Many other experts will say well, you will need to increase to build muscle to allow for some constant fat burn and then decrease from there, but for this case we are talking just sheer weight loss with no muscle gain. Eventually, we will start to see calories in the low hundreds and our bodies are not able to function on that low of calories, at least to the dynamic and capacity that they need to work.
Taking these ideas of “fast weight loss” and small calories puts the idea in the heads of the general population that fitness and health can be changed overnight, when this is not the case at all. Health and Fitness is a lifestyle change, it is a change that takes months and years to be able to adjust and maintain, and allowing for this information to be spread to people gives that false hope for one, but also runs the risk of having those individuals start to have health complications and/or end up hurting them more so. The promotion was that this man lost 15 lbs in one week, saying that this was a healthy amount of weight lost in a week, the majority of it was water, and that most weight loss is water since 70% of our bodies are water, completely disregarding that we do have adipose tissue, fat, on our bodies as well that we burn. While the fact that a lot of the weight lost in one week was most likely water, this will not always be the case and 700 calories will not help you get there. Depending on your size and your activity level, that number will change drastically.
So, who do you listen to? What personal trainers know what they are doing and which ones are out there to either sell you cookie cutter programming or just passing out bad information? This is where research comes into play. When looking for personal training, whether it is online or in person, you want to go and learn more about them. See where they have their degrees from, what certifications do they have, do they have testimonials, how long have they been training, what results have their clients gotten, how are they with people, and other things related to that. You want someone who is going to invest a lot of time into their education because that shows that they are invested in you. They are invested in learning more about the human body and being able to help more people. You want the trainer with reputable credentials just like you want the employee with the best resume. Our websites are our resumes, we put what we do, why we do it, and how it has helped others here so that you know where to look. Let me ask you this, if you were to hire someone what would you want from them? Would you want them to have maybe one year of experience with a history of giving false information but they are great with people or would you want someone with 5 years experience that always goes above and beyond, is well educated with a bachelors and maybe more and is also great with people? Both sound promising, but one offers a little more education to back up either what they are promoting, trying to sell, or just how they are interacting with the clients that they may be working with.
This is the same in the personal training profession as well, granted degrees do not always dictate how smart an individual is, but majority of the time it gives a very good indication on their intelligence along with having information on how they interact with their clients. You can always teach material, but if they also are great with you and meet all of your goals and expectations, then you can see how beneficial they are.
I do not mean for this blog post to inspire hate toward a portion of the fitness and personal training community, I am simply giving a scenario that I came across and providing a little context and education along with it. I am sure that everything has worked for the individual, but because someone got on a diet and exercise plan and lost a bunch of weight, this does not mean that they are qualified or knowledgeable when it comes to personal training and caring for other body types, goals, aspirations, nutritional habits, and so on. As stated before, anyone can write a plan up for you and send it over for you to follow, but does that mean that it is a quality program, it fits your goals and what you want, and that it will fit your specific body. Personal trainers have the luxury of being one of the more important professions out there, but also one of the easiest to get into. Anyone can offer workout advice and get a certification, but does this mean that the knowledge they are giving is good and does it mean that they are good with people. This is why it is important to do your research on the personal training profession before making a decision on which one is the best for you. There are many great trainers out there, it is just up to you to find which ones are the right fit for you and your goals, as this is an investment into you and your health. You do not want to put your life in the hands of someone who does not know what to do with it, just like you do not want to put your future and current health in the hands of someone with basic or very little knowledge of how your specific body works.