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America Has a Multi-Billion Dollar Fitness Industry... And We're Still the Most Obese Country

Updated on August 18, 2012

It Doesn't Add Up...

America hosts a tremendous multi-billion dollar fitness industry, advertising everything from supplements and gyms to exercise programs and equipment. You cannot turn on the television without being reminded of how massive the industry has become. But hey, I get it: people want to be fit and look good, so there's obviously a huge market for products that make you fit. There's only one problem. According to the NY Daily News, America is the fattest nation in 2012. And studies show that America has been near the top of that particular list for the past 50 years. Are you starting to see the dilemma? If we're spending so much money on fitness products, then why aren't we fit?

I think the first morsel of information we can glean from this discussion is that buying fitness products does not necessarily translate into being fit. How many times have you walking into someone's house and seen a treadmill, elliptical, Bowflex, or Total Gym, and had difficulty recognizing it due to the mass amounts of clothes hanging off of it. No wonder there's practically no market for clothes hangers anymore. I think it's safe to say that if the piece of equipment in question is lavished with an extensive wardrobe, then the machine is probably not being used to it's full potential. It's possible that there's a direct correlation between how many clothes are on the treadmill, and the size of the clothes. The point I'm trying to make is that it doesn't appear that America is merely spending a ton of money on fitness products, it appears that we're wasting a ton of money on fitness products.

I don't want to jump to the conclusion that exercise equipment is useless. I don't believe that. I think most equipment, as a rule, has the potential to change a person's body and health. But simply owning fitness products doesn't help you; you have to actually use the equipment itself to see results. So what we have is a broader implication than just owning something. As soon as a person is called to action, it's implied that there's a change in the person. That's right, you've got to find motivation before you can ever expect to see action. Basically, fitness is a lifestyle. It's got to be a priority, otherwise it will never happen. I think the people that actually look fit probably see their fitness as something more than just an object to hang clothes on.

Having said that, I think the success rate for getting fit is very low. Even the people that try to get in shape either make progress at first, but then backslide, or never see any results at all. It's a situation where 20 percent of the people are getting 80 percent of the results, while 80 percent of the people are getting 20 percent of the results. Those are pretty bad numbers for the amount of money we shell out trying to get in shape. Without a doubt, there's a huge discrepancy between what we spend and the results we see. If you get what you pay for, America should be sexy, not obese.

But remember, we're not going to blame the equipment; that just gives people the excuse to be fat. I think a large portion of the problem lies with laziness. If you say you're gonna buy a piece of exercise equipment, put your money where your mouth is and buy it. But after you buy it, put your wallet away, shut your mouth and workout. It's that simple.

Now if you're angry that I haven't portrayed the fitness industry as a bunch of lousy scum bags that are just out to rip you off, be appeased for I am about to do so. Okay, they're not that bad. There's actually some good products out there that I highly endorse. But what's just as important as the quality of what you purchase, is the quality of your workout with your purchase. Let us refer back to the treadmill that would make any walk-in closet jealous. Now the owner of that treadmill has probably been skinnier. But who's to blame? The fitness industry, because they sold him a standard piece of exercise equipment? Or the buyer, who purchased it and then proceeded to hang clothes on it for four years? You're right, the buyer! Do you see how ludicrous it is to blame the fitness industry in this scenario? But that's not the only situation we have. There's a lot of sincerely motivated people out there that really do get scammed into buying exercise equipment that's practically useless. Take the mother of two trying to lose some baby weight after a couple pregnancies. She sees an advertisement for the "ab blaster 8000" and orders it because the fit-looking woman on tv said it would get her skinny again. This genuinely motivated young mom works out hard, loses a few pounds in a few weeks, but then there's no more success. She's no where near her goal and is not losing any more weight. What's wrong? A lot of people can probably relate to the scenario I just gave, and there's a reason for that. People tend to have the wrong ideas about fitness. Read on, and let's try to change this misconception one person at a time.

Solving the Problem

The problem is that people buy products that tell them what they want to hear. It's nice to hear that you can lose 12 pounds in 2 days. But what most people don't realize is that that weight isn't fat, it's water weight; and you're just as fat as ever after 2 days. People want to hear that 15 minutes 3 times a week with the "ab-compressor" will get them that slim, sexy body. Or that all you have to do is strap on this "ab belt" and watch the fat melt away while your're working your new, rock hard abs. People buy these products, not because they work, but because the commercials for these things tickle the ears of the consumers. Remember what I said before about fitness being a lifestyle? Well people don't want to hear that. They want to hear that they don't have to change a thing; that they can eat garbage and strap on an "ab belt" for 15 minutes a day and still look fit and sexy. They don't want to hear that fitness is a lifestyle, they want to hear that fitness is a machine or a piece of equipment, or that it's a fad diet that tells you how to eat whatever you want, and you'll still lose weight. If America is ever going to break this obese cycle, we must free ourselves from this faulty view on fitness and how it's attained. There is no quick-fix for being over weight. You must discipline yourself to learn how to eat and exercise properly, and then don't give up. Ignore the hype about losing weight in record time, and stay focused on your lifestyle. You didn't gain this weight in 2 weeks, and neither will you lose it in 2 weeks. We must find a balance between blaming ourselves for being lazy, and blaming the fitness industry for advertising useless products. If you want to find a product that actually works, think about how the commercial promotes fitness. Does the commercial tell you that it can be achieved by buying this product and using it just a little bit? Or does the commercial promote a lifestyle change as the real difference-maker? For this reason, I'm a big fan of most of the exercise programs, because they typically promote fitness as a way of life, not a quick-fix for flabby thighs. To the left I've posted some programs that hold to the proper view of exercise and fitness, and don't rely on useless machines or equipment scams. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle and any product that would lead you to believe other wise is a scam.


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