Fitness is Dying, Performance will Save It

Articles Miscellaneous / 06 December, 2018 /

By Stéphane Aubé

Yes, you read that well, the fitness industry we’re all in is dying. It’s been going in all directions for a couple of years and now it’s just getting disgraceful, disrespectful and losing all its logic. It used to be called health & fitness, now it looks more like drugs, narcissism and self-proclamation. I mean look at it with a step back:

– The industry itself has never made this much money, but there has never been this many people in bad shape in North America.

– There are probably more coaches than real clients nowadays. Everyone self-proclaims themselves as a fitness expert. It’s the only market in the world where clients become instant experts after consuming your product.

I went to school, I was taught by professor. Can I teach math or science to you guys? No way, because even though I know the subject, I do not know the pedagogy to teach it. Something teachers learn for years in order to pass along knowledge.

– Social media lets people expose themselves, not because they have something to say, but because they try to make you believe they have something to show. Coaches advertise themselves on social media so that you can buy their product, it’s an open market.

–  What fucks do you have to give of a simple mind taking 3 pictures 3 a day with a phony motivational message that has absolutely no correlation with the picture of her half naked butt.

Insta coaches are not that guilty, clients need to be more intelligent

I could criticize all insta coaches for their bad influences without roots nor knowledge, but the real responsibility lies with society itself. Fitness has become a reflection of a society that becomes apathetic, idiotic and loses its values. The mantra: try to reach the best in the least amount of time.

Well, that’s human nature you’re going to say. But the problem is that fitness can’t be reached this way except if you have freaky genetics (which only a small percentage of the population actually do have) or take drugs (which a growing percentage of the population are willing to do to get in shape).

The problem lies in the hands of the client, ready to trust anyone that has a week end certification to tell them the secret recipe to get fit. Here’s the scenario:

Julie wants to get in shape. She browses through at a lot of Instagram profiles and feels that she doesn’t look good enough. She needs more glutes, more muscle tone, and she also needs to lose fat…a lot of it. So, she decides to hire Mindy, her ‘’fitness’’ friend who did a bikini contest last year. She must know how to get in shape because she looks in shape.

Mindy gives Julie a hypocaloric diet made up of proteins, no carbs, and some fats here and there. She gives her a program with lots of cardio and weightlifting with a bro split routine. She doesn’t know any other way to train anyway. Julie starts to lose weight, so she then starts to take pictures, show them on Instagram and sells her coach’s talent to everyone.

Then, Julie starts to feel some fatigue, has some problems sleeping, craves food and carbs, loses motivation and finally falls for an epic binge on the week end. Mindy is quick to tell her that she has not respected her diet and that if she wants to get fit, she needs to be more disciplined.

If she wants those rock-hard abs, discipline is key. Julie feels ashamed and she becomes even more strict with her diet. She doubles the cardio time as well.

But after a few weeks, progress stalls again. Julie asks Mindy what she can do? Mindy just wants to help Julie, so she suggests Julie take some clenbuterols so she can lose fat again….and it works!

A couple of months pass, and Julie always finds herself back in the same situation: progress stops, and she still has fat to lose to look like the Instagram profiles she follows. She is desperate, loses motivation, and falls off her diet and clenbuterols.

She gains back double the fat she lost and ends up fatter than she was before beginning the process. This process will affect Julie for months and years to come before she can only think about losing some fat again.

Let’s identify the problem in this situation:

– Mindy just plain sucks at coaching. She’s not experimented and knowledgeable enough to help someone who has a lot of fat to lose. She’s simply applying what worked for her without taking Julie’s actual condition into account. She chooses methods that give quick results and squeezes out the diet even more when progress stalls.

Mindy’s qualifications and experiments are: a fitness contest, a great look, great pictures with lots of filters on Instagram and a great Facebook profile too.  She also wears legging that tone up every ounce of fat she could have.

– Julie is also to blame. Think about it this way, would you ask your friend who had his house built to build yours? I mean, he saw how it’s done, he chose the materials, perhaps he participated in some of the process to a degree, but he clearly doesn’t have the expertise to build your house.

So why ask your friend who got coached for her fitness contest? She saw how it’s done, but she didn’t lead the thing. She doesn’t know how to evaluate when things must be pushed or slowed down.

This case scenario is one in a million and could have been told with different names and characters, but the end results are often the same. Fitness is not something you can get instantly, it’s part of a unique category that needs to be worked in the long run to develop skills and abilities to get there. Much like love, friendship and your career, things that can’t be achieved instantly.

Fitness is like a relationship. You get to know someone who makes you feel good, you find her attractive, you start to do things to get her attention and try to create a relationship with her by developing social skills and cues to get there. You don’t just go to her and say: ‘’Hey honey, I want you so how do we do this??’’…

If that does work, chances are this relationship will not go very far, because it didn’t engage any time, effort and comprehension to reach this. Much like engaging in a fitness transformation too suddenly. ‘’Hi dude, I want to get in shape, how much do you charge, what should I do?’’. Then the coaches answer: ‘’Here’s the program, here’s the diet, give me a hundred bucks and we’re ready to go!’’.

Too much informations

Twenty years ago, going on the internet to search about fitness was pretty deceiving. Aside from a few forums that were running, you really had to find information in…guess what…magazines! Yeah, that piece of paper with some stuff written on it.

That was the only source of information available. But a kind of a structured message was spread. It was easier to get in line and follow it. Now, the internet is flooded with A LOT of information!

The problem is that there is so much good, but also so much bad information that it can be difficult for the public to know what’s good and what’s not. Honestly, nowadays, the job of a coach is not to provide information, but to make sense of it and filter it. Experimented coaches, who have trained many clients and learned and educated themselves through the years will know these things.

But new age coaches will not be able to validate information through experience and knowledge. They will be tempted to try and move on to other ‘’cool’’ things if they do not see the desired results. It becomes trial and error, with no real understanding.

False perceptions

Somewhere along the line, the fitness image took over. I took over quality, performance, health and the people themselves. Today, fitness is a certain bodyweight or a certain look. Do you know that every day, at least 3 of the books in the top 10 on Amazon have to do with the latest buzz diet or celebrity endorsed fitness or nutrition book?

Celebrity trainers can start a career from training a Hollywood star and making them lose a couple of pounds. People will then call this ‘’fit’’?!? Damn, she only got skinnier!! And it’s pretty easy to get someone skinny with a non-existent calories diet. How about their health and…oh ok, sorry, I was got informed that well, we don’t care.

Fitness centers are also good on selling 1-hour workouts with a private coach who will make an hour feel and look like fitness. Better than nothing you will say, but is it making you progress? On the other side, you have this young gun who is ready to make you feel like it’s the last day of your life, pushing through all the intensity methods ever known to man in a single session and beating the hell out of you until you puke and hope to die.

It’s easy to beat someone else’s butt when you get paid for it. After a session like this, you will probably be beaten up for up to a week, but hey, ‘’that was a hell of a workout and I think that I will get fit with this’’. Is it leading you somewhere?  Of course not, because you will never get back to see that psychopath again. It is not sustainable.

Perception of what is good training and nutrition is troubled.

There is a solution

Yes, there is a solution. There is one thing that can save this industry and make sure that this situation is reversed. Performance. Yes, the strength and performance coaches have one thing that insta coaches do not have … the ability to analyze.

Performances are built, practiced, planned, periodized, studied, formulated and deserved. The coaches who teach strength and performance must have knowledge and methods that will make their clients better. The practice of performance is based on the progression of training qualities, not just on the image.

Have you ever asked yourself why athletes look like athletes? … Well, it’s because they are athletes. To be able to perform in their sport at the elite level, they had to acquire these skills through practice and constant progression. They needed to get better.

Develop your fitness, feed yourself to support your efforts, and physical changes will come. Be better and stronger in your squat, be faster on your sprint, master and coordinate your body to develop your potential at its best.

But it’s not just attitude and fitness goals that will make the change. This demand will divide the coaching market so as to put aside those who do not have the necessary knowledge or experience. You can not lie about performance, there’s progress or there is not. It requires of you to be patient.

Performance has a built-in filter for ineffective coaches, modalities, and products. Things can get better, you just got to ask yourself if you want to be good or only want to look good.



Stéphane Aubé

Written by Stéphane Aubé

Stéphane Aubé has worked in the fitness industry for more than 12 years. He works as a trainer and advisor for Hungry For Victory, a company he founded which specializes in nutrition and physical development for athletes of all disciplines. He has wo…