In the past few years, the internet has been bombarded with these health and fitness guides that have been designed by ‘health gurus’ who possess the so called ‘perfect bod’.
Currently, Australia is in the middle of an obesity epidemic. Statistics show that two-in-three adults and one-in-four children are overweight or obese. Surely these fitness guides must be a positive for society. They are helping some people turn their lives around or at least assist them in losing a few kilos, right?
Maybe not, and here is why.
Qualifications (Or Lack Thereof)
It seems crazy to take medical advice from someone without a degree in medicine, doesn’t it? Yet so many people are taking instructions from these guides even though the creators lack relevant and necessary qualifications.
Renowned for her large and perky backside and lavish lifestyle, Tammy Hembrow is a great example of this.
On her website, she promotes herself as being a ‘proud mother, entrepreneur, brand ambassador and fitness mentor.’ Due to popular demand she designed the Build a Booty program. Tammy has no certificates or degrees in fitness or nutrition, thus self-proclaiming as a fitness mentor. With over 8.1million Instagram users following her account (and her workouts and supplement routine), this is concerning.
Another similar case is Kayla Itsines; a personal trainer who claims she has ‘educated and supported millions of women.’ Known for her Bikini Body 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide, Itsines provides users with both exercise and eating plans. Although she is a personal trainer, she does not possess training in either nutrition or dietetics. Rather, Itsines bases her recommended diet on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – a simple pictured pie chart which anyone can interpret and adopt.
With Build a Booty costing $49.99 and the Bikini Body Guide $119.97, it makes little sense that people are happy to fork out money in hope these guides will better their health, while 3.5 million Australian’s fail to even visit a doctor for a yearly check-up.
All of these workout guides come with the option of a food guide add on. These guides recommend eating only ‘clean’ foods – white meat and eggs, lots of vegetables and non-starchy carbohydrates.
As healthy as these recipes appear, the unhealthy reality is that these guides are based upon approximately 1,600 calories per day. Nutrition Australia recommends the average adult woman consumes 2,000 calories per day – and this is just for average daily life, not women who participate in weight training.
In a Youtube video, Tammy mentions that she consumes 1,600 calories per day when she is aiming to ‘cut’ or lose weight. However, for someone who is average height, 23 years of age and is extremely active, she should be consuming around 2,500 calories daily.
One of the Itsines food guides comprises of a green smoothie for breakfast, pear for morning tea, two chicken rice paper wraps for lunch, coffee for afternoon tea and a salmon salad for dinner – equating to just over 1,300 calories for the day.
These guides are promoting, recommending and encouraging women to eat a minimum of 400 calories under the recommended calorie intake. There are many potential health problems related to following a calorie deficit diet. The main problem is that it can cause deficiencies in vital vitamins, nutrients and minerals. This can result in deficiencies, fatigue, reduction in fertility, brittle bones and a weakened immune system.
These eating guides are not sustainable, nor are they healthy, especially when used in conjunction with an exercise guide that pushes your body to the limits.
One Size Fits All
Whenever people receive health advice from a medical professional, it is based on their particular body and requirements. It is personalised for them, not to society’s perceived average body.
However, these guides are more of a one size fits all stereotype. The exercises do not provide alternative options for people who may have a particular injury, thereby pushing them to complete the workout despite the damage it may be causing.
This is the same story with the nutrition guides. They do not take into consideration that different body shapes require a different macronutrient breakdown or that some users might have intolerances to specific foods.
It is clearly evident these guides are not safe, nor sustainable for people wanting to achieve the ‘perfect summer body’. There are some things in life that need to be left to the professionals and this is one of them. For goodness sakes, visit a dietitian and exercise scientist if you are wanting sound nutritional advice and a sensible workout guide – not the internet!