Let’s face it — everyone has the potential to be a fitness “guru”.
It could be your friend, your 65-year-old mum, or a random Instagram celebrity rocking washboard abs and a gleaming white smile. Back in the day, for many, it was Richard Simmons (if you have no idea, Google him).
While everyone has the potential to be an inspiration to many, not all will be your cup of tea — or actually help you to affect any change in your life.
Are you making some bad decisions when it comes to who you pop up on that pedestal? Here are some questions worth asking yourself.
Do you believe in what they are pushing?
First things first — if you are resistant to practically everything your so-called guru “pushes”, then Houston, we have a problem. If your body recoils and your head just says “NO” then perhaps this person isn’t the one for you.
Fitness and diet fads can be cult-like. Deep down, if you feel that sick feeling in your gut, move on.
Do you want to be fit or do you want to be thin? on The Well. (Post continues after audio.)
Would you want to have a drink with this person?
Seriously, would you want to spend social time with this person?
We all know what that feels like; when we meet someone who is down to earth and doesn’t think of themselves as a “special” character. They are confident, engaging and comfortable in their own skin. No hidden agendas, just someone you could sit down with and have a laugh with (and maybe a wine).
Conversely, there’s nothing worse than idolising someone who turns out to be nothing like what they say they are. It all comes down to the unique self they portray.
Are they more than just a pretty face?
Not that we're judging people by their appearance (actually, that was what drew us in the first place, wasn’t it?) but do these gurus actually have experience in their field? Are they qualified?
Ask for credentials, or simply ask if they’ve worked with people in your situation before. Look past the 500K followers and ask yourself “will this person be interested in helping me?”
Many people are intimidated by rippling muscles and the over enthusiastic spirit many gurus possess. Different strokes for different folks.
Are they providing safe advice?
In the fitness world everyone is trying to sell you something — their new diet, their whiz-bang workout plan, their supplements, their activewear. Is your guru just out for a quick buck, or do they actually care and want to help you? It’s an important question to ask yourself. Be discerning. Make them earn your trust.
Are they helping you get results?
At the end of the day, we all want results. We absolutely don’t want to put our lives on hold for these results (that whole 'have your cake and eat it too' business), but if your guru helps you affect change in your life for the long haul and you don’t have to turn your world upside down to do it, then you may have just found a keeper.
So many of us are addicted to the feeling of a diet or a fitness overhaul/transformation but many only last a few weeks, some maybe a few months. To me, that’s not changing anything long term.
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Do they live by the advice they give?
If your guru happens to be a spray-tanned body builder who frequently eats out of Tupperware containers and is always working on their “gains”, and that’s someone you look up to and want to be, awesome.
If your guru gushes about drinking green smoothies daily but only eats burgers, something ain’t right. It’s that whole thing about talking the talk and walking the walk. They have to be authentic.
If you need a moderate person rather than someone who chops and changes frequently (like so many I see in this industry), then find that anchor(wo)man who will help keep you grounded. If you can find someone who causes you to change then hold on tight, you’ve found a keeper.