There are countless products on the market that look super appealing and claim to be just what you’re looking for during your fitness journey – that magic pill, product or plan.
For the most part these are simply marketing ploys to make a buck. While they might sound good (it’s marketing, afterall) these companies do not have your best interest at heart, nor do they care if their product does nothing at all. Most people who would consider these items are those who are already vulnerable – they’ve been trying to lose weight, or trying to build a specific physique for a long time – and are struggling. They’re not enjoying the process, they’re not hitting goals, maybe they’re not seeing progress at all. The hard truth is that these companies target individuals that they know are unhappy and are falling short on their fitness journeys – predators preying on the weak … gross.
There are so many products on the market that make false claims, but they sell. And everywhere you turn, there’s a new thing that’s going to help you drop 20 pounds in 20 days, or give you the body you’ve always wanted without having to break a sweat or change your diet.
(Side note: One of the coolest things about Manduu is that we DO NOT CLAIM TO BE A MAGIC PILL. We know that outside work is necessary for clients to accomplish goals, and our trainers are there to help them figure out how to maintain progress outside of the studio – whether it’s fun ways to get cardio in, or protein and hydration recommendations. I can assure you that the only way these companies will help you out is by encouraging you to buy more of their product). I digress…
When a product catches your eye and you find yourself feeling tempted, take a minute to dive deeper. It can truly be as easy as inspecting the product; you don’t even need to jump on the internet or search a scientific journal at that moment. Truly one of the worst parts about these companies might be how ballsy they are – all the things that should clue people in and immediately turn them off is right there in plain sight, but it is 1000% a valuable part of their marketing.
Do you really think that famous or wealthy people live by these detox teas and shakes? Or that their body shape has been helped along by appetite suppressing lollipops? Or that their beautiful hair is attributed to those little gummy bear vitamins?
Does the company claim to be THE (BEST) product for said purpose, or that whatever they’re claiming the product can do has “never been done before”? Or that the results from using the product “can’t be measured”?
(Does it seem like they’re using) Scare tactics? Statements like:
% of people get _____ disease every year
1 out of 5 men/women will suffer with _____
% of individuals will be diagnosed with this cancer because of ____ (insert “preventable” condition)
Do they utilize unrealistic/crazy (looking) progress claims or photos?
Remember that 1.0 – 2.0 lbs of fat/week can be safely lost. While claims for more rapid fat loss might be truth in the case of their product, that does not mean that that’s safe and sustainable.
LOOK AT THE LABEL!
Notice the % DV of vitamins – is it worth it? Are you getting those vitamins from other sources, like whole food and your multivitamin?
Natural (they’re NOT NATURAL) / artificial flavors
Proprietary blends: a proprietary blend will either be named under “proprietary blend”, or they might be headlined as some (other) cool sounding compound/blend. Companies will list what ingredients are part of this blend, and a total dosage for all ingredients combined, but they are not required to list the amount of each ingredient. Ex: A product might say “proprietary blend: 1000mg: caffeine, creatine, beta alanine, beet root powder, tart cherry juice, ashwaganda” – you won’t know how much of each ingredient is present.
If you find yourself intrigued by all of the new (MIS)information on social media EVERY SINGLE GOSH DARN DAY remember to look for credentials, endorsements/ads, the willingness to offer support/research to back up what they’re saying; if they’re selling something (already a red flag) but again, sponsorships, upsells
Now what are some of the products I’m going after?
In fact, “detox” anything. A recipe for a “detox” smoothie or soup at home if it calls for all natural ingredients is one thing – is it “detoxing”? No – so yes, it’s still a lie but if it’s generally healthy, it’s not quite on my hitlist. Back to it… detox teas, detox cleanses, pills … not only do external products serve no purpose in body detox, but WE HAVE A LIVER. THAT IS OUR DETOX SYSTEM. The liver filters blood and breaks down toxic substances for excretion. Bile is produced in the liver which aids in removing these waste substances. If you have a healthy, functioning liver then you have an efficient, functioning detox system and there is NO NEED for any gimmicky “detox” product. If you take any kind of commercially sold detox product, you can count on canceling plans and staying home because you’re going to need a bathroom often.
Often target detox as well “fat burning/melting” and “increasing metabolism”. Juicing simply gives you a shot of fructose, and a couple vitamins and minerals at best. It removes the fiber from the fruit and veggies, so you’ll be starving and it will probably mess with your stomach, but it’s not going to detox you.
FAT BURNERS/METABOLISM BOOSTERS
Just don’t mess with these. There are so many different chemicals used, the risk is simply too high. And, as I know you all know by now – the only safe, effective way to lose fat and KEEP IT OFF, is to build muscle (cue MANDUU), so any changes you might see will not be long-lasting. So why take something that could give you a heart attack or mess with your blood pressure, cause irregular heartbeat, or cause GI distress, especially if you will 1000% lose the results you might see..?
MEAL REPLACEMENT BARS
Commonly used ingredients include – (artificial) sugar, good ol’ artificial flavors/colors and “natural” flavors/colors (which are not natural), hydrogenated oils, stabilizers, fillers, preservatives. These bars often lack important enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are found in a well-balanced meal.
DIET FOODS/DIET DRINKS
Similar to the great fat free disaster of the 80s and 90s, these foods will always always contain a lot of (added) sugar plus additives to make up for flavor removed when fat was removed. They lack essential nutrients and minerals needed to proper absorption, satiation, metabolism.
We all know and love cellulite. Cellulite is a collection of fat that pushes against connective tissue under the skin resulting in a lumpy, puckering, dimpled look. Yes, women get it much more often than men do (80-90% W will have it vs. 10% M – rude, I know). Loss of elasticity in skin makes cellulite look more prominent. There is no way that something happening under the skin can be corrected by a highly marketed superficial treatment (Castor oil? Maybe.. It’s apparently the miracle oil, but that’s a conversation for another day). The only treatments that have shown slight improvement in the appearance of cellulite are way more heavy duty and include injections to break up the fat, acoustic wave therapy, laser treatment. Fun fact: Exercise can also help a little!! Development of muscle tissue can tighten up the skin and therefore smooth out the appearance.
ELECTROLYTE DRINKS/HYDRATION POWDERS:
These are often full of sugar and many times don’t contain a helpful amount of minerals. You can hydrate and get electrolytes with fancy little concoctions like honey + lime + water, or coconut water + OJ or lime juice + pinch of celtic or pink himalayan sea salt. These options are efinitely cheaper than what they’re selling in cute, colorful packets too 😊
Watch out for things like …
-elimination of a food group or entire meals
-suggest very specific foods/food combos/meals (at specific times of the day)
-promises rapid loss/crazy progress pics
-no exercise needed!
-rigid and inflexible meal plans
___ DAY (FAT LOSS/6PACK/GLUTE/BICEP) PLAN!
KEEP IN MIND: What works for someone, may not work for you. Sustainability and contentment are most important when working towards your goals!
They won’t burn abdominal fat, but they claim that they target abdominal fat via sweating ::eye roll::. They also won’t train your abs – often, the opposite actually happens. Your abs aren’t required to work while constricted in a waist trainer, so they become more weak. What you can do is work on training the transverse abdominis because if that muscle is well trained and if your overall fitness is in a good spot, it can give the appearance of a smaller waist.
Looking to tone your waist and core? Here are some (transverse ab) moves to try:
STOMACH VACUUMS (standing or laying on floor)
The stomach vacuum can be done standing, kneeling, seated or lying on your back but if you’re just starting you’re going to do the standing version.
Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Forcibly exhale, pushing all air out of your lungs. Expand your chest and suck your stomach in as much as possible and hold, while trying to maintain a normal breathing pattern. YES, it’s tricky and YES, it will take some time to get it right. Practice the movement a bunch and then work on maintaining your breathing. Once you’ve got it down, work on doing 3 sets, 3 times a week, holding for 20 seconds each set. The second week you can work up to 30 seconds each set, third week up to 40 seconds, and so on.
HOLLOW BODY HOLDS
You can think of a hollow body hold almost as a reverse plank. Lie down on your back, legs out straight with arms raised above your head. Raise your legsand arms about 45 degrees, and pull shoulders up off the floor by contracting your core muscles. Hold For 20-30 seconds and gently return to starting position.
Lie face down with your arms at your sides. Bring your hands up approximately to armpit level, and place your palms on the ground. Push yourself up and come up on your toes. Keep your back in line with your butt by tightening your core. Focus on maintaining a calm, normal breathing rhythm and don’t let your hips drop. This will burn, so hold for as long as you can!
If you’re familiar with pilates, you’ve probably seen this one.
Lie on your back, place your hands behind your head, lift legs and maintain a 90degree angle at knees (shins will be parallel to floor). Keeping your core tight, point your toes and tap the floor. With the right toes. Bring the right leg back to starting position, and repeat with the left side. Alternate legs for a total of 20 reps.
Lie on your back with your arms up in the air (straight out in
front of your chest, not over your head), and your legs up and bent at the knee so that shins are parallel to the floor. From here engage your core, bring the right arm back behind you, and straighten your left leg – both your right hand and left foot should tap the floor. Use your ab muscles to bring your arm and leg back up to starting position, and repeat on the other side.
BIRD DOGS (kind of a reverse dead bug)
You’ll start in tabletop position (on hands and knees) with your back straight. Keeping your core tight, bring your right hand out in front of you and kick your left leg straight out behind you. Bring your arm and leg back to starting position, and repeat with the left arm and right leg. This is a tough position to keep you balance in especially when you’re just starting, but core engagement + normal breathing will be your best friend!
** in all exercises, resist side to side rotation of hips or ribs to better target the transverse
Stay hydrated, get some cardio, and keep up the good work!
Nicole, M.S. EXNS