This was originally posted here. This is an edited version.
Remember when you used to meet up with a friend and you would meet in the middle? They didn’t want to go all the way over to your house and you didn’t want to go all the way to theirs so you met in the middle. When I was a kid, it seemed a fair deal because I rode my bike everywhere.
Now it seems (to me) we now live in a world of extremes, and no one meets in the middle. It’s either this or that. It’s fact or it’s fiction. You support me or you’re dead to me. Plus, if there are two different points of view, you must side with one or the other.
This is often exacerbated by the mainstream media and even on TV shows.
Extremes sell and get you fired up. If you support one side or the other for whatever reason, it’s easy to draw a line in the sand and put your money where your mouth is. How’s that for back-to-back use of clichés? On second thoughts, don’t answer that.
Although today’s political climate has its fair share of extremes, I also see this in the health and fitness realm.
Warning: Soap Box Moment
Before the rant, here’s where I’m coming from. I’ve been a
Personal trainer for 12 years
Freelance fitness writer for over six years
Been writing a fitness blog for over seven years
Volunteer for the Personal Trainer Development Center where I consume a metric ton of fitness content.
I’ve read, written, coached, and performed a lot of exercise. This doesn’t make me an authority, but it does make me a loudmouth with an informed opinion. If you dislike opinion pieces, stop reading. If you wish to be more informed as to see clearly through the murky waters of the fitness realm, hold on to your keyboard.
It will be a bumpy ride.
The Middle Doesn’t Sell Well
Extremes sell because they get attention.
Nothing brings this more to light than social media because it takes a lot to get consumers’ attention while they’re doom scrolling. And being on social media more than I should, here’s what I’ve gathered about what sells and what doesn’t
Nothing polarizes trainers, coaches, and consumers more than diets and methods of exercise. Whether it be Keto, Atkins, Vegan, (insert all diets here) or high-intensity training, CrossFit, Zumba, or kettlebells (insert all training methods here).
To get attention in a crowded marketplace and more sales, you need to stand out from the crowd. And some trainers, coaches, etc. go to extremes by either
Performing circus tricks that kind of look like an exercise
Saying only this works and nothing else does
This food will get you fat and buy this
You’re exercising all wrong and you must do this for gains
Eliminate this and add this (whatever their selling) to get long-lasting results
Stop making these diet and exercise mistakes and do this instead.
Or variations of all the above. Now, I’m not saying this is wrong and I’m not denying people trying to make a buck no matter how dubious their claims are. Because (cliché alert) fools and their money are soon parted.
But I’m going to let you in on a little-known secret that seems obvious that you’ll be smacking your hand into your forehead repeatedly saying ‘why, why, why didn’t I think of that.’
Are you ready?
Everything works. Yes, even the Thigh Master. Or Zumba
The trick is what to do when the extremes stop working.
Here’s What Doesn’t Sell
Extremes do work because there is a time and place for most things. There are times to go to extremes to get the results you want.
Plus, people are entitled to their extreme opinions too. My only problem is when these people are presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary and they still hold on to their beliefs.
But that’s a story for a different time.
Here’s what I feel aren’t the biggest sellers nor doesn’t it generate lots of attention.
The basics and moderation, otherwise known as the middle.
The middle for resistance training involves the regression and progression of hinging, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, and locomotion (carries, sled work, etc.) And the middle for nutrition is a caloric deficit for fat loss, caloric surplus for muscle gain, and eating more like an adult and not a child.
Yes, there is a lot of wiggle room as I’m taking the broad view here.
Moderation is taking the long-term view and not just the short-term strategy of losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks.
Quoting a well-known coach, he suggests you need to spend more of your time doing either a
Moderate diet (not a huge caloric deficit, surplus, or mass elimination of food groups). Combined with Hard training (more sets, reps, or more days exercising).
Hard diet (bigger deficit or surplus with the elimination of foods) Combined with Moderate training (fewer sets, reps, and training to support your goal).
Now extreme dieting and training programs (at the same time) are doable but only for a limited time. Think of it (another cliché alert) as burning the candle at both ends. You burn bright for a while and after a while, there is no wax to burn.
But moderation and the basics aren’t as sexy or sell as well as extremes.
This is not knock-on trainers or coaches who use attention-grabbing content or exercises to generate sales, likes, and followers. But be aware there is plenty of room in the middle to perform the basics with moderate diet and exercise.
Because doing a little over the long haul will give you the best chance of success. Save the circus tricks for the professionals.
If you’re looking for an exercise program to get you back on track, check out my 6-week program right here.