And The New Year Begins…a PSA about Marketing Hype

My wife came home Monday night and said “the gym was packed”.  Not surprisingly, this is the time of year when many people get started either back into fitness or beginning a whole new journey.  I’m all for it.  If the calendar moving forward another year prompts you to take action, then great.  Start on the journey towards better health.  However, there is another side to that coin, and this is my PSA about it.

In only two days keeping tabs on my social media feeds they have been inundated with promotions and “deals” geared towards people making New Years’ Resolutions to get into better shape.  As a public service announcement, here’s a simple statement:  if it seems too good to be true (just like many other things in life) then IT IS.  It’s just that simple.

$10 a month for a “personalized” nutrition plan off of Instagram is going to get you a generic diet you can find online for free that was given to a hundred other people.  Joining a boot camp that guarantees weight loss or muscle gain in a month only guarantees that you’ll walk out sore and probably hurt.  And what happens when that month is over?  Oh, you want to continue?  The price just went up 300%.

You’re not going to get ripped in eight weeks, you’re not going to drop 20 pounds in a month, and you’re not going to be able to adapt to a hard core exercise program in a short period of time.  You’re not likely going to be able to perform a proper clean and jerk or snatch in two weeks if you have never done one before.  If you try, then your body is going to get severely pissed at you and likely fight back in a very unpleasant way, leaving you worse off than you were previously.  Change takes time.  I’ve said this ad nauseum but maybe this time of year is exactly when it really needs to be said.  And if you try to force it, then you’re likely going to end up worse off than when you started with the only thing lighter being your wallet.

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However, if you do want to get started, now is a good time to get a bargain.  The problem is that typically the people offering the bargains need clients – and they need clients for a reason.  That reason could be legitimate, like they are starting on a new business venture and want to draw attention to their business.  However, sometimes it is simply because they can’t find people during the year to purchase their services and want to spur some new business at the beginning of the year knowing that people are much more likely to believe the hype.  Yep – when it comes to my industry, I’m a cynic.  Unfortunately in my experience a lot of people in the industry don’t your best interest at heart – they have theirs.

I myself recently offered a promotion for my runner coaching service – but it was based on five months’ worth of work, not four weeks.  I also didn’t promise that anyone was going to be able to run a marathon in five months.  I promised improvement, which is what all of my clients get – but if anyone gives you a specific timeline towards something that requires time (like weight loss or muscle gain – or cardiovascular endurance) and guarantees they can get you there at a 50% discount, then they’re lying.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for people getting started on a journey towards better health.  Seeing even one new person in the gym during this time of year that sticks with it and makes it a regular habit is fantastic.  There’s a world of fitness possibilities out there and finding something that you love that is active and can keep you strong and healthy is something everyone should do.

If you really want to make an investment, then make an investment, but do it for the long term – not the short term.  Do your research.  Invest in a program that fits your lifestyle and timeline – not something flashy that promises results without any way to back it up.  Do your research beyond just seeing something that looks promising or flashy on social media.  Be critical.  Be smart.  It’s your money.

Good on you making a change and the simple fact is that the only way to get from A to B is work over a period of time – not short term solutions that are offered to you as attractive packages at a massive discount.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

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