Friday, December 7, 2012

Body Wraps, Toxin Removal and More: What I Learned at the Gym Today

I'd much rather be hiking...

It's hard enough starting at a new gym. Generally, I dislike going to gyms, preferring instead to enjoy a long bike ride, a hike or a cross-country ski or snow shoe when weather permits. But living in New England, there are times, like now, when conditions are simply not favorable for either of those activities.

So off to the gym I went, attending my first spin class of the season, at a new gym with a new instructor. And I could barely get through it. No, I am not that out of spin shape—although those cycling muscles certainly needed a workout. Rather, I was feeling my blood pressure rise as I sat through the marketing pitch and endless misinformation by this supposed promoter of health—the spin instructor.

I'm still headachy from it, so in truth, I am blogging to air my annoyance and frustration.

You know me be now—I am not shy to share my opinions, particularly those I feel strongly about. But this was a challenging setting. Jane, I'll call her—no, Barbie better suits her—stood before the class of about 35 cyclists confidently spewing her crap. Misinformation spilled from her mouth with no objection from the group, until I, a newcomer there, just had to speak up. But it was hardly the forum to debate in, and my rebuttals could be endless if I countered every outrageously false claim about weight loss.

No, neither body wraps nor green
powders will remove body fat.
She endorsed a powder she was selling with her personal testimonial about how she believed it really helped her, as it releases the toxins from the body, those horrible things which fester and cause disease. (Toxins, by the way, are released from our bodies every day, with no need for a product to make it happen.) And it gave her natural energy and promotes weight loss. (For the record, calories are the form of energy we get from foods; a product with no calories has no energy, although you may get a short-term boost from stimulants such as caffeine.) Then I heard her endorsement of the body wraps for sale, which essentially shrink your body a size or so overnight! All without dehydrating you! And finally I learned that you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. 300 lbs? That's 150 ounces each day of water, about 5 liters or quarts per day.

So why am I all upset, you ask? Where shall I begin?!

  • because while for me it was simply an irritation (and a big one at that), I know how others will be lured by this misinformation, sold products with false claims, sucked into unhealthy thinking and potentially dangerous supplements; more misinformation makes sensible thoughts a challenge;
  • because she was speaking to a group of completely normal weight individuals, none of whom could afford to lose weight;
  • because no one should be sucking down water or non-caloric beverages instead of eating when they need fuel, simply to mask their hunger;
  • because she's setting people up for failure and unrealistic goals, luring them for her personal financial gain, to buy a product, in the case of the wrap, that at best may contribute to a decrease in hydration for a temporary appearance or short-lived sensation of lightness;
  • because if we each spoke up every time we heard something we know to be false or inaccurate, then maybe we could make a difference!

Yet another gym promotion. Uggh!

There, I feel so much better now. I think I'll go have dinner, now that I can more calmly and peacefully enjoy it.

Thanks for letting me rant!


  1. I love that you need to rant after a session like that. It makes me feel a lot more "normal" as this sort of upset feeling seems to pop up a lot a lot more the farther in recovery I get. The difference between you and me is that I get upset because there is a part of me that is tempted every time I hear false promos and it takes getting upset to keep a straight head. For you, I hear it is because you deeply care about people. A quality that comes through in all your blogs and I deeply admire. Thanks for sharing

  2. You should complain to management at the gym. That is extremely inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour for a fitness professional, and it gives all of us in the industry (I also teach fitness classes) a bad name.

  3. Ugh! Sorry to hear that. Too bad you can't make it to my Zumba class here in St. Paul. Our instructor is pleasantly round and the only pitch she gives is to implore us to enjoy the class!