7 min read

Tips to Avoid Health and Nutrition Misinformation

Let’s separate fact from fiction.
Tips to Avoid Health and Nutrition Misinformation
You don’t need us to tell you that people on the internet lie. Equally concerning are people who unknowingly spread misinformation, which unfortunately happens in the fitness industry. Across Google, TikTok, personal websites, and other platforms, misinformation abounds. 
And, thankfully, science is starting to look more closely. One Brazil-based study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that well-known Instagram influencers spread low-quality information about exercise and health to their millions of followers.
Why should you care? Well, for starters, misinformation can slow your progress and even bring it to a complete halt. Additionally, some of this misinformation can lead to serious (even dangerous) consequences. So, how can you protect yourself and ensure that the “facts” you’re digesting are legitimate? Scroll on for a few practical and effective tips to avoid fitness misinformation.

Misinformation and Disinformation

Let’s first differentiate between two terms often used interchangeably: misinformation and disinformation. They sound alike but have unique meanings.
Misinformation is false or out of context, but it doesn’t necessarily have the intention to deceive or mislead. On the other hand, disinformation has the intention of spreading information that’s false.
Be aware that some people and brands out there knowingly deceive you in order to make a buck. And similarly, there are people who simply don’t realize that they’re spreading false information—both are problematic.
Tempo Coach Colby high knee jump while Tempo Coach Cole barbell shoulder presses_10/12BlogHero

Find Credentialed Experts in the Field

People can say or claim anything on the internet, and anyone can sell anything. Lies and misinformation abound. A great way to avoid fitness misinformation and myths is to stick with sources that are trustworthy, knowledgeable, and authoritative.
For example, a new mom might be inspired to start a mommy blog sharing her postpartum fitness journey, which is fine. However, there’s a huge difference between this and a trained professional with years of experience working with pregnant women and new moms. (This is why Tempo’s workouts are led by trainers who are experts in that type of fitness.)
Before taking someone’s word as gospel, look at their education, licensing, credentials, and years of experience. If they have none, or they’re not willing to share these details, it could be a red flag. For fitness professionals, look for people who have a BS or MS in exercise science or a related field. A certification from ACSM, NSCA, or NASM is also nice to have. For nutrition specifically, you should look for an individual with an MS, RD, or LD.
Bear in mind that legally only certain types of professionals are allowed to do certain things. For example, if you’re exercising and think you have an injury, you need to see a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, or other related professional who can officially diagnose and treat you.
Finally, when you’re researching, use search engines like Google strategically: Type in your question or topic and then add in the name of a reputable, science-based organization like “Mayo,” “Cooper Institute,” or “ACSM.” You can also search for “position stand” papers on your desired topics. These papers summarize all the work done on a topic to give you science-backed answers in a few paragraphs.
If you’ve been gaining weight over the last few years, there’s no magic pill or machine that will help you lose all of it in a week. This is nothing but a myth. (Blog 10.12)

Avoid Gimmicks

Social media and TV are jammed with fitness gimmicks that promise quick fixes and overnight results. It’s especially tricky if some of your favorite celebrities are promoting them. Don’t fall for these gimmicks. Think about it: If you’ve been gaining weight over the last few years, there’s no magic pill or machine that will help you lose all of it in a week.
Such gimmicks range from totally ineffective to dangerous. For instance, waist trainers: You can’t “squeeze away” or relocate your fat. However, while they won’t help you in any way, they likely won’t hurt you, either. But, on the other hand, diet pills, extreme detoxes, and juice “cleanses” can legitimately harm your health.
This fitness misinformation needs to be exposed and avoided at all costs.
This even goes for what your favorite celebrities and pro athletes are promoting on social media. They are getting paid to do this! It’s a business transaction. For instance, some of your favorite celebs might swear by detox teas. Drinking water to lose weight? Sounds great! Except (a) it doesn’t work and (b) it can negatively affect your health. First of all, if you lose anything, it’s water weight—not actual fat. Secondly, detox teas can lead to a number of nasty side effects, including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, potassium depletion, abnormal heart rhythm, vomiting, anxiety, and much more. 
That’s not to say that all of these promotions are gimmicks or scams. Some celebrities promote products that they genuinely love. However, bear in mind that with celebrity endorsements, these people have access to resources that most of us don’t. They have professional lighting, photographers, and editors to make their social media photos look flawless. They work with personal trainers and chefs who fine-tune their every move. They have the funds to get whatever aesthetic procedures they want. The results you’re seeing aren’t necessarily due to the product—they’re due to countless other factors that have nothing to do with it.
Gimmicks don’t work. Period.
Tempo Coach Jonathan Dumbbell curls from side_10/12BlogInline2

Do Your Research

A good rule of thumb: Whenever you read fitness information online, respond with, “Prove it.” If someone claims that you can spot train your core and lose fat in that specific area—also called “targeted weight loss” and “spot reduction”—challenge yourself to prove it. This is a simple way to spot misinformation before it causes you any damage.
Side note: You’ll find that targeted weight loss is only a myth.
It pays to be picky when it comes to the sources you listen to. A random blog post written by a mysterious human with no published credentials? Red flag. A peer-reviewed journal article you found through Google Scholar? That’s much better.
Always look at both the source (like the website) and the individual who wrote it. Both should have a proven track record of producing reliable, truthful, high-quality content that’s always based on facts and research.

Set Realistic Expectations

Fitness misinformation will sometimes have you believe that miracles can happen overnight. While that certainly sounds nice, 9 times out of 10, our bodies don’t work that way—nor should they.
Let’s go back to our previous example. For the last two years, let’s say, you’ve had pizza delivered every night, didn’t get a single workout in, and spent most of your evenings binging your favorite Netflix shows—no judgment here! Let’s say you gained 50 pounds. You can’t climb a flight of stairs without feeling winded, you wake up groggy every morning, and you can’t get through the workday without a full pot of coffee.
If you gained 50 pounds over two years, wanting to lose 50 pounds in a month probably isn’t a realistic—or safe—expectation. Putting that kind of pressure on yourself will only result in disappointment and a sense of failure.
No matter what misinformation you read online, remember that more often than not, slow and steady wins the race. You want long-term, sustainable results. A lot of fitness “gurus” online don’t talk about this. They’re not going to say, “Hey, stick with it and in a few months, you’ll start to see real results!” This doesn’t sound nearly as sexy or exciting as, “Reset your body and drop the weight in a week!”
The reality is that truly improving your health and fitness levels requires a long-term commitment.
Tempo Coach Alex Squats_10/12 Blog Inline3

Getting Started with Tempo

Fitness myths and misinformation can range from pesky and annoying to downright dangerous for your health. That’s why we’re committed to helping you shed fat and build strength in a safe, healthy, and sustainable way.
One way Tempo does this is by offering a variety of workouts to meet your individual needs, goals, and interests. But that’s not all. Our coaches are trained experts in their respective fields. For example, all of our prenatal training is led by Head Coach Melissa. Melissa is a prenatal and postnatal specialist certified through Birthfit, Fit for Birth, and Girls Gone Strong. She knows exactly how to help pregnant women stay safe and reach their goals throughout their pregnancies.
Fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for someone else might not work for you, but that’s okay. With the right smart home gym system and coach, you’ll have the customizable workouts and programming you need that make the most sense for you.
Ready to take the next step? We sure are! Check out Tempo’s two smart home gym setups to find the best fit for you. Tempo Studio is our all-in-one solution while Tempo Move is more compact so that you can work hard no matter what type of environment you’re in.


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