Thanks to the good ol’ World Wide Web, we as a society have officially launched into a PermaCyberWar, or PCW if you will. Apparently these days you can get rich and famous doing just about anything whether it’s educational based or entertainment based (insert latest YouTube star). I’m sure it’s probably similar in other industries, but at least in the health and fitness industry it is all about “I’m right and you’re dumb unless you agree…..obvy”. You can’t particularly blame us of course. I mean our careers and financial stability depend on our abilities to be right(er) than the next person.
When it comes to feeling better or getting those wash board abs, you obviously only want to listen to the experts. Problem is……how do you know who the experts are? Are they the pencil necks with those three magical letters behind their name (Probably Heavy Drinker)? Are they the jacked dude with the abs? Are they the fit(ish) chick with just enough love handle action to inspire you because it seems realistically attainable? Some combination of all the above? That’d be interesting to see.
I can only speak for myself, but I know throughout my own health and fitness journey I would cling to whatever bits of info I could get from sources that I deemed to be credible. At some points that was older friends. Other point’s co-workers and fitness magazines. Eventually dabbling with research studies and different well respected professionals. Today I am much choosier about what information I pay attention to, and even then I still take everything I read, hear, and learn with a healthy dose of pink sea salt (1/4 tsp typically with lime water). Why?! You’ve got to unless you want to be so overwhelmed in information that you don’t know which way is up! This is of course why we look to our neighborhood friendly health and fitness “gurus” for help.
You want to know a little inside secret though? NO ONE REALLY KNOWS!
Now I certainly like to think I know a thing or two about a thing or two. Which I do. However, more importantly I know what I don’t know just as well and admit it openly. I think it takes a certain amount of confidence to be able to admit what you don’t know. In fact I would say you should be pretty worried if your trusted professional doesn’t ever act like they don’t have all the answers. Whether that’s your fitness trainer, medical doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, counselor etc.
The truth is that the human body is just too dang complex to know everything about everything. Yet somehow that doesn’t dissuade some professionals from trying to act like it. Hopefully you can develop a keen “BS detector” to aid you in your search, otherwise you might find yourself buying a $700 fitness watch from a professional who doesn’t know how to operate it……… Not kidding. I’ve seen that happen a time or two back in my corporate days.
So without further ado, here is my list of tips when it comes to finding credible sources of information for your health and fitness goals:
· They do not speak in absolutes. No black or white strategies or statements. If anything they should be too vague.
· They should be able and, perhaps more importantly, willing to provide you with an explanation for their recommendations that make sense to you. Even if it takes all day.
· They should be willing to provide you with resources for more information from which they most likely got the information in the first place. No one is really original unless they are a researcher with valid published studies….which is unlikely if they are meeting with you.
· Their recommendations should be tailored towards your unique needs and it is your responsibility to ensure that by asking questions instead of nodding your head with a blank stare.
· They should encourage you to learn more on your own with the aforementioned resources.
· They should not be creating perpetual reliance on themselves. I love my clients, but I don’t want them relying on me for every move they make. No respectable professional should, or should really even have the time for.
· They encourage you to think and “find what works for you”. Within safe parameters obviously. If you are not well and receiving medical treatment DO NOT “find what works for you”. Do what they say. You’re ill. They’re licensed to treat illness. Period.
· They don’t bicker with other professionals. Especially online. If they really have to argue with another pro within their industry to try to “prove” something…..what does that tell you?
· They should be open to learning more and show interest in resources you provide that might have conflicting or accompanying information.
· They value your preferences and want your input in shaping your program.
· They ask for feedback on a periodic basis to ensure you are getting what you need and/or want from their services.
That’s my opinion and what I personally believe when I’m searching for a professional service for myself. The reality is that when it comes to health and fitness services, there are an overwhelming amount of options and methods that could help you. To avoid wasting your time or money you need to evaluate for yourself if the service is actually helping you in a way that makes it worth it. Stay mindful and aware to make sure you’re not getting pushed towards something you’re unsure of, don’t believe, or understand. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up and ASK QUESTIONS! It’s your life, your body, your mind, your health and well-being! Own it and do right by yourself because you do deserve it!