They say any publicity is good publicity, but even if you’re one of the dickish brains (excuse my french) behind the controversy of Protein World’s latest ‘beach body ready’ campaigns, not even you would agree with this statement given the shitstorm that has been created over a billboard in the last couple of weeks! It’s fair to say that Protein World have been in the limelight. They’ve pissed off a hell of a lot of females, gone a bit tongue in cheek on social media, and even amongst all the turmoil, have managed to get an uplift in sales too. Whilst the smugness stands now, it’ll soon wear off and for the better. But personally, what has annoyed me the most in spite of everything else, is that women predominantly still continue to purchase these products that send entirely the wrong message out on how to get in shape, lose weight and live a sustainable lifestyle. The rant begins…
Now, to get things straight from the off, I wasn’t personally offended by the billboard. Women desire to get in shape and some may even see the advertised model as the ideal physique. I accept that. We all want beautiful bodies, both men and women. Image wise, I am not going to comment. Yet, what is lacking is the correct education on how to achieve ‘the image’. What is present instead is the negative health philosophy that companies such as Protein World are essentially pushing: in order to achieve your desired physique, you must consume meal replacement shakes. Well, bollocks to that.
The reality is that supplement companies, whether you like it or not, will play on your insecurities and lack of knowledge, in order for you to buy their products. I’ve been a victim of this in the past and only speak from experience. Hell, I even once signed up to sell Herbalife before I finally saw the light and had a word with myself in the mirror! And whilst both sexes are targeted in their own way, women are prone to succumbing to the pressure a lot more, due to their vulnerability within a very brainwashed and fickle market. This isn’t me having a dig, far from it, but rather an observation that I’ve seen happen for years, and I want more than anyone for this to change.
Now I’m no expert; Fitness is just a big passion of mine, but when some of my guy mates come to me for advice, they are a lot more receptive to changing their ways in order to practise health and fitness the right way. Yet, I do very much struggle in trying to change the opinions of some of my female friends, due to these ever-present myths within the industry. No, lifting weights will not make you big, and no, eating more instead of less will not make you fat. See where I’m getting at? So, if we don’t rid these myths, we are never going to see a change in perspective. And whilst has been down to years and years of false advertising and misleading information, I can certainly assure you ladies, adopting meal replacement shakes to get beach body ready, is certainly not worth your time, money, and long term health.
Jackie Perez. Athlete, Weightlifter, Foodie, no meal replacement shakes and one incredible body
Growing up, I used to buy into the bullshit a lot. However through a long process of trial and error I have really begun to appreciate the human body and the philosophy behind training not just for looks, but for performance and wellbeing. For me now, I see that our bodies were born to move, and should be used as a tool to also challenge our minds through intense exercise and activity. Over time I have adopted this philosophy more and more. Don’t get me wrong, come summer I’m certainly not going to be shy of wanting a pair of abs and a set of arms for the beach! But, I only started being really comfortable in myself and my body when I adopted a 365 day approach to my training, and not just a three-month blitz. If you train hard all year round through regular exercise and a clean and balanced diet, the likelihood is you’e going to have a pretty spectacular looking body too as a result, without needing to starve yourself and buy into fad supplements such as meal replacement shakes. So, if you’re going to take away anything, let it be these two fundamental principles of long term balance, over a short term fix.
1. Training for life, and not just summer
Wouldn’t you like to be fit, healthy and in shape all year round and not just for summer? What we need to start creating and instilling is a culture of athleticism and not purely vanity, and this starts with training regular, and often. Forget ‘beach body ready’, lets call this ‘life ready’. Going back to what I was talking about above, by getting into the habit of regular exercise all year round, your body is primed for any occasion. Use a sport, a challenge, or a hobby that motivates you to stay active. For me, Crossfit has changed my life since I stopped playing team sports, and it is something I wake up every morning and get a buzz off. It challenges me physically as well as mentally, through constantly varied exercise methods, and not just isolation movements. And believe it or not, by regularly focusing on improving performance rather than just being worried about my looks, I’m also in the best shape of my life too. You only have to look at some of the athletes and role models in the sport and appreciate how amazing their bodies are, which is certainly a byproduct of regular and intense training. I’m not saying Crossfit should be everyone’s way of exercising, but it’s a great example of how training your body in the way it was meant to be trained, can have only a positive effect on the way it looks too. Whilst I encourage any form of exercise – whatever gets the body moving – use exercise a tool to become a healthier you, and not just for your first Instagram photo shoot. It’s important not to be too obsessive and worried just about your looks. It will only lead to insecurity rather than adopting a healthy image of your body, both inside and out.
2. Eat & Supplement for a purpose
You can be taking every single supplement under the sun, but the reality is you cannot out train a bad diet. So, rather than hitting the checkout button online in a panic, why not take a trip to the Supermarket and spend your money on real food instead? Again, weather you want to tone up or lose weight, a consistent diet all year round, like exercise, is going to get you far better results in the long term in comparison to a meal replacement shake. It may take a little more time, but from a health perspective real food always wins. Yes – I do take supplements, but I supplement to perform, rather than to starve. It gives me a calorie surplus rather than provide a deficit. And this is exactly what supplements should do, to ‘supplement’ an already balanced and efficient diet, consisting of foods with quality ingredients. The problem is, the majority of society see eating clean as very unattainable simply due to being poorly educated, and this is the reason why they may turn to these products. But if you don’t know any better, the worst thing you can do is dig the hole even deeper. Supplements should never come first, and if they do, you need to take a step back. Take a look my article on the 80/20 approach which will give you some insight on the reality of having a sustainable diet, and in a very simple and effective way.
Food is the winner every time
In my opinion, a brand such as Protein World have done nothing but reinforce the misconception that anyone in shape will skip meals and effectively starve themselves in order to get in shape. Whilst not all of those buying into the brand will take the message so literally, a hell of a lot do, and that will always remain a worry for society. These are simply my thoughts and whilst many will agree, others may not. However, if you are up for getting in shape the right way, and want to lead a better and more balanced life, I urge you to start thinking outside the box and see through the obnoxious outlook that some of these companies are very much in favour for.
Beach Body Ready, or Life Ready – you make the call.