Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

A Different Look at Infomercial Success Stories

I saw this video on youtube recently (video below). Basically, this guy decides to try and debunk common health and fitness advertisement success stories. Instead of trying to explain the video myself, why not take a few minutes to watch the video for yourself and then come on back and we can discuss the topics here. Go ahead, I'll wait...


Now, first of all, let me state that I think this video is simply grasping for the type of audience that would love nothing more than to 'write off' any health/fitness infomercial as being 'fake' and that everybody is just doomed to continue living the way they are living. Although I try and promote health and fitness as much as possible, I can see why people become so jaded, especially when watching something like this. Let me cover the key aspects here.

1. Companies Like Money

There is simply no need to argue this point. Companies like to make money. How does a health and fitness company make money? Selling products of course. How do you sell products to the masses? Promote the idea that their product is better than anyone else at making you look appealing to the opposite sex. Let that sink in for a minute. Some of you may initially disagree with me, and some of you may even say, "That is not why I exercise and diet!" Fine, if you are one of the select few that exercise and try to lead a healthy lifestyle simply for the sake of your health and better well-being, then great, I am proud of you and I personally like to live the same way. But don't for a second think that majority of the population out there has their priorities set on a certain appearance.

Once you begin to realize that most companies are out there to get your money, you can then accept the fact that not everything that is advertised to you is the whole truth. Even squeaky-clean companies out there have either bent the truth in their advertisements, or at least leaned towards the most profit-friendly sales pitches. Some of you may be scratching your head at this point because you know that I am a fan of the company Beachbody and some of the products that they have. Yes, I enjoy some of their products, but we can get into that more later.

2. Make Your Muscles Pop

It should not be a surprise to you that when this fellow is taking his "after" photos, he heads to the gym first, then tans a bit, and even sprays some cooking spray in order to make his body as visually appealing as possible. Companies like Beachbody are no different in this regard. Sure, they have folks at home take photos of themselves for a more natural feel to them, but they try and give as many suggestions as possible in order to maximize you 'after' shots. For example, by using overhead lighting for increased muscle definition, and even suggesting to take your photos after a workout so that your muscles are primed. I am not attacking Beachbody by any means, as all companies do the same thing. Let's not forget what we talked about in #1 above, but believe me, I will get to my point towards the end.

3. Starting Appearance is the Key

The guy in this video is actually in pretty decent shape when he takes his "after" photos. Sure, he is not rippling like many cover photos, but he has clearly spent some time in the gym growing some muscle. This allows a far greater transformation between his 2 photos. Most health and fitness companies enjoy these stark differences as well, but in a reverse direction, let me explain.

Health and fitness companies that promote user success aim for the greatest and most drastic transformations. Why? Refer to #1. Yes, of course they are helping people get fit, and it is great to see individuals losing weight and getting in shape. But, there should be a big disclaimer here. Just because you see certain people that go from one end of the physical spectrum to the other does not mean that you will also follow the same pattern. This is especially true for those of us that start their health and fitness journey somewhere in the middle of the road. Not only that, but there are plenty of other factors at play that determines your final appearance such as diet, genetics, supplements, etc. A company like Beachbody for example does not list the number or type of supplements that their individuals use to attain such phenomenal results. Sure, they also sell supplements, but their success stories don't necessarily use/take what they sell.

4. Photoshop

Ah yes, the digital age. Where anyone can drastically improve their appearance with a few (hundred) mouse clicks. Photo alteration programs are used in almost every facet of our society to improve advertisements. From Hollywood, to fast food, even to improve the look/appearance of babies, photos are 'touched up' to improve their appearance and make a certain product seem more appealing.

In this case, I will honestly say that not everyone in the health and fitness industry uses photoshop, as you can scour the web for user reviews and transformations that are as real as they get, but just be mindful that this little tool may be more prevalent than you think.

5. Diet

Now kids, this should be some of the most important pieces of information you take from the above video, how drastically one's diet can effect appearance. This guy DRASTICALLY changes his appearance in just a few hours. In somewhat of a humorous (but also sad) way, this guy consumes products that are high in sodium (water retention), carbonated beverages (bloating), and chocolate milk (high calorie, slow digesting).

On a side note, if you pause the video at exactly 2:40, you can see the face of a man who is about to explode! I laugh every time I see that.

What is so startling is how much this guy can change his appearance with just a few hours of eating like a slob. No wonder many people look the way they do after years of eating like that!

Summary

There is a comment made towards the end of the video basically summarizing the findings/goal of this video, to not believe everything that you see. I would like to think that most people can think for themselves and make smart, educated decisions, but that is not always the case.

I personally think that this video happens to be a pretty accurate reflection of society. It is pretty hard to go anywhere these days without being slapped in the face with advertisements suggesting 'six-pack abs' or 'toned, lean legs and buns', etc. Individuals everywhere go through vicious up and down cycles of getting in shape to look a certain way. It almost happens like clockwork every year when the gyms and athletic centers begin filling up again before spring and summer so that people can fluff their feathers to strut around and look good at the beach.

I personally feel that the best individuals out there today will be able to look beyond specific advertisements and selling claims to live a healthy lifestyle based on how they wish to feel and perform, rather than attempting to look a certain way. You are almost definitely doomed if you spend all of your time trying to look like someone else rather than just looking like you and feeling good about it.

Having said all of that, and I promised I would get back to this topic, I want to commend a company like Beachbody. I am not going to lie to tell you that they do not use some of the same tactics and gimmicks seen by so many others to sell their products, because they do, and they are a company trying to sell products. What makes them different however, is I personally find their trainers motivating, and I can connect with their research and development that they put into so many of their products.

A few programs from Beachbody have worked for me to motivate and inspire me to get and stay fit. I now use these products, as well as create a healthy lifestyle of my own, to try and live a life that I wish to live based on how I want to act and feel for years to come. If that is not your thing, fine. But find something that works for you and motivates and inspires you to stay active and eat appropriately, as long as you don't do it based on how you think you wish to look.