I don’t really watch much TV.
I was in New York travelling for work recently and it was a morning like most of the others on the trip; I’d already been up for a while, done my workout, had some breakfast, and now I was getting ready to head into the office. Normally I wouldn’t be watching TV, in our house with three little boys going off to school and two adults racing to get to work there just isn’t the time or room for distraction, but in a lonely hotel room it helps to fill the void.
As I sat back on the bed to put on my shoes an infomercial came on talking about a “new” training method, combining weight training, resistance training, balance, flexibility and cardio all into a sequence of 45 minute high intensity routines. The infomercial was very exciting, with lots of good looking humans, all smiling, working out and in not a lot of clothes. The celebrity trainer, who I had never heard off, certainly looked fit, had a great pedigree, and the results of his customers were all equally impressive. The ad went on to talk about everything you received if you signed up now; a full nutrition plan, workout routine, explanation of the exercises, set of DVDs with all of the workouts, online resources, etc.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
It all seemed like a great deal. Only two things were off for me:
- The price! It was almost a thousand dollars!
- This wasn’t new - wasn’t this what everyone did anyway?!?
To be honest I didn’t think much more about it at the time. It wasn’t until I saw a different infomercial the next morning that I thought about it again. This ad was much like the first; very exciting, filled with attractive, smiling semi clad sweaty humans. The only difference was that this offer promised all of its results in just 20 minutes! Seriously. Nothing worth much of anything can be achieved in just 20 minutes!
It didn’t matter. Morning after morning and segment after segment there were “new” and “revolutionary” fitness methods and products all promising lifelong transformations each with its own unique angle on the same thing, just as long as you signed up.
I couldn’t help asking myself how we got here. With so much information available on the internet, with such a diversity of exercise and fitness options, and with such an abundance of quality and healthy food options, how was it that everyone is so lost? Why did anyone need to use any of these products and services?
In all of history it has never been harder to stay fit and healthy.
Peruse the internet on the topic of obesity and you’ll quickly find some frightening facts and figures:
- Worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980.
- In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and early 300 million women were obese.
- 35% of adults aged 20 and over were overweight in 2008, and 11% were obese.
- 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
- Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
- More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2011.
- Obesity is preventable.
Source: Obesity Facts & Figures: World Health Organisation Fact sheet N°311
There are lots of drivers to the increases in obesity and the biggest one is food. Like at no other time in history, food is plentiful, cheap and has been rapidly commercialised. It seems like nothing can stop this trend and we no longer really know what is in our food, how it is produced, or what the longer term side effects of its consumption are. Add in availability and increased potion sizes and this issue is dramatically leveraged.
Lifestyles in our societies have also rapidly evolved. Never before has a person had to expend so little energy to function in a day. Everything in our lives is automated – even walking. The average American takes about 5000 steps which is almost half of what the American Heart Association recommends. There are also increasing environmental factors, we are working longer, harder are more sedentary and more stressed and exercising less and less than ever before.
There is nothing less an obesity crisis in today’s western societies and, if you read the published literature, you’ll understand that obesity is a complex, socio-economic, political and cultural problem.
The problem is - I don’t buy that.
Not 100% anyway. I think that ultimately individuals have to take some responsibility for their choices and the consequences of their decisions, but if a person isn’t informed or educated, then I completely believe (and agree) that they are going to struggle. Where there is an information gap, it is only natural that people will hop from one fad to the other, hoping that this diet will work, hoping that this exercise craze will stick. Without the proper knowledge and without an ongoing commitment all these infomercials are really selling is hope.
That is why we have built Guru Athletica.
We aren’t trying to sell the latest (expensive) gadget, workout craze or diet plan, we are trying to arm people with information. Information that is practical, actionable and sets people on a sustainable, realistic and achievable health and wellness journey. We can’t rely on anyone but ourselves to take us on this journey and that is why at Guru Athletica we make you the Guru!