Who’s Your Guru?

By Michael Applebaum, MD, JD, FCLM

This past week, I received a number of inquiries about a series of workouts that appeared on one of the Big 4 broadcast television networks.

In the segments, “The (insert name of program) fitness expert” was demonstrating how in only 5 minutes per day, by following the offered routine, one can lose fat and get fit.

This expert is only partially correct.  Following the routine will not get you “F-I-T”.  It will actually get you only the “I-T” preceded by two different letters, one of which is an “S.”

In answer to the inquiries, “After viewing the broadcasts of 4 of the 5 segments and reading about all of the routines on the show’s Website, in my opinion, the advice is worse than worthless.  It is harmful.  Why?  You will not only be harmed through wasted time and effort, you will also be harmed from being mislead into believing that any of that tripe works.  Those are my opinions.  Thank you for asking.”

A brief digression.  I am glad to have been asked to evaluate this material.  For years I’d wondered, “Why do clouds manufacture toilet paper?”  Advertisements for White Cloud brand toilet paper showed industrious clouds producing TP.  If from clouds feces fell, then they would need toilet paper.  I get that, assuming clouds were hygienic and wanted to remain clean.  But that does not explain why we have such weenie windshield wipers.  I mean, if clouds precipitated solid waste wouldn’t we need stronger windshield wipers?  Not to mention fortified umbrellas.  Or why the air smells fresh after a rainfall.  So clouds must not storm stool.  Then why do they make the stuff?  Responding to these queries provided the answer.  Clouds need to manufacture toilet paper to clean themselves of all the crap we send up via the air waves in the broadcast band.  They just sell us their overstock.

This was not the first time I have been requested to render an opinion about the fitness-related trash provided courtesy of the media outlets.  To help people determine on their own if the information they are receiving is useless or worse, I am suggesting the following guidelines.  By the way, the following lists are non-exhaustive.

1. Ask yourself, “Who’s your ‘guru’?  If the answer is:

  You should think twice or more about following the “guru.”

  2. Ask yourself, “What is the product?  If the answer is:  

  You should think twice or more about purchasing the product.

  3. Ask yourself, “What is the claim?  If the answer is:

  You should think twice or more about believing the claim.

 I hope that these suggestions will be helpful to you.  Good luck.