The Real Cost of Free
Free is better, right? Free workout videos on YouTube. Free exercise routines on Pinterest. Free advice given on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, blogs, and the list goes on.
Free is not always better.
There is great free content out there, and I for one put a ton of free stuff out there myself!
I offer a free monthly HIIT membership. I have a YouTube Channel with free access to some of my training videos. I share free advice in the form of social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, the Stop Chasing Skinny Podcast, and my blog. I even offer a free 10 Day Jump Start Program.
WHY I offer free information:
So that you get an idea of what my training style is about and my philosophies. I DON’T want to work with everyone. I want to work with people who are open to learning my style and my way.
I don’t coach people in counting calories. I don’t encourage the “more is better” mentality. I believe in loving your body and I won’t help you self-abuse.
The free information I put out there lets you know these things before we potentially work together.
The real cost and a real problem with “free”:
These free bits are just pieces to the puzzle.
How many people do you personally know who have been successful at reaching their goals by using the Pins they’ve collected on Pinterest? Or by piecing through fitness videos on YouTube? Or from eating what the people they see in their Instagram feed eating? What about the “tips” they read on Facebook and Twitter?
The longer I work in the health and wellness field (I was a nuclear engineer prior to my transition), the more I see the big picture and why some people are successful in reaching their goals and why most fall way short.
The missing link is that we try to piece together things that seem to make sense. Tips we pick up and try to patch together.
I used to do it too, but my patchwork included thousands of magazine clippings with workouts from my favorite fitness models interspersed with their “daily diets”.
I didn’t realize until I hired a coach and had a full program laid out in front of me that I was wasting a ridiculous amount of time and energy thrashing around.
I was putting in 5 times the effort I actually needed to put in!
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
― Oscar Wilde
Back to free and why fitness people put out free content in the first place:
Fact: there are a lot of people out there who genuinely want to share their love of fitness and inspire other people to improve their lives too.
THIS IS AWESOME!!!
Then we have “fitness professionals” who know more about marketing than they do about physique development, strength, and overall health.
If you haven’t read my story about how I experienced severe adrenal fatigue through diet and exercise and gained 50 pounds in 4 months, read it here. You can do some serious damage to your health if you follow the advice of an unqualified person.
I swore when I first made the transition from engineering to fitness that I wouldn’t be one of those fitness professionals who walked around and poked holes in other fitness people’s stories, and I still won’t.
BUT what does upset me in a really big way is the people who position themselves as fitness professionals for the fame of it all. These people don’t really care if the people consuming their stuff actually succeed. The information these people put out is usually convoluted and misleading, but it sounds legit so people buy into it. And you guessed it… most of this information is FREE.
If you haven’t noticed, the bar to entry into the fitness world has never been lower. It’s like being a real estate agent in 2004.
I wrote this post for 3 reasons:
1.) As a warning. I have new clients who are at the end of their rope when they come to me. They have tried what seems to them as “everything”. This everything feeling isn’t too far off because when you are inundated with tips and workouts and articles and information on a regular basis, you probably have tried most approaches.
2.) As a wake-up call. If I wouldn’t have decided to compete in a fitness competition, I would have spent my entire life bouncing from one strategy to another. Never fully reaching my potential. But I wanted to compete and knew I needed a coach to take me to the next level.
I no longer compete in physique competitions, but I learned what REALLY works during my 5+ years of competing and coaching. I apply those principles to my every day life and use them in my coaching programs.
3.) As a message of HOPE. I have heard countless stories of clients coming to me who have been working out 5 or 6 days per week. Eating “healthy”, but never reaching their goals. They chalk it up to their age or the fact that they have had kids. It doesn’t have to be that way. These two clients come to mind immediately when I tell this story: Lesley and Megan. (Click the links to read their stories.)
There is a better way:
Media literacy is a term one of my Stop Chasing Skinny Podcast guests used when talking about what we see on the internet and social media these days.
If you find yourself dizzied from all of the conflicting, yet “science-backed” information out there, go on a media diet. Figure out the 2-3 people who consistently put out valuable information and follow them.
As a fitness professional, you may expect me to read all the new health and fitness information that comes out on a daily basis, follow all the top names, etc. I don’t. I have a few trusted sources and that’s it.
There is no magic bullet. That’s why my online fitness challenge is 12 weeks long and my one-on-one clients must commit to working with me for at least 6 months. I’m not playing the fitness game. I am a professional dedicated to changing lives.
Quality Over Quantity:
If you are wondering where to begin on weeding out the quality information from the junk, there is no better way than comparing it to your own profession. You spend 8+ hours each day in your profession. I’m guessing it is pretty easy for you to size up the information you receive in your field. Now apply that to fitness.
What does someone’s background and qualifications include? If it is just some fit chick who takes great photos of herself on Instagram and has a bazillion followers (followers can be purchased by the way), do you really want to follower her training and nutrition?
Media literacy will go a very long way in improving your life. Did you know our brains have not evolved to the point of being able to distinguish which things are real and which things aren’t? For tens of thousands of years we relied on what we saw with our eyes to survive. It has only been about 100 years since we have been able to see things that are either not real or not real to us. If this fact intrigues you, I highly recommend reading this book on evolutionary psychology.
You are awesome. Stop letting the media tell you that you aren’t. There is no magic bullet. The formula is pretty simple, not to be confused with easy. There is a better way.