I’ve got a treat for you guys today. My friend Katherine Whitfield recently wrote an ebook about how to see through the marketing and hype in the fitness industry, and she was generous enough to stop by and answer some questions about the industry and her new book. I think you guys will enjoy our interview, and if you stick around til the end, there’s a link where you can get it for free (no strings attached, seriously. Zero spam).
Hey Katherine! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. For my readers who are unfamiliar with you, why don’t you introduce yourself?
Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview! My name is Kat Whitfield and I’m a personal trainer based out of Capital Strength & Conditioning in Raleigh, North Carolina. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Exercise and Sport Science, got my certification through NASM. I’ve worked with all sorts of clients in the past, though now I almost exclusively train women. Outside of that, I spend a good chunk of time reviewing popular diet books, fitness magazine articles, and television segments over on my blog at katwhitfield.com
So, you have a book out on BS detection in the fitness industry. What were some of your motivations for writing it?
It’s a sort of culmination of my writing up until this point. I fell in love with weights and powerlifting while I was in college – a direct contradiction to the message women are still being sent about how they should train. I was so in love with lifting and gushed about it to so many of my friends that the question of if I was afraid of getting bulky, or why I would do such a thing came up time and time again. I started blogging just as a way to rant about and address these types of fitness myths.
Over time my writing evolved as a way to help my friends and family, who would often ask if I knew anything about such-and-such product or training method. While looking into some of these products, I was certainly angry at the false claims, but also a bit fascinated by why they worked. How can things that are so blatantly false be so profitable? I want to help curb some of the damage being done to people by helping to arm them against misinformation.
Definitely a noble aspiration. What are some of the trends and tactics you see that you think are particularly harmful?
In the book, I outline seven common tactics seen in most every type of marketing material. As far as the most dangerous one, I’d definitely have to say pseudo-science. I go into much more detail in the guide, but pseudo-science is very destructive to the layman. It can destroy a person’s ‘faith’ in science when, despite the Sensa commercial quoting studies saying users lose up to 10 pounds in a month without diet, they end up gaining weight. Once the foundation of mistrust is laid, it opens one up to being mislead by those claiming to eschew the mainstream – like homeopathy or other ineffective alternative medicine practices.