It was time for a little league volleyball this weekend and while hanging out between games, I was within an earshot of a guy I vaguely knew from the gym. We’ll call him “Jim Joe”.
Jim Joe is one of those guys that was born with perfect genetics. He likely eats healthy because he is proud of his body and like all of us, wants to always look that much better.
But the fact is that Jim Joe is naturally lean and ripped. I’m guessing him to be over six feet and about 230 lbs. He has a natural “V-shape”, huge arms (bis and tris), ripped abs and I’m guessing he’s probably about 5% body fat year round.
I also happen to know that Jim Joe is a self-professed trainer. He doesn’t have any accreditation, but he knows that with genetics like he has, people tend to listen to what he has to offer in the way of nutrition and exercise.
What I was over-hearing was a discussion on eggs.
It started with a young girl offering up how she had just recently learned that Nutella wasn’t good for you. Jim Joe shook his head in disgust and rightfully so.
Nutella on toast is about as healthy as eating a Cinnabon for breakfast. I’ll give credit to Nutella marketing though, as there seems to be a huge sector of society that firmly believes in Nutella as a healthy choice.
After Jim Joe got finished explaining the evils of Nutella, the conversation progressed to overall nutrition habits and he eventually let a small group of college students know that “even eating one whole egg is beyond the amount of cholesterol you should be getting for your daily allowance”.
I heard several Oohs and Aahs as Jim Joe explained that you should only eat egg whites.
Well, first of all… that couldn’t be more wrong. It’s horrible advice. Jim Joe probably read the recent study on comparing egg yolks to cigarettes and like many a consumer who refuses to research facts when something doesn’t ring true, he took it to heart and instantly adopted it as part of his nutritional belief system.
Even worse, he was telling the group how he had just led this exact discussion in a weekly nutrition class he taught.
It’s simply no wonder that it’s often difficult to separate fact from fiction in nutrition and working out.
While I’m expressing my discontent for Jim Joe, I’ll also advise to stop placing so much faith in online trainers simply because they have a large online audience. While this could be the results of a trainer really knowing his stuff, it’s simply not always the case.
I know of two online trainers who are hugely popular and it’s only because they’re awesome internet marketers. One in particular even runs a separate blog on how to market to the diet crowd and make money. Is that really someone you want to be purchasing fitness information from?
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen a fitness forum member try to prove a statement as fact because one of these popular online gurus said it was so.
Body building forums are full of such naive minds. It’s a sad fact. And there’s yet another advice medium you should always question.
I don’t know the numbers, but it seems that many body building forums are ripe with an over-abundance of teens that are certain of everything fitness related.
People can simply seem more believable online but when you talk to these same kids at your local gym, they’re the ones that most often make you bite your tongue, smile and walk away.
Most simply don’t have the experience to be match the advice and that equates to poor advice.
The Best Fitness Advice
So who do you turn to for the best advice? Who has the answers that really work?
It’s a fact that most diet plans work and that’s the problem with misinformation. I could drink exactly 43 glasses of water, consume 5 pieces of cinnamon toast, 2 jars of applesauce, 4 lbs of green beans and a Snickers bar every day and guess what? After 2 weeks, I would drop weight.
Should I then create the new “cinnamon toast diet” for losing weight and market it? Sadly, that’s exactly what a lot of people do. They get (or form) mis-information from seeing what they believe are results and start preaching their new dietary habits as the gospel.
Don’t buy into the hype. The diet above would put me in a calorie deficit and that would result in weight loss for sure, but that’s because I would be losing a lot of muscle from the complete lack of protein, nutrients and calories that my body requires to remain lean and strong.
Follow the proven “sensible” methods that work. Make sure that any diet you follow is targeting “fat loss” and not just “weight loss”. If it’s pushing weight loss, run the other way.
Follow the guy in your gym who is working the hardest and making noticeable improvements.
There’s no hard, fast rule as to who holds the greatest fitness knowledge in your gym, but it’s likely that it’s not who you think it is. Look to the guy that once carried a lot of fat and he’s not only managed to slim down, but he is sporting a six-pack and great muscle tone. That’s the guy that’s been through the trenches and he has had to manipulate every aspect of his nutrition and training to achieve his results.
My real problem with Jim Joe is that he is like most genetically gifted individuals I know. When I see him at the gym, he’s rarely working hard. He spends most of his time talking and very little time actually hitting the weights.
Following a guy with such a superior genetic makeup and lack of work ethic is rarely going to help you. Like the cinnamon toast diet above, you’ll probably see results in the right direction, but is it possible that you could have been seeing 4x the results from following far better advice?
Jim Joe may be the coolest guy in the gym, but consider that he has simply never had to push himself through sticking points and plateaus like someone with average or poor genetics. He can offer no real world advice in the most challenging aspects of fitness that you’ll likely deal with if you have extreme goals.
Follow someone who’s progress is aligned with your goals.
In other words.. if you’re trying to get as lean as possible, don’t follow the advice of someone who is trying to get as strong or big as he can. You have different goals and despite the fact that he’s 260 and can bench over 400, his nutrition and workout plan is completely unique to him as yours should be to you.
I’m really not writing this article to diss Jim Joe and all the big guys. The fact is that there are some pretty darned big guys who give great advice. I am asking that you make sure that you’re not following someone’s advice because he’s a charismatic individual who would likely look like a young Arnold, even if he ate started every morning with a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Some people simply have the genetics that would allow for this but even if they do spend most waking hours eating healthy, don’t give anyone the control to hand down your daily nutrition and workout log without following the advice up and doing some research yourself.
Ask around, post your new plan in a forum.. it’s all part of educating yourself and learning what works best for you.
Real Life Fitness Experts You Can Trust
You get what I’m saying but you still want some names of people that really know their stuff? Where’s a great place to start?
I could obviously never provide an exhaustive list of fitness experts that are “the real deal” but having lived the online life of fitness for the last few years, I don’t mind name-dropping a couple of the very best in the business.
#1 Tom Venuto – He’s the author of the #1 all time best-selling best ebook, “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle“. I could really give a crap less about it being the best selling ebook, but I can state that it is, without a doubt, the most informative and best written book on burning fat that I’ve ever read, online or print.
I actually hate the sales page for that product. How many times does he use the word “secret” on the sales copy? It makes the product come off hokey.. but thankfully, if you do grab the ebook, it addresses the most well known and scientifically backed information around for burning fat and gaining muscle.
It covers the methods that all elite body builders use to drop fat before a competition.
Hopefully, Tom will one day come to a place where he realizes that being the industry leader in his topic, he doesn’t have to employ keyword rich sales pages to sell his products. He would likely be far more successful by dropping the word crammed sales pages and simply presenting a video where he states the success of the program himself.
Regardless, don’t let the marketing junk scare you away. This program is the best I’ve read anywhere and I’ve read at least a hundred different online programs.
#2 Jeff Willet – This was the trainer that took old guy (for a first time body builder), Stuart MacDonald, from over 30% fat to 6% body fat in “I Want to Look Like That Guy“. If you haven’t seen the DVD, get it. It’s one of the most amazing transformations you will ever witness and you will be inspired.
After visiting Stuart’s site, be sure to swing by Jeff Willet’s website and subscribe to his list. He’s one of the few guys that never send me junk and only writes about what he believes in. Refreshing!
Jeff has an old school way of achieving superior results.. really hard work and extreme attention to nutrition. Aside from the amazing results he helped Stuart achieve, he’s won several major competitions in his day so you can believe what he’s telling you.
Jeff’s an example of a really big guy who is a natural.. but most definitely gives superb workout advice.
#3 Most Competition Body Builders – The thing about competition body building is that it forces you to understand the relationship between nutrition and your body and understand it well. You’ll rarely find a competition body builder who doesn’t “get it”. These guys have to “walk the walk” every day, all day or they don’t stand a chance of measuring up on competition day.
The caveat, of course, if to find the “all natural” body builders, who chose the “steroid-free” path to results. Steroids are going to always give better results so finding a “hard loser” that managed to lose all his fat and have a popping six-pack is finding a gold mine of valuable information.
Eat whole eggs, research everything that you hear in the world of fitness and nutrition and challenge your trusted resources, regardless of certifications or number of online followers.
If you’re going to put months and years of hard work into a system for your sole benefit, you owe it to yourself to challenge every questionable statement.
If for no other reason, you simply need to learn what methods help you achieve your best results.
I am curious to hear what others think about this. Who’s a “fitness guru” that you believe is the real deal?