We live in a world of instant gratification. We can rent and watch a movie without leaving our couch. Pizza delivered in less than 30 minutes. Have a conversation with someone across the country in the matter of a few clicks of a phone or laptop. We can have almost anything we want within minutes… almost anything. Somehow our society has been fooled into thinking that same convenience can be applied to our health. Commercials constantly filled with miracle creams that facilitate fat loss. Money hungry social media fitspos persuading well-meaning followers to drink detox and skinny teas with promises of dramatic fat loss.

The fitness industry is filled with nothing short of modern-day snake oil salesmen. The only difference is social media has replaced wagons and horses, and the snake oil is now bogus supplement claims. It’s time that we put our feet down and see these scams for what they really are, and begin helping others see why exactly these common fads are not only a waste of money, but potentially downright harmful. This article goes into detail why each of the most popular fitness fads are so bogus, and how the only weight you’ll lose and keep off is from a lighter wallet.


Waist Trainers

More like “waste” trainers, the idea that these modern day corsets have made a comeback in modern day society is truly saddening. Corsets, which is exactly what these “new” waist trainers are, originated sometime in the 1600s. To put that in perspective, these were popular during the same time frame in which the microscope had only just been invented, and egg yolks were thought to be a common ingredient in remedies used for healing wounds…

Original corsets were worn with the intention of improving the appearance of breasts (basically a push up bra), improve posture and slightly narrow the waist in order to help enhance femininity when out and about. They were worn so tightly, the popularity of “fainting couches” grew as women often, literally fainted when removing their corsets once arriving back home. These corsets were indented to essentially hide the fact that women weren’t nearly as shapely as they tried to appear.

Fast forward 400+ years, and slightly dressed up version of corsets are being sold by the hundreds with promises of fat loss and waist trimming without ever having to step foot in a gym. The problem is, this is completely false. In actuality, all it will help you do is look slightly smaller only while you’re wearing it, be terribly uncomfortable out in public, and reveal the same body fat you started with as soon as you take it off.

One popular claim of waist trainers is that they help induce greater fat loss by enhancing thermic activity within the body. So basically stating that wearing it will make you warmer, and a warmer body will expend more calories- creating fat loss. What they don’t tell you is that a warmer environmental temperature has a fraction of a difference in body composition changes.

To help put that into perspective, total daily energy expenditure is broken up into 4 contributing aspects, one of those being (NEAT) or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT is shown to contribute just 15% of total daily energy expenditure. This includes pretty much all activities and contributions outside of structured exercise, including walking the dog, doing the dishes, vacuuming, walking to work- daily, casual activities. All of the daily activities that actually take effort to perform combined only make up around 15% of total daily energy expenditure. Knowing that, how infinitesimal of a difference do you think being just slightly warmer for a few hours each day will make? Exactly, not even enough to be concerned with.

Contributors to Daily Energy Expenditure: [1]

Basal Metabolic Rate 70%
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis 15%
Thermic Effect of Food 10%
Exercise Activity Thermogenesis 5%

The only way to lose waist size is to properly diet and create enough of a caloric deficit that the body is forced to use stored fat as energy. If you prefer to cover it up with tightly worn fabric, it’s a free country. But don’t be disappointed when you have spent $100 or more, and 2 months you’re looking at the same physique once you undress in front of your mirror.


Sweat Creams

Expensive Icy Hot, sweat creams are yet another product cashing in on the sensation of “feeling” rather than facts. The suggested benefit of sweat creams is that it increases the sweat rate during exercise and leads to greater caloric expenditure. If that were the case, you could sit in a sauna and lose fat, which by the way- doesn’t work either. The best way to explain why this is would be to acknowledge that sweating typically correlates to increased work output. Usually if you’re working hard by lifting weights, yard work, hiking- you’re sweating. It’s the physical exertion causing you to expend calories, not the sweat coming off your forehead. Simply being in a hot environment isn’t going to produce any notable fat loss, or else kicking it with your girl friends on the beach could get you ripped.

Additional claimed benefits are improved warm up of muscles and aiding in muscle aches. Although it may help improve your ability to warm up before training, so can wearing enough clothes to the gym in the first place, or spending time actually performing a warm up routine prior to training. As for the temporary relief of muscle aches, this may very well be; but so can a much cheaper Icy Hot purchase found at your local pharmacists.

At upwards of $50 or more per bottle, sweat creams are using “feelings” to sell product. It may feel very productive when we sweat, but in reality we’re just losing body weight from water and electrolytes that will return as soon as we eat and hydrate post-workout. Rather than spending money on products that artificially make you sweat more during workouts, you’re much better off putting focus on exerting more effort in the workout itself.

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