Social media provides access to an abundance of wonderful information, powerful tools and knowledgeable people we would otherwise never have the pleasure of learning from.
However, social media is also a platform for less-reputable, self-proclaimed experts to provide the internet with misinformation and advice that is not necessarily in your best interest.
I am certain that many of those providing information and advice actually do want to help people. BUT many only care about getting your $$ in their pockets.
Regardless of their intentions, it is important to understand how to sift through to find the reputable professionals if you really want to accomplish fitness/exercise-related goals safely and effectively.
But how in the world do you weed out the “gurus” and self-proclaimed experts from the reputable professionals??
As always when things get a little murky or confusing, it’s important to remember the basics. When we have a problem, don’t we typically seek advice from or hire the professional with the appropriate tools and expertise to solve said problem? When you need someone to take care of your plumbing, you call a licensed plumber. When you need dental work, you find a reputable, licensed dentist.
But when it comes to fitness/exercise, it is common for people to turn to social media accounts of people with “fitness” bodies that they envy and ask them for advice or plans. Hm.
If someone looks ‘fit’ or strong, they probably put in some hard work, don’t get me wrong. But that does not necessarily mean they will be a good coach or provide appropriate advice for you.
When it comes to fitness and exercise, why are people not seeking out the true professionals? Why is it so common for people to just look to random fitness accounts for advice? Where is the common sense in that?!
While you are searching for your next coach or fitness account to follow, keep in mind these tips and pieces of advice:
1. Do your research.
By educating yourself on what to look for, you are more likely to steer away from the self-proclaimed experts and avoid frustration, disappointment, and possible adverse health effects or injury. A few reputable credentials include CSCS, SFG (Strongfirst), NASM-CPT, and ACSM CPT. These are all from reputable organizations that require demonstration of knowledge to obtain, whether through a practical or written exam.
If you find someone who you think might be a good match for you, look them up. Read his/her bio. Find out what he/she studied or is currently studying. What is his/her background? Does he or she have any sort of credentials? These are great starts in trying to find a fitness professional who will be the right fit for you!
2. Know your goals.
As mentioned in one of my previous posts, goals drive everything. What is it exactly that you are looking to do? Lose weight? Enter a powerlifting competition? Run a marathon? Each of these goals will require a slightly different knowledge base. While many coaches could help prepare you for all of those, it would be wise to find someone with experience or expertise in the area you are interested in for the best match.
3. Money doesn’t buy genetics.
Look, people’s bodies are shaped differently thanks to genetics. Some have genes that allow them have a six-pack without working for it or to put on pounds of muscle quickly, etc.
You could follow a fitness model’s exact plan to the last calorie, and your body would most likely look completely different. That’s the beauty of variability. We are all built to be good at different things, causing us to all look differently.
With that in mind, it is important to realize that when you hire a coach, you are not also buying his/her genes or body type.
Furthermore, when you pick a coach, it is important to determine your true intentions behind this decision. Are you picking this person because you envy his/her body or the way he/she looks? Or are you picking him/her because he/she has a reputable background, extensive knowledge, and seems to be a good fit for you and your goals?
Of course this doesn’t just apply to picking a coach.
This advice also applies to the information or advice you are seeking out or consuming. It may benefit you to audit the information you are consuming and the people you follow on social media. Whether you realize it or not, the people you follow or talk to are influencing your decisions and knowledge. It is vital to ensure that the influences are positive and reliable!