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The Weight Loss & Fitness Testimonial Scam

I was having a laugh with a friend of mine this morning, who was telling me about her son who loves to watch infomercials on TV. He regularly tells his mum that they should buy whatever it is that’s being advertised. (Just goes, to show, it’s pretty powerful stuff!)

Anyhow, it got me to thinking about the piles of weight loss and fitness devices and programs that are advertised on TV and in magazines. It’s very sad, but one the greatest scams infecting the weight loss and fitness industry is that of marketing that employs fraudulent before and after photos. While I like to think that the majority of these are real and above board, it’s important to keep 2 key facts in mind:

1) Before photos will always be made to look as bad as possible – poor lighting, pale skin, sad expression, slouched posture, poor grooming, and unflattering clothes.

2) After photos will always be the opposite – great lighting, professional looking photography, bright, happy expression, a strong, positive posture, great grooming, great bikini or outfit, and often a real or fake tan.

All these factors don’t make the before and after photos fraudulent of course, they’re just portraying things in the best possible light. That’s understandable and it’s to be expected.

But sometimes, people cross the line and actually do delve into the area of outright fraud and deceit. Unfortunately, things aren’t always what they seem with marketing.

That’s why it’s also very important to not place too much credence in testimonials used in weight loss and fitness marketing either. These are almost always highly misleading (even without quite being in the category of fraud), for two reasons.

1) Firstly, everyone is an individual in terms of their physiology and their lifestyle, so when you see a person endorsing a product because of the amazing results they achieved, you have to consider that what works for them won’t necessarily work for you. You’ll also have no idea whatsoever what other changes this person made in her lifestyle that contributed (or was in fact mostly responsible) for her great results.

2) Whenever you take a product or program and make it available to a large group of people, there will always be a handful of individuals who happen to experience extraordinary results. Results that are in no way representative of the typical results that any other woman would achieve. Again, this may be because of their physiology, but most often it’s because they made major changes in many areas of their lifestyle at the time they started using the product or program being promoted. And it’s those changes that are in fact really responsible for their results. How else do you explain individuals who manage to tone up their entire body while praising their newest ab exerciser for their success?

As you can see, testimonial marketing in weight loss and fitness is very powerful and persuasive, but needs to be approached with extreme caution.

Next time you find yourself admiring the abs on an incredible-looking fitness model next to the latest ab exerciser, take a good look at the rest of her as well. You’ll see that she looks great all over – no thanks to the ab exerciser. In fact, I can guarantee you that she got her abs the same way she got the rest of her physique – with hard work in the gym, doing real exercise.

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Fabian Colussi is a women's Bikini and Figure competition coach for natural athletes, certified personal trainer and gym instructor, and women's fitness consultant. He also has a background in martial arts, is an NLP Master Practitioner, and has a certification in Hypnotherapy. Fabian is a co-owner and co-founder of Million Dollar Baby Fitness.

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One Comment

  1. tava
    19 June, 2011

    my sister saved your site for me to come back to. Must say you have some great stuff here. will make sure that I come back to see more


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