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  • Derrick Woods

The Exercise Industrial Complex

Have you fallen prey to the Exercise industrial complex? I am going to start by saying that if you have a specific fitness goal like building more muscle (aka body building), then there is nothing intrinsically wrong with your goal. If that is what you want then you should go for it. If you want to body-build, then do it and be happy. If cross-fit is your thing, then cross-fit away. I never want to make it seem like your individual goal or desire is bad. (I just want to point out that there are risks involved... And, if you disagree, you might be caught in the exercise industrial complex.)


Have you ever thought about the draw backs to your fitness goal? What is this going to cost you? You're probably wondering, "what do you mean draw backs? Cost me?? OK then, let's take a look at bodybuilding. Ronnie Coleman, a famous bodybuilder, had two hip replacements and multiple back injuries. Flex Wheeler, amputee, lost a leg. Dorian Yates, torn tricep and called it a blessing because it forced him to think about longevity. If these types of injuries happen to famous athletes, athletes who train most of their life for this, then what can and most likely will happen to you?


Take a quick look at cross-fit. Robert Hayden, a Georgia chiropractor and spoke person for the American Chiropractor Association said this about cross-fit "If you have a preexisting condition—an old ACL tear, tendon damage, or a slipped disk—this kind of exercise will bring it to the surface.” These kind of injuries are normative in bodybuilding and cross-fit: knee, back, neck, shoulder, etc. I realize that most people don't think of themselves as bodybuilders or cross-fitters, but it certainly covers most of the ways people exercise. You do split squats? That's a bodybuilding exercise. You in a boot-camp? That is cross-fit without the Olympic lifts. Most gym based exercises have their roots in bodybuilding. And, cross-fit is just HIIT ( High intensity interval training) with heavy weights.


Not to mention, gyms. They want to get you fast results and basically unsustainable success, so that you emotionally buy into what they are selling. Then when it stops working, you start to blame yourself for not being as strict on said diet or exercise plan as you should. Instead of simply realizing it was a flawed plan to begin with. So here is what I am saying. Don't make an emotional decision like "they" try to get you to make. Make a decision that you know will foster long term sustainable success with your fitness goals.


The Exercise Industrial Complex or EIC, is something that all the fitness influencers play a key roll in. Mainly because of where we, everyday people, go for our exercise knowledge. We do not consult doctors or scientist, but rather the most ripped person with the most Instagram followers. There are 180 million #fitness uses a day on Instagram, That is 180 million post a day putting forth an unscientific and highly monetized version of fitness for daily consumption. To make things more ironic, most of these influencers don't even have the credentials to work at the local gym. What gets them the audience they have is that they have achieved the image put forth by both society as formed by the diet and exercise industry. It has nothing to do with education, expertise, or training. It's simply because they understand how the muscles work in dissection. Although, if you've been paying attention to my previous posts, then you know that our bodies are all about integration. We work, move, walk, run, and jump as a unit, as one body working together, and it's this dissected view of exercise that is causing so many imbalances and injuries.


Workouts aren't the only part of the Exercise industrial complex. You also have the diet gurus who push whatever diet is going to make you lose weight fast. You've seen them. Lose a pound a day, lose 10 pounds in 3 days, take this pill to burn belly fat, lose weight feel great, etc. Any quick weight loss scheme is exactly that, a scheme. Let's start with what most of these fad diets actually are, simple caloric restriction. No carbs, keto, low carb, do all work because you cut out a WHOLE food group. Therefore, you eat less calories. On top of that, it has been shown that fat and protein make you feel full longer. Therefore, you eat less. Diet pills are just as simple, nothing special or magical. They are usually stimulants that curb hunger, or in keto pills beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB.


What to do with all this? The Exercise Industrial Complex is not designed to actually make you fit but instead to sell you on fitness. A type of fitness that is although aesthetically pleasing, it's physically damaging. The holidays are coming and the EIC will be in full swing to earn money for the end of the year before the New Year cash grab and the cycle will start over. What can you do to make sure you don't fall prey to the EIC? Here are a few things I recommend. First don't train muscles, train your lines so you don't just get stronger but better. Second don't make emotional decisions about gyms or trainers, make informed decisions. Third follow some people on Instagram who actually have degrees in physical therapy, exercise science, kinesiology, even manual therapy. They actually have a better understanding of how the body works and not just what muscles can do. Lastly no lose weight quick schemes, in the end it does more harm than good. Until next time keep it RAW







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