Marketing Words and half truths

December 12, 2012 — 13 Comments

 I think anything you like to do is good-but you should still actually strength train.

“This total body workout serves to strengthen, lengthen, and stretch the body from top to bottom, from inside out. The end result is a long and lean physique… without added bulk.”

This type of misleading statement is common place in the fitness world. As an owner of a training business it is really hard to stop myself from using words that play on the insecurities and emotions of potential clients. And by potential clients I mean ladies. Group class settings like pilates studios, yoga studios, outdoor bootcamps and kettlebell studios are predominately ladies. Why is this? While I’m sure there are a number of reasons, perhaps the biggest is that ladies are smart enough to know they need instruction whereas guys aren’t that smart. So this brings us back to the initial quote: “This total body workout serves to strengthen, lengthen, and stretch the body from top to bottom, from inside out. The end result is a long and lean physique… without added bulk.” That quote comes from a popular franchise aimed at women. The program itself is not bad, per se, but I find the marketing to be bordering on dishonest and well past predatory. Let’s take a look at this finely crafted phrase that preys on ladies’ insecurities…

“this total body workout serves to….

  1. Strengthen. This program is a pilates/dance hybrid, and incorporates small pink dumbbells, some small medicine balls, and a ballet bar. These tools can and will serve to strengthen people who are not strong, aka weak, which is most of our population. However, it will eventually stop helping you get stronger because it is limited in the amount of overload it places on your body…small pink dumbbells get light quickly. So you will want to actually strength train by lifting something heavy, in appropriate for you ways. Getting stronger is important for many reasons, the most important being that higher levels of strength make you more injury resilient, and allow you to “do more stuff”. You can think of it like this: the amount of stuff that you can do in life is directly proportional to how strong you are. The stronger you are, the more you can do. And remember, your travel luggage and children weigh much more than tiny pink dumbbells weigh.
  2. Lengthen. This program, and most other programs aimed at ladies uses the term “lengthen” to describe what will happen to your muscles after going through one of their programs. I, and any other honest fitness program, will not tell you that you will “lengthen” anything. To achieve that I would need a device like the one in the picture below.


    You simply CANNOT make a muscle longer because it has attachments to bones and those attachments do not move. Some of us have longer muscles than others, and most of us could stand to lose some fat. The really cool thing is….you CAN build muscle, and lose fat…which makes your body leaner (note I said your body, and not your muscles. Your muscles are lean…so if someone tells you you’re going to “build long lean muscles”, ask them why they are lying and being redundant). In fact, having more muscles makes burning fat EASIER! (We don’t all need to be skinny, but some of us have aspirations to be fit and healthy, and more often than not that means losing some bodyfat).

  3. Stretch the body from top to bottom. Speaking in generalities, ladies don’t need to be much more flexible. Ladies’ biology tends to allow more elasticity naturally. However, most ladies could use more strength, and probably muscle as well. Often times a lack of flexibility is actually a lack of stability in the body…let me explain. Our bodies must demonstrate stability for us to function in day to day activities, normally we have a number of muscles (lets call them inner core stabilizers) which serve to provide stability during our days without us needing to think about it, unfortunately our modern lifestyles and habits tend to result in the inhibition or poor performance of those inner core stabilizers, so our body still needing stabilization will ask our other external muscles to provide stability which results in tightness and limited movement. So if we stretch the muscles that are now giving us our stability, where do we get our stability? We don’t, we get hurt. That is one reason why stretching is not necessarily a good thing.
  4. From inside out. I think this is some sort of play on inner strength, length, and stretchiness? I’m not sure, so I’ll leave it alone.
  5. The end result is a long and lean physique….without added bulk. Ahhhhh, yes, I personally love the idea that lifting weights heavier than 3lbs will turn women into the incredible hulk. Here is my response to that: It won’t. You are a lady, you do not have ample amounts of testosterone. You are probably not in the 1% of the population where piling on slabs of muscle comes easily. Those big buff ladies you are scared of becoming….they take steroids. They also eat A LOT of food trying to gain weight. So, don’t take steroids and eat sensibly, and you won’t get bulky. And I know you are scared of getting bulky, and that’s fine…just know that professional athletes, bodybuilders, gymnasts, and anyone else you consider bulky developed their bodies through YEARS of hard work and effort.

So that’s why I, as a fitness business owner, will not use those words from above to sell my services. Instead, on my website I use these words

BOOTYCAMPS are semi private group sessions that work the entire body but emphasize one particular goal…firmer, rounder butts! The BA BOOTYCAMP is specifically designed to help you develop the most wonderful muscles in the body, the glutes. The glutes aren’t just about aesthetics though! They are one of the most important performance muscles in the body, for athletic endeavors, and overall knee, hip and back health. BOOTYCAMP utilizes bodyweight drills, kettlebells, and sandbags to help YOU achieve YOUR goals.”

I chose my words purposefully, and honestly. I said develop the glutes because everyone will see slightly different results-some glutes are rounder & some are stronger…we will figure out what works best for the individual and do that. I said “YOU achieve YOUR goals” because we each have different goals, and I will help you determine realistic and obtainable goals for you then help you reach those goals.

On my flyer I say “build muscle, lose fat, get hotter. Get strong, feel better, and be athletic” If you build muscle and lose fat, you will get hotter. If you get strong you will feel better. If you ‘be athletic’ you will have fun moving that way. I also say get hotter because you will also gain confidence because you will gain abilities, and confidence is always sexy. I personally think looking “better” (however you define that) is a fine goal to have, but I ALWAYS want other things such as getting stronger or moving better as part of my clients’ goals.

Everything works until it doesn’t. If things have stopped working for you, maybe it’s time to try something else. Something more tailored to you as an individual. Something that changes when needed. Something that will make you actually strong. If you’re in San Diego, I have that something for you.

 I think anything you like to do is good-but you should still actually strength train.

13 responses to Marketing Words and half truths


    Where can I get that device in the picture?


    That’s why I only talk about “lengthening” when I market to men…

    [And yeah, as a person who markets a fitness business, most fitness marketing is pretty disgusting.]


    I recently ranted to someone on the exact same topic of “lengthening” and referenced that exact same torture device!


    I recently ranted to some in a conversation about “lengthening” and referenced the same exact torture device.


    Great blog Clifton, having lot’s of fun here!

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