Snake oil and snake oil salesmen have been around for centuries. In the beginning, seedy profiteers were doing everything they could to exploit unsuspecting people by selling fake cures. In fact, snake oil is defined as “a quack remedy” by the Oxford English Dictionary. Younger generations have become accustomed to instant gratification and feedback. Patience continues to fall by the wayside in today’s society. This has created the perfect breeding grounds for snake oil and pyramid schemes in the fitness industry.
Deciphering what supplements will actually help you and what is complete bullshit can be difficult for some. Snake oils and pyramid schemes typically go hand in hand. Where you find one, you’ll usually find the other. Pyramid schemes (or multi-level marketing) success is determined by having to recruit others, who in turn recruit others to sell a service or product. Essentially, you make money off selling others a product that they sell to others.
The fitness industry is chalked full of these scams. I hate criticizing people or companies because I feel it’s a waste of my time and energy. However, my primary goal has always been to help people reach their goals so this blog is completely necessary. I am obligated to step in when I see something unethical or potentially dangerous taking advantage of others. Before I get started, I want everyone to know that I am not attacking anyone reading that is involved in something like this. I hope to open your eyes so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should continue.
I will be combining a lot of products and companies into one to avoid calling them out by name for legal reasons. With that said, specific practices will differ between companies but the main points will be similar across every category.
Products (Snake Oil)
Products are marketed as a revolutionary way to lose a ton of weight in a short period of time. It almost always sounds too good to be true… because it is. People flock to these ideas because our desire to actually work for results continues to diminish. It will usually be accompanied with testimonials from people claiming the product changed their life for the better. It’s not just ONE supplement either. You need to purchase a multitude of products to get the results. Products you are usually asked to take every day for anywhere between 30 to 90 days. Now, these products usually do have vitamins and minerals in them that your body enjoys. They are just extremely overpriced and can be found elsewhere for a fraction of the cost.
For example, I have seen some companies offer a green concoction that claims to help support a healthy lifestyle by giving you fiber and plant derived nutrients (including Vitamins A, C and E). This particular product can cost you anywhere from $30 to $40 for 20 servings. Let’s compare that to an over the counter vitamin you can purchase for $7. This gives you Vitamin A, C, D, E K, plus a lot more. To get the same amount of servings from the all great green concoction, you’d have to buy 7 bottles of the stuff. That comes out to roughly $210! Save your money and buy something more practical like a multivitamin that you could easily purchase from Amazon.
Progress pictures often fool people into believing the hype. These before and after pictures are mostly doctored images or completely fake. You can watch Furious Pete creating an insane before and after shot in 5 hours by clicking here. It’s common practice to take the after picture beforehand and the before picture afterwards. The insane transformation is executed by eating a lot of carbohydrates and consuming carbonated drinks. Giving the body a very bloated and fluffy look for a short period of time. This image is then captured and used to promote supplements they have never even used themselves.
(Taken 5 hours apart.)
Nearly every program says you need to detox or cleanse your body to make the fat loss supplements work properly. This strategy gets people to dump even more money into the company. They claim that it improves nutrient absorption and overall stomach health. The terms “detox” and “cleanse” should be immediate red flags for any company you are interested in. Let me make one thing clear, detoxing is a complete joke. Fortunately, our bodies came equipped with livers and kidneys. They will do all of the cleansing your body needs. These miracle products are usually nothing more than a combination of laxatives and fiber.
As I mentioned before, I got into the fitness world to help as many people as I possibly could. The more I have learned about the industry, the less I care for it. It’s full of scams and crummy individuals who only care about money. There is a reason you have never seen me promoting any miracle products and/or companies. I always do my research and I highly advise you do the same. The bottom line is that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
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