FITNESS IN THE AGE OF DECEIT Feb. 16, 2018 | Written by: Kenneth Gallarzo
We live in a world where marketing reigns supreme. Our image of ourselves has become more important than realizing and accepting our true self. Nowhere is this truer than in the fitness world. If “sex sells,” it does extremely well in fitness. The masses are constantly sold on images of what fitness looks like, without ever presenting what true fitness is. Men are sold on attaining the “six pack,” along with having toned pecks and big arms, while women are sold on attaining flat tummies and firm legs. The truth is- these goals are byproducts of intensive fitness regimens, restrictive diets, and good genes.
True fitness is measured more by our capabilities than the looks of our physique. One’s fitness level is truly measured by not only their strength, endurance, and mobility, but also their cardiovascular endurance and body composition. What is being sold to us, on the other hand, are not only unattainable goals for most people to achieve, but also misguidance on how to train in a way that is not counter productive to achieving this “true fitness.“
We’ve all seen the models on the cover of magazines, or the fitness models on television advertisements. These images have created the idea of what fit people should look like, without portraying the extremes they have gone through to reach that physique. Combine that, with the fact that they are often dehydrated for photo-shoots and rely on professional lighting to look the way they do, and you have created a recipe for false expectations for your fitness journey. Add Photoshop and steroids to the mix, and you have an impossible task on your hands.
Most research regarding body composition indicates that the ideal body fat percentage for men alone are typically 6-13% for Athletes, 14-17% for General Fitness, and 18-24% for a healthy average. This research also states that individual need to have at least 2-5% body fat to sustain life, yet most images shown in advertisements range from 4-7% body fat, the bare minimum and on the border of being unhealthy. Due to the unrealistic representation, these advertisements have caused a great degree of harm to our society, triggering many eating disorders and even impelling many men and women to experiment with illegal substances like steroids. The marketing behind the campaigns using such models is often sponsored by supplement companies, big-chain gyms, and other various companies who profit off selling products that promise miracles.
Big-chain gyms rely on high turnover rates, as well as, members not showing up regularly, if at all. If every single member of these corporate gyms showed, the building would be beyond crowded with little to no room to even breathe, let alone train. They rely on members who will pay their monthly dues with self-promises of returning, only to fall short of their false expectations after a few weeks or months of trying- then continue to repeat this demotivating cycle. Supplement companies have their schemes by hiring fit models to attain “after” pictures, all the while later having those same models gain weight for a “before” photo to “prove” their results. All these products and services do is prey on those wishing to achieve that model body, all the while showing little or no results.
It’s unfortunate that our society has become so easy to influence with superficial marketing. While most people continue their roller-coaster journey, many quality fitness professionals who provide far superior products and services often struggle to get their wholesome message across.
I know my writing this won’t change our society or the fitness industry overnight, however, if opened a few new eyes to the truth behind the fitness industry, then this blog would have served its purpose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KENNETH GALLARZO AKA @PROGRESSIVE_CALISTHENICS
Kenneth Gallarzo is a WCO Master Trainer, Personal Trainer, and Vice-President and Co-Founder of World Calisthenics Organization (WCO) and Battle of the Bars. Ken has created various workout programs and certification courses, such as WCO's StreetSport Calisthenics Certification Courses, which are recognized by the National Academy of Sports Medicine USA and Register of Exercise Professionals UAE. He has conducted workshops in over a dozen different countries across the world and, because of his influence on the Calisthenics community, has been asked to judge various competitions worldwide. He has also been featured in numerous online articles, as well as, Men's Health Middle East and Men's Health South Africa.