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Two Types of People...

When I started my fitness company, I felt compelled to correct people who said things that weren't true or did things improperly. I offered suggestions on form or movement, I explained the benefits of foods not always seen as healthy and I cautioned against the blind acceptance of supplement marketing claims. Sometimes people paid attention, oftentimes they didn't.

I was upset when people didn't listen and continued doing things that were harmful or a waste of time. I mentioned my frustration to a friend and he gave me some very good advice. Here's what he said.

"Unless a person is doing something that is in violation of gym rules, such as using a piece of equipment in a way other than it is intended, or their actions would bring harm to people nearby, leave them alone. They're not paying for your advice and would likely see you as an annoyance. If they don't ask for help, they probably won't be receptive to your suggestions."

He was right, and for the most part I followed his advice. Until the other day.

I saw a gentleman doing an exercise with a piece of equipment he brought from home. The equipment he brought in had been written up in several studies as having no benefit, with several potentially serious consequences! I decided to break my "no interference" rule and went over to talk to him. I explained the exercise wasn't healthy and could be harmful. I even offered to bring in articles explaining it.

After thinking about it for a minute, the gentleman replied, "My body is different, it works for me. I don't need to see any articles about it." I could barely believe my ears. He actually believed his body was different from every other human on the planet, and that an exercise shown to have no value...would help him!

What did I do wrong? The facts were on my side, but he wasn't even willing to listen. So I went back to my friend and told him what happened.

My friend used to be an engineer, and he told me over the years he encountered two types of people.

  • The first are analytical. These are people who look at the available information, gather together all the facts, and then make a decision. Engineers and scientists tend to fall into this category.

  • The second type of person he called the pre-determined. A pre-determined person would make up their mind, and then look for information to support their conclusions. They ignore anything that disagrees with things as they perceive them. Someone with a pre-determined mind set believes they're being fair and rational, so pointing out fallacies in their beliefs only makes them more stubborn.

The gentleman I spoke with in the gym was a pre-determined. He had seen an advertisement for that piece of exercise equipment, and he so much wanted it to work, that he only sought out articles describing how wonderful it was. Anything that interfered with his pre-determined point of view he simply ignored or filtered out.

So why am I telling you this?

Look at your own efforts to get fit. Are you following the latest fad diet, popping some pill or trying a two minute workout believing that's all you need to do to get in shape? Today the amount of information at people's fingertips is astonishing. Within seconds we can lookup a product and have thousands of pages of information appear. Unfortunately the quality of that information is highly suspect.

Don't become a pre-determined and automatically believe what fitness companies are trying to sell you. Step back and look for studies from medically sound, reliable sources. If the only reviews you can find are from the company that made the product or people selling it, there might be a problem.

One of the sites I start my searches with is www.USA.gov. Click on the tab that says Health Insurance, Nutrition and Food Safety. There you'll find a wealth of information from Food and Drug safety to Workplace Health. It's free and the information is trustworthy.
Use the government websites to help find out the truth behind that diet, supplement, or exercise program you're considering. Then, don't buy anything that hasn't been tested and proven effective by an independent organization.

Remember, it's your money and your health. Spend your cash and time getting ripped, not ripped off!

Click here for supplement reviews written by WeBeFit that you can trust. We don't sell them, so the reviews are completely impartial.

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8/19/2004
Updated 3/29/2007
Updated 6/30/2014