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3/25/2013 10:47:13 PM -
Back + Industry Rant

Dr. Mehmet Oz is an interesting guy. Yes, we’ve all at least heard about his show, and he’s become a running joke in the fitness industry because he doesn’t exactly look the part of someone any of us want to be listening to, but guess what? He’s a cardiothoracic surgeon, and a very good one. He’s a professor at an Ivy League medical school, and he’s the director of a department at a major hospital in New York.

In other words, the guy actually has some credentials.

But still, people constantly bring up his name when they want to refer to people who have no idea what they’re talking about. You know what, though? I don’t agree with everything Dr. Oz has to say, but if he told me there was something he thought I needed to do for my health, I’d be more than willing to hear him out.

Why? Because the guy actually has some credentials.

Here’s the thing about the fitness industry: It’s the only business I’ve ever seen where you can have absolutely zero connection to the industry itself, yet still be considered an authority, even by people who are actually in the business. You know exactly what I’m talking about here: The legions of internet gurus and fugazi trainers who are, at least to outsiders, synonymous with nutrition and fitness nowadays.

Some of these guys have never even had a client, and most of them can’t train for shit. I know one in particular who’s desperately trying to climb the ladder—and is in tight with the rest of the gurus if you check Twitter and Facebook—who can’t even bench press his own bodyweight. How do I know? Because, although I’ll give him credit for actually coming to the gym with me—ostensibly to teach him how to train (not naming names here, but if you know me, you know exactly who I’m talking about)—I was there, and I saw the stapling.

The point I’m trying to make here is that these people are being enabled. If you’re looking at this site, you’re likely too sophisticated to fall for a lot of bullshit, so I’m not saying you’re an enabler. It’s the world outside of this sphere that’s doing it. The reason I brought up Dr. Oz is because of the dichotomy that occurs when the media are looking for authorities on any given subject.

If a news program was looking for someone to come on and talk about issues in cardiothoracic surgery, they’d call Dr. Oz, because he’s qualified. When they’re looking for information about the economy, they call an economist who’s worked for the Federal Reserve, or maybe a Harvard professor. When they’re looking for information on fitness, however, they seem all too willing to call Johnny Internet Douche, because he’s the guy with the flashiest website who makes the most noise about what an authority he is—despite the fact that he’s never trained anyone and spends his entire day on the computer trying to sell shit to people instead of actually getting his ass in shape.

Like I’ve said here before, I have no issue with anyone trying to make money. Shit, do that any way you can. The economy still sucks for most people, so far be it from me to tell anyone how to get some cash coming in. The problem, however, is when established people start lending credibility to “authorities” with no authority.

A guy I know posted a photo on Facebook the other day from some kind of NSCA conference. It was a photo of five or six well-known internet fitness gurus, along with one guy—a guy I know personally—who owns a gym and actually trains people. This burned my ass a little, because here’s this certifying organization that’s running the biggest scam going—if you want a job, you have to get certified by them, but nobody listens to a word they say, and they’re completely irrelevant to most of us—and they’re bringing in people to speak to their trainers who don’t even train clients.

If someone wants to explain this shit to me, I’d love to know why it happens. You wouldn’t see this happen in any other industry. When the New York State Bar Association has conferences for attorneys, I don’t think you’ll see them bringing in dudes who write blogs about the law from their mom’s basement to explain to lawyers how to do their jobs. And you especially wouldn’t see anyone in the media letting this guy give legal advice to the general public.

But with fitness, it’s different.

Listen, if you can write some piece of shit eBook and sell it, or provide “distance coaching” to people who don’t know that you can’t even do a pushup, more power to you. It’s when these types of guys get validation from people who should know better that bothers me, because that’s when bullshit information starts going out to people who don’t know any better—and you won’t see this happening on such a bizarre scale anywhere else but in this business.

I guess this bothers me because I’m not a fan of these guys who didn’t play any sports or do anything in high school or college, then suddenly started lifting weights when they were 25—at which point they figured the fitness industry was a good market in which to make an easy buck. Meanwhile, today, there are kids just like we used to be, with sets of weight in their basements, playing Pop Warner football, going online and reading this bullshit like these guys are authorities on anything.

I take that seriously, because I was one of those kids, buying magazines and cutting programs out of them because I thought that was the way to get bigger and stronger for sports. Maybe it worked, and maybe it didn’t, but it was different back then because I don’t think the people putting out the information thought it was absolute bullshit. Today, it’s different. You’ve got dozens and dozens of people with no experience under the bar coming out with “information” I wouldn’t even line a birdcage with.

So, long story short, I’ve never even watched the Dr. Oz show. I don’t know when it’s on, and I don’t give a crap, but at least the guy has something to show for his life. We can’t say the same about half the “authorities” out there.

Angry Coach

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