Let’s dive right into the answer.
If you want to be misled with fitness fallacies and useless fluff, the fitness celebrity is for you. Or maybe you want to gawk at half nude pictures. Then, yeah, the fitness celebrity is also for you.
Beware: don’t confuse eye candy with credibility. Fitness industry charlatans will lie, mislead, and rip people off with false information and claims. To name a few: Jillian Michaels, Tracy Anderson, The ToneItUp Girls, Kaylyn Kyle, Paige Hathaway, and Lauren Sesselmann.
First Things First: Stop With the Fucking Selfies
Selfie taking is a fitness celebrity’s wheelhouse. And truthfully, I commend them for having the balls to show off their vanity to the world, as if it’s motivational.
What’s worse is they build brands by showing their eyelash extensions, ripped abs, and duck faces.
Expounding further, fitness celebrities have minimal, if any, real life training experience, yet they sell fitness programs to the masses, and label themselves as “experts.”
Surely enough, some things have raised my eyebrows:
I have yet to see Jillian Michaels perform a kettlebell swing correctly in her DVDs.
I have yet to see the ToneItup Girls incorporate progressive overload into their program.
I have yet to see Tracy Anderson work with a demotivated, obese client and put her through petty 3 pound dumbbell exercises. My bets are they won’t transform this client’s life, let alone body.
And I have yet to see Lauren Sesselmann use one of her towel workouts on a college-bound soccer player. Apparently towels are the new tool to train like a professional athlete. Yeah. And I’m a fucking unicorn.
I can’t make this shit up. And being an elite soccer player myself, I’m embarrassed her fitness program is called “Fit As a Pro.” It’s disconcerting to say the least. Mind you, soccer players don’t train like this, let alone professional soccer players. End of story.
Last I looked, they’re strength/power/endurance athletes, so where the hell are the olympic lifts, medicine ball slams, multi planar plyometrics, agility drills, strength movements, and conditioning circuits in her program?
Furthermore, I’m sure if she were asked about muscular rate coding and rate of force development…silence. Cracks under pressure.
So yeah. I’m calling bullshit.
Who Are the Real Experts?
Let me be clear that my ammunition against fitness celebrities doesn’t stem from jealousy. LOLOLOL.
I have enough followers, clients, and security in my own niche in the soccer/strength and conditioning world. Lori Lindsey, who has a similar niche, as well as a professional playing background AND experience to back her content up, is someone I’ll support. Because unlike her soccer peer frauds, she knows her shit. And is a beast.
What I want to do is open up a conversation about who’s right and who’s downright wrong. Who to follow and who to unfollow.
For a while, I’ve bit my tongue and avoided pointing fingers. My colleagues, however, have had their fun hating on fitness celebrities. Rightly so, Tony Gentilcore and Dean Somerset have called out Tracy Anderson on numerous occasions, and Meghan Callaway and Molly Galbraith from Girls Gone Strong have also chimed in on these filthy impostors.
Fitness Professionals > Fitness Celebrities
There. I said it.
And that segues me to my next point: fitness celebrities build up their own brand, while fitness professionals build up other people.
Check any fitness celebrity’s Instagram account and it’s flooded with videos of them working out, selfies, and recycled photos.
In the other corner, the fitness professional will also post pictures and videos, but in a way that is informative and useful.
Strength coach Meghan Callaway is an excellent example:
And strength coach Michael Boyle:
I, for one, like to be educational as well.
Rarely do I post a selfie or a picture of my protein shake on social media. No one gives a shit if I’m drinking chocolate or vanilla chai protein powder post workout.
Also, as far as being a role model to young girls, I would be out of my damn mind if I posted pictures of myself in a thong bikini.
Hundreds of my soccer players follow me. And for all I know, they could be showing my account to their parents, or friends at the school lunch table.
Sure, I’ll post the occasional personal “going out” picture, but come ON: my youth athletes need to know I’m cool and have friends. ;-0
I don’t mean to come off as a braggart, but I’d say my social media handles are motivating.
From uplifting quotes, to soccer drills, to exercise techniques, to beautiful pictures of nature, I’d say I’m spreading a positive message to young female athletes.
So would you rather have your daughter have this “role model”:
So. The message matters.
It’s critical to follow experts who stay aligned with their core values, show authenticity, provide quality content, and promote an inspiring message.
While fitness celebrities have good intentions to “motivate” people through their social media accounts, they’re not. What’s motivating about a photoshopped bikini picture? What’s inspiring about self obsession? What good vibes are sent into the world from copious amounts of #gainz #legday #toneitup #fitspo #cheatmeal #macros?
Besides garnering thousands of followers and $ for the celeb, nothing positive is coming out of any of this.
Sure, I could post sexy pictures of myself in ass-less chaps and fishnet stockings while juggling a soccer ball, or maybe Tony Gentilcore could post pictures of himself in a banana hammock while dead lifting. And you bet we would go viral.
Alas, we choose not to. Why?
We’re too busy building our training capital.
#experience #clientgainz #helpingothers #smart #research #science #CSCScertification #credible #honest #awesome.
Sorry, had to.
This brings me to my last difference: fitness pros have spent years, if not DECADES training clients, transforming lives, and coaching customized programs in a hands-on environment. Needless to say, we’ve “spent time in the trenches.”
We’ve trained grandmas, professional athletes, dads, moms, and Kim Kardashian’s ass. It’s tough to pick out who and what we haven’t worked with. ;-0
Moreover, some of us have taken 5+ years of experience to finally sell a product.
Take Bret Contreras, for example. He’s been working with clients for 10+ years, and only recently has blasted several programs out into the world. Sure, he could hang up his hip thrusters and happily retire, but he continues to focus on training clients, all while fighting to push the industry forward.
And take Eric Cressey: a guy who has worked with thousands of professional baseball players and athletes, and launched his High Performance Handbook after years of experience-based knowledge.
And take veteran strength coach Tony Gentilcore, who prides himself in NOT writing one e-book, even though he could easily write one on how to dead lift your cat. And make bank off of it.
So who are you going to follow now?
Hopefully, this was enough to steer you in the right direction when it comes to absorbing sound fitness advice, as well as choosing where to spend your time and money.
I realize this one post won’t change the world overnight, but it’s time to call out these celebrities one at a time. And believe me, I could’ve written a dissertation on this topic, but I figured it was best to start a conversation. Share, discuss, comment, or post to social media. Just no duck face selfies, please.