Getting Health and Fitness Help on Social Media Can be Misguided

Getting Health and Fitness Help on Social Media Can be Misguided

By | 2018-08-01T18:47:34+00:00 August 1st, 2018|General|1 Comment

For months there has been a topic I have wanted to write about, but I was struggling with how to do it diplomatically. Then today, as I sat down to get my thoughts together and start writing, I saw this post in a Facebook group I am in. It aligns perfectly with what I to convey.

“Every time I lift weights, no matter what the exercise,I bleed down below.  Is this normal?”

I very much wanted to respond to this woman (I did not of course) with this: “SERIOUSLY? No, that is not normal. You should not need someone in a random FB group to tell you to go see a doctor, and if you are bleeding, get off Facebook and GO SEE A DOCTOR!”

Thankfully, in this situation, about 50 women commented that she should go see a doctor immediately.

Ok so why does this post (and others) seem to trigger me? There are a few reasons. One is that we have become so reliant on the instant connection to many people with the click of the button, and often the audience is the wrong group to be getting advice from. In this situation, she obviously needs to be consulting a doctor. (And even if there happen to be doctors in this group, the cautious ones would have told her to go in person to see a doctor). Not everything in life should be addressed through Social Media. Medical advice definitely should not. We should know better than the woman who posted that in a group.

Another reason though why questions and posts like that make me absolutely insane is that not every question or post gets such a blatant warning sign that the audience unanimously gives the best advice. Often people who, to be blunt, that may have good intentions but are not qualified to advise,  are the ones who respond.

Here is something that I fundamentally believe. There are experts in the health and fitness world, like Personal Trainers, Physical Therapist and Dietitians, because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. And professionals are trained at asking the right questions and diving in to really understand an individual’s needs, body, stress level, etc. They want to understand the individual and what is best for that person before giving advice.

That is why I can be infuriated at times when I see response to questions and posts that do zero trouble shooting so to speak.

Not to mention we all have different goals. And we all have different interpretation of things. Just because one person has found the perfect macro balance that works for her, does not mean it is what another woman should do.  We also have to own our decisions and have to do our own research. Take what anyone says with a grain of salt.

Maybe I get triggered because I spent years being a Business Analyst where I was paid to ask questions. People can be very quick to give advice without really fully vetting out what the person needs. It would be like someone asking for a recommendation on a new car to buy without giving any other details. And then getting responses like, “Buy a BMW!” or “You MUST get the new Tesla”. Asking first things around budget, how many miles they drive, how many people they typically drive, etc would be the way to go before jumping to solution (aka what specific car to buy).

Similarly, I see people posting videos doing lifts like back squats and deadlifts and asking for feedback, which in theory I love the idea of that! It is brave to ask thousands of people for feedback because let’s just say not everyone knows how to give feedback tactfully and gently.

I applaud the people want to improve, but I also wish there was more responsibility with who they ask.  Posing the questions to everyone and anyone WILL result in a lot of the response coming from unqualified people to be honest.  I am not saying you have to be a Trainer or Coach to be able to give advice, but I have seen some really out there responses.

I see people with bad form in these videos that may be a result of needing mobility work. Or perhaps they need to lower the weight to perfect technique. Often the advice given are essentially work arounds. For exampke, if someone is squatting and their knees are going in, people tell them to position their feet differently or to grip the bar differently. There is often a lack of going back to WHAT IS CAUSING THE COMPENSATION? That is key and I just cannot express that enough. Giving solutions withtout going through that vetting process is ill advised. We should be evaluating the root cause first and foremost.  Because hello? Bad advice is what can lead to injury. And for the record, injury does not always happen in one isolated incident. Often injuries are months or years of improper mechanics or wear and tear.

What I would love to see more of is this (and I admit that it toots my own horn):

A woman, Kylie, posted this question in a group: (and she gave me her permission to quote this!):

I need some help/advice. It’s related to leg day recovery.  I did a leg workout                                             yesterday to help start progressing to build muscles in my legs. Today, I had to foam roll                           almost every 2-3 hours. I sat down for a good hour, got up and caught a leg cramp and seem                   to have a knot near my quadriceps tendon. Can someone please help me?! What can I do to                     prevent this from happening? Is there anything more than foam rolling and stretching, like                       natural remedies or practices that have worked for you?

 

I saw this and my immediate thought was that this was NOT a question of how to recover but good lord what did Kylie do on leg day that she was so uncomfortable and  foam rolling gave no relief?  I asked her as much and she responded with:

Ok that’s like a dozen exercises using the same muscles! That is not leg day. That is pure insanity. I said as much (far more diplomatically than I did here) and chatted with Kylie offline. She realized too when she posted that photo that it was too much.

This is how we should be helping each other. Ask some questions. Get to the root of it. Side note too (but equally important) is that the questions posed can be misleading. Kylie assumed in this scenario that her issue was not recovering properly. And so someone did respond to that by saying eat protein after her workout and icy hot helps wonders. <pretend the SMH emoji is here>. So say Kylie took that advice without adjusting her Leg Day (which we chatted about how to do leg day safely and smartly), she would have likely been on the road to injury.

And I know I reference Facebook groups for the sake of examples in this post, but it applies to really anyone and any situation. Know who you are asking. Match your question to a person who has the right qualifications to really help YOU. As a Personal Trainer, I always ask prospective clients about their background before I program or have them join a class. I want to ensure I understand their goals and know where they are at fitness wise so they can train smartly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For months there has been a topic I have wanted to write about, but I was struggling with how to do it diplomatically. Then today, as I sat down to get my thoughts together and start writing, I saw this post in a Facebook group I am in. It aligns perfectly with what I to convey.

“Every time I lift weights, no matter what the exercise,I bleed down below.  Is this normal?”

I very much wanted to respond to this woman (I did not of course) with this: “SERIOUSLY? No, that is not normal. You should not need someone in a random FB group to tell you to go see a doctor, and if you are bleeding, get off Facebook and GO SEE A DOCTOR!”

Thankfully, in this situation, about 50 women commented that she should go see a doctor immediately.

Ok so why does this post (and others) seem to trigger me? There are a few reasons. One is that we have become so reliant on the instant connection to many people with the click of the button, and often the audience is the wrong group to be getting advice from. In this situation, she obviously needs to be consulting a doctor. (And even if there happen to be doctors in this group, the cautious ones would have told her to go in person to see a doctor). Not everything in life should be addressed through Social Media. Medical advice definitely should not. We should know better than the woman who posted that in a group.

Another reason though why questions and posts like that make me absolutely insane is that not every question or post gets such a blatant warning sign that the audience unanimously gives the best advice. Often people who, to be blunt, that may have good intentions but are not qualified to advise,  are the ones who respond.

Here is something that I fundamentally believe. There are experts in the health and fitness world, like Personal Trainers, Physical Therapist and Dietitians, because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. And professionals are trained at asking the right questions and diving in to really understand an individual’s needs, body, stress level, etc. They want to understand the individual and what is best for that person before giving advice.

That is why I can be infuriated at times when I see response to questions and posts that do zero trouble shooting so to speak.

Not to mention we all have different goals. And we all have different interpretation of things. Just because one person has found the perfect macro balance that works for her, does not mean it is what another woman should do.  We also have to own our decisions and have to do our own research. Take what anyone says with a grain of salt.

Maybe I get triggered because I spent years being a Business Analyst where I was paid to ask questions. People can be very quick to give advice without really fully vetting out what the person needs. It would be like someone asking for a recommendation on a new car to buy without giving any other details. And then getting responses like, “Buy a BMW!” or “You MUST get the new Tesla”. Asking first things around budget, how many miles they drive, how many people they typically drive, etc would be the way to go before jumping to solution (aka what specific car to buy).

Similarly, I see people posting videos doing lifts like back squats and deadlifts and asking for feedback, which in theory I love the idea of that! It is brave to ask thousands of people for feedback because let’s just say not everyone knows how to give feedback tactfully and gently.

I applaud the people want to improve, but I also wish there was more responsibility with who they ask. Posing the questions to everyone and anyone WILL result in a lot of the response coming from unqualified people to be honest.  I am not saying you have to be a Trainer or Coach to be able to give advice, but I have seen some really out there responses.

I see people with bad form in these videos that may be a result of needing mobility work. Or perhaps they need to lower the weight to perfect technique. Often the advice given are essentially work arounds. For example, if someone is squatting and their knees are going in, people tell them to position their feet differently or to grip the bar differently. There is often a lack of going back to WHAT IS CAUSING THE COMPENSATION? That is key and I just cannot express that enough. Giving solutions withtout going through that vetting process is ill advised. We should be evaluating the root cause first and foremost.  Because hello? Bad advice is what can lead to injury. And for the record, injury does not always happen in one isolated incident. Often injuries are months or years of improper mechanics or wear and tear.

What I would love to see more of is this (and I admit that it toots my own horn):

A woman, Kylie, posted this question in a group: (and she gave me her permission to quote this!):

I need some help/advice. It’s related to leg day recovery. Yesterday, I did a leg workout yesterday to help start progressing to build muscles in my legs. Today, I had to foam roll almost every 2-3 hours. I sat down for a good hour, got up and caught a leg cramp and seem to have a knot near my quadriceps tendon. Can someone please help me?! What can I do to prevent this from happening? Is there anything more than foam rolling and stretching, like natural remedies or practices that have worked for you?

 

I saw this and my immediate thought was that this was NOT a question of how to recover but good lord what did Kylie do on leg day that she was so uncomfortable and  foam rolling gave no relief?  I asked her as much and she responded with:

 

Ok that’s like a dozen exercises using the same muscles! That is not leg day. That is pure insanity. I said as much (far more diplomatically than I did here) and chatted with Kylie offline. She realized too when she posted that photo that it was too much.

This is how we should be helping each other. Ask some questions. Get to the root of it. Side note too (but equally important) is that the questions posed can be misleading. Kylie assumed in this scenario that her issue was not recovering properly. And so someone did respond to that by saying eat protein after her workout and icy hot helps wonders. <pretend the SMH emoji is here>. So say Kylie took that advice without adjusting her Leg Day (which we chatted about how to do leg day safely and smartly), she would have likely been on the road to injury.

And I know I reference Facebook groups for the sake of examples in this post, but it applies to really anyone and any situation. Know who you are asking. Match your question to a person who has the right qualifications to really help YOU. As a Personal Trainer, I always ask prospective clients about their background before I program or have them join a class. I want to ensure I understand their goals and know where they are at fitness wise so they can train smartly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Anya August 1, 2018 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Hey Missy! Great post. I don’t think you need to be diplomatic here. There is a chaos on FB and other social media because people just want to say what they want. They want to state their opinions and be important. It’s ok. It’s too bad that some people get hurt because of all the unqualified and unsolicited advice… But then there are professionals like you who can help!

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