How To Avoid Fitness Scams and Deceitful Marketing Tactics


Welcome to the second article in the series that’s focused on exposing some of the tactics that may be used to convince you to buy low quality fitness or weight loss products. In the first article, we learned about how some people may use percentages to inflate their products low potential. We also explored how unusual or exotic ingredients may be used to entice you to buy what may simply be exotic crab grass. We ended with a ploy that is used to weaken you personal power to take control and change your fitness for the better all to convince you that you can’t be successful without their product. Read How To Avoid Fitness Scam – Part 1.

Let’s continue on and look at another ploy to convince you to buy while weakening your personal ability to change.

Tactic #4: The “You’re Broken” Approach.
This ploy is specifically targeted towards those who have been trying to get in shape but have met frustration. Before I dive in, I want to just mention quickly that frustration and disappointment are all part of the path to success. I never met anyone who figured it all out and got it right on their first try. In fact, I firmly believe that you’re going to learn more about what’s best for you through your mistakes than through any book or program. Making mistakes is not only inevitable, but if you’re willing to look at your frustrations with a critical eye, they will be very effective at teaching you what your best strategies really are. You simply cannot get in shape without messing up and getting frustrated from time to time. Okay, back to this lie about how you’re supposedly “broken.”

The idea is that you can’t get in shape because something about yourself, your environment, your food or your workout is somehow broken and it’s holding you back. It’s very similar to the “it’s not your fault” tactic, but it has one slight difference that can make it all the more convincing. That difference is that it probably has an element of truth to it and thus can be much more convincing.

It makes sense to a degree. After all there must be some reason why you have not reached your goals despite your hard work. Maybe, just maybe it’s because you have this special enzyme blocked off, or your genetics are working against you. Maybe you’ve over trained and your body is broken down too much. A common scapegoat for this ploy is stress. After all, why not blame something we all believe is usually bad and fills each of our daily lives?

Another common angle is this idea that we have somehow created a toxic or dirty environment within ourselves and we must clean ourselves out. Naturally, the only solution to “fix” your body is through their product. It can be a convincing ploy. Especially because everyone has their flaws.

Six billion people on earth and not a single one of us was dealt a perfect hand in life. We all have our obstacles that make it difficult to get in shape. But that doesn’t mean you’re broken like a car that won’t start.

fitness-scams-deceitful-marketing-tacticsThe key is to realize that we are all challenged one way or another and those who do get in shape, do so despite their disadvantages and challenges. Again, this is another ploy to get you to surrender your personal power to the scam artists and the products they pitch. If they can convince you that you are powerless to reach your goals because of this obstacle, then they can leave you feeling desperate and helpless, thus willing to buy whatever they are selling.

You are not weak or powerless. You don’t need to buy anything to become powerful enough to change your body. You have all the power you need; it’s just a matter of discovering it and nurturing it so it can grow.

Also, when it comes to creating a toxic or dirty imbalance within your body, such a thing is possible but not very common. If you ever did find yourself in such a condition, it’s very likely that losing weight or having more energy would be the least of your problems. Toxic imbalances in the body usually require hospitalization and serious medical treatment. If you suspect such a thing, see your doctor immediately.

Tactic #5: The Call for Revolution
Right on the back of the “It’s Not Your Fault” and the “You’re Broken” line, you usually find a line that talks about some sort of revolution or new technology that is going to transform the way people reach the goals you just happen to be working for. It’s complete nonsense.

One of the things I love about fitness is that it’s one of the few areas in our life where we don’t need new science and technology. Humans have been improving their health in very successful ways for centuries. In fact, many people talk about past “old school” fitness programs as being more effective than our modern-day tech-savvy methods.

Fitness isn’t like flying where we needed to invent a technology to have access to its benefits. We could get in shape long before we even knew what weight machines were, before elliptical trainers and even before we knew about amino acids and vitamins.

I’m not saying that science and technology can’t help us improve things. We have used science to make people faster, stronger and more capable in every Olympics since they began, but I’m not talking about squeezing out another .000002% of speed from a runner. I’m talking about being able to fit into a pair of jeans and have the stamina to run a few extra miles. When it comes to general fitness, we have had all of the knowledge and technology we ever needed for centuries.

I make this point simply to illustrate that no revolution is coming. It’s not coming because we never needed one. We could stop all of our research into fitness and exercise right now and be fine. I actually think we might even be better off. We don’t need to learn anything more as a culture to make us generally fit and in shape. It would be literally like reinventing the wheel. For decades the best ways to get stronger were to lift something heavy and the best way to improve endurance was to do a repetitive activity for a length of time.

Losing weight has always been about calorie balance and healthy eating is about eating foods that supply nutrients the body can use.

If you propelled yourself 200 years into the future, I would bet dollars to donuts you would find humans with loads of new fitness “technology” and “science”, but essentially doing the same things they are doing today to get in shape.

If anything, I find that I become more fit and successful by throwing away the rules and technology and going with the methods that were used centuries ago. I really do believe that our latest innovations are just adding clutter and taking up space in an already resource limited field of lifestyle science.

We don’t need a revolution, we don’t need a transformation and I highly doubt that what is for sale in a magazine is going to make cultural waves for generations to come.

In my third and final article, I’ll cover how some advertising claims sound promising, even though they never actually say the product will work! It’s all about getting you to believe the product will work well, but they never actually say it has any chance of helping you achieve your goals. Read How To Avoid Fitness Scams – Part 3.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 175,000 ShapeFit subscribers who are receiving our free weekly fitness newsletter and learn how you can build more muscle, burn off body fat and get into the best shape of your life!
We hate spam! Your email address will never be sold or shared with anyone. You can unsubscribe at anytime.

About Author

Matt Schifferle

My name is Matt Schifferle and I'm an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, CrossFit Level 1 coach, underground strength coach and I'm a 5th degree black belt in Taekwon-Do. I specialize in outdoor and playground based underground and CrossFit style bootcamps. See my profile page for more information!

Leave A Reply