Updated: Oct 3, 2020
As anyone with an interest in health & fitness, my social feeds are full of health experts, trainers and nutritionists doing their stuff on social media (and of course the obligatory dogs of Instagram). More often than not, I flick through, take a look and move on.
However, it wasn't until I saw a post a few weeks ago on my FB feed that had me shouting out loud . . .
But it seemed, from the comments below the post, I was the only one thinking it! Had the trainer in question, who had no fitness or nutritional qualifications, devised such a unique, world-first fat loss plan which the state of the art Sport & Exercise Science community had simply never seen before (you may detect a hint of sarcasm)? See what you think.
The post included:
A shout out to a 'fantastic client who worked super hard the last 2 weeks.'
-Brilliant, I'm all for clients smashing each session and getting nutrition on point.
'Had dropped 2kgs'
-Wicked result, roughly a 2.2lbs per week loss which is textbook on a weight loss journey.
'And 4% body fat.'
If I've learnt anything from the past 15 years running a personal training business, it's that whatever you do with your clients, must be scientifically backed (apart from the general chit chat that gets brought up to buy them a little more rest between killer sets!).
I take issue with false advertising and dangerous practice to sell a trainer's services. To be honest, being an old man, I take issue with quite a lot nowadays, but no trainer is using poor driving standards on a motorway to sell their services.
A 2kg weight loss in 2 weeks is more than possible and safe, however, to link that with a 4% drop in body fat in the same person would mean that either:
a) the person in question was grossly overweight, meaning that 2kgs wouldn't be enough to result in a 4% drop, or
b) the person was dangerously underweight to start with, meaning the fat loss would push them into very unsafe territories.
I don't want to take anything away from the client in question - they obviously worked bloody hard and were dedicated, but were let down by the knowledge of their trainer.
Body fat is incredibly tough to monitor without the correct tools. Dexa (DXA) scans are the most accurate of any testing techniques and can break down fat percentages, bone density and muscle percentages limb by limb. However, these machines are about as rare as an MP telling the truth and answering a direct question.
Off the shelf bioimpedance analysis machines have serious floors, especially when the current is passed from foot to foot (some scales have these) or hand to hand (handheld fat analysis machines) as you'll know from your school physics lessons that an electrical signal travels the shortest distance, therefore not running through the whole body. These can be found on all £10 scales from china and surprise surprise, they're not that accurate!
Lastly, body-fat callipers are often used - think of these as something that grabs your fat and pinches you. I have used them myself, however, unless used by well-trained experts, results can vary wildly.
I'd suggest the trainer in question failed to carry out the correct technique when testing and re-testing their client, which they should have easily picked up on with the result they got, or, they simply lied to post better results - 'People lying on social media' I hear you cry - Shock!
So, why do I want people to question everything they see and why do I call these fitness trainers 'Daily Mail trainers'? Check out the link below.
Is your trainer a 'Daily Mial Trainer' or a Science-Backed Trainer?
The amazing Daily Mail (or the Gospel as I like to call it) suggests you can lose 5% body fat in 10 days. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3282504/How-lose-5-body-fat-10-days-Drink-ginseng-tea-lift-heavy-weights-DON-T-bother-cardio-says-personal-trainer.html
The rest of the scientifically backed community suggest 0.25%-1% maximum a week and suggest that 1% per month is safe.
The American Council on Exercise
The science lead Livestrong.com said this on safe fat loss
And finally Richard Weil, MEd, CDE had this to say
Pick your health experts carefully. Some are either putting your health at serious risk or just talking plain bullshit.
Rob Elford has been a Personal Trainer & Sports Therapist for over 15 years working with both Private and Corporate clients from across the world, both in-person and remotely.
He has worked with clients from every background with very differing demands, from international athletes from a wide range of sports including motor racing, Polo, Tennis, Dressage to London based FinTech businesses running their complete Wellness Schemes to mums and dads that just want to feel fitter and healthier.
Why not see what clients really think of Rob?
Watch his clients being interviewed here?