Beware the false prophet – Health and exercise gurus

Do you have experts you would recommend? Leave it in the comments below!

Since many of you may set new goals in the new year for health and fitness, I wanted to talk about health and exercise gurus that you may find online. Anyone these days can call themselves anything they want without much consequence. On this blog, I do not claim to be an expert. These are the things we do to keep us healthy. I am also a public health professional and scientist and Tony is a former professional athlete and all but dissertation in two subjects. We both understand the science behind what we do and bring it to you. I will never say we are nutritionists, dietitians, exercise physiologists, or personal trainers. So many people, however, don’t care and will tell you anything to make money. How can you tell the difference? Let me walk you through a few tips. I am not going to name anyone who is doing something unscrupulous because I don’t want to drive traffic to their site. I will mention a few of the good guys. Here is the list:

  • They try to sell you stuff that is “scientifically proven”. I am always leery of this phrase. It’s used to make you think there is science behind what they sell. If there is science behind what they sell, they will show you the actual science. Not some vague graph or vague data. Speaking of showing the science.
  • They will give inaccurate or worthless citations. Check out this reference list below and tell me what you see.


  • These citations are totally worthless. These are essentially news articles that are health-based. When someone is making a scientific argument, they will cite the actual science with a real reference list. There are several types of reference list styles, but it should look something like this:
  1. Larson-Meyer et al. (2006). “Effect of Calorie Restriction With or Without Exercise on Insulin Sensitivity,β-Cell Function, Fat Cell Size, and Ectopic Lipid in Overweight Subjects.” Diabetes Care.
  2. Yassine et al. (2009). “Effects of Exercise and Caloric Restriction on Insulin Resistance and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Older Obese Adults—A Randomized Clinical Trial.” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.
  3. Shah et al. (2009). “Diet and exercise interventions reduce intrahepatic fat content and improve insulin sensitivity in obese older adults.” Obesity (Silver Spring).
  4. Weiss, E. P et al. (2015). Calorie Restriction and Matched Weight Loss From Exercise: Independent and Additive Effects on Glucoregulation and the Incretin System in Overweight Women and Men. Diabetes care.
  5. Johnson, M. L et al (2015). Mechanism by Which Caloric Restriction Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Sedentary Obese Adults. Diabetes.
  6. Frisch S et al. (2009) A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy of carbohydrate-reduced or fat-reduced diets in patients attending a telemedically guided weight loss program. Cardiovasc Diabetol.
  7. Poynten AM et al (2003). Fat oxidation, body composition and insulin sensitivity in diabetic and normoglycaemic obese adults 5 years after weight loss. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord.
  • See the difference. Both reference lists were from actual websites. Which expert would you trust? I’d take the second one over the first.
  • They are selling a bunch of vitamins and shakes. Anyone that is selling you products and spends most of their time recommending stuff that only uses their products, run. That site is a giant sales pitch and does not give one whiff to your actual health.
  • Their health products contain the Quack Miranda warning. Here it is: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” Why use something that isn’t intended to have any effect? ‘Nuff said.
  • They shill workouts that are totally dangerous. Think that workout looks totally fun? A false expert will show you moves that may look fun, but can totally be ineffective or worse, cause injury. One example is using sliders. Sliders are good for core strength, but are also injury factories. If that slider slips, you could end up with a nasty injury. Stick with tried and true basic exercises and learn how to do them well. Then, level up in a safe manner.
  • Their site gives you an uncomfortable feeling. Any advice that seems wrong to you, probably is. Listen to your gut.

Now for a couple of sites that I would recommend:

I hope this helps you find good people to follow for workout and nutrition advice. Got other good ones? Leave it in the comments below!


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