How Fitness Shortcuts Hurt Your Health

January is shortcut month!

Last month, you set some new year’s resolutions. You were thrilled to discover that you could achieve them all EASILY AND FAST in the month of January! Woohoo—what will you do with the rest of your year??!

Of course, I’m referring to the get-lean-quick shakes, the crash diets, and the zero-money-down gym sign-up programs that prey on people like us.

There ARE shortcuts to fitness. But there are also a lot of misleading information out there.

When can a shortcut help us and when does it hurt us? Here’s a four-question test you can take right now to establish if a shortcut can hurt or help

  1. Is it repeatable? Can I keep doing this for a long time, or is it something I will only be able to maintain for a short period of time?
  2. Is it non-harmful? What are the downstream effects on my health?
  3. Is it something I will enjoy?
  4. Can it survive the crowd?

Let’s take a few examples of past fitness trends (and the stuff you’re probably being pitched on your Facebook feed today) and hold them up to our four filters of shortcut validity.

Weight Loss Shakes

  1. Is it repeatable? Can you stay on this diet of shakes forever? No. Are you really going to do this for the next 40 years?
  1. Is it non-harmful? Actually, they’re harmful. Every weight-loss shake uses sweeteners, usually corn derivatives or chemicals. On one hand, you’re brought closer to insulin resistance (diabetes). On the other, you’re ingesting a laboratory experiment. Most shakes also use a combination of appetite suppressants, caffeine and a mild laxative to keep you full and alert. But your body quickly downgrades its energy expenditure to match, and when you go off the shakes, you quickly gain weight—and it’s all fat. Long term, weight-loss shakes make you fatter and sicker.
  1. Is it something I will enjoy? Well, you’ll probably start to hate taking protein shakes instead of eating real food. And every shake you drink is less effective than the one before (see above). You’re getting smaller by starving out your metabolism.
  1. Can it survive the crowd? Sure … except that, eventually, someone will tell you the truth. The only people sharing their huge weight loss from diets or shakes on Facebook are the people who make a commission by signing you up.

Joining A Gym

  1. Is it repeatable? Can I keep doing this for a long time? Yes. You can join a gym and keep going for many years. We think you should do coached fitness, but even a €39.95 access-only gym will benefit you long term (if you show up).
  2. Is it non-harmful? What are the downstream effects on my health? Yes. There probably are no negative effects. Very few people get injured in the gym. When they occur, injuries are usually overuse problems (you bench press every Monday and do leg extensions every Friday) and don’t occur for a few years.
  1. Is it something I will enjoy? Yes. Training with weights has a compounding effect. You enjoy getting stronger, meeting new people, and having more energy due to an increase in metabolism. There is variety, UNLESS you’re sticking to the same old 3-sets-of-8-reps program you did last month. You need constant variety. But in general, running becomes more fun the longer you run, weightlifting becomes more fun the longer you lift, and training at Evolution gets even more exciting over time.
  1. Can it survive the crowd? Does it have to be a secret? Yes. Discount gyms will see a huge influx of new members until March 13 (the average date most new gym-goers give up and quit, except in coaching gyms like Evolution. And you can’t really “fill” a discount gym because their business model is based on members who never show up. We’re the opposite, so we have a membership cap.

Joining a Coaching Gym or Personal Trainer or Nutritionist

  1. Is it repeatable? Can I keep doing this for a long time? Yes. I’ve been doing resistance training for 13 years, and I still love it. Are there downsides? The odd niggle here and there but nothing that puts me out for more than 2 days.
  1. Is it non-harmful? What are the downstream effects on my health? Yes. When a gym works 1:1 with its members to measure progress and set goals, the effects compound, and you don’t waste your time doing stuff that doesn’t work.
  1. Is it something I will enjoy? Yes. Working with a coach is great. The chats are flowing and in a gym with the right community, you will bump into other members along the way.
  1. Can it survive the crowd? Does it have to be a secret? No. Coaching businesses are anti-crowd; because of the 1:1 relationships involved, coaching businesses can’t take 1,000 clients. But maybe that’s OK.

You’re going to get pitched this month week. If you feel like you’re being sold, don’t buy. And if a new super-secret fitness method isn’t sustainable, don’t start it: You’ll probably be moving backward.

We are a coaching gym dedicated to creating success for our members. Check us out at



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