Personal Trainer Proves that Social Proof Proves Nothing!

Personal Trainer's Amazing Transformation?

Personal Trainer’s Amazing Transformation?

Look at the amazing transformation above. How long do you think it took this beautiful young lady to transform her body? How many hours do you think she invested at the gym to sculpt these results? What diet secrets underlie her magical metamorphosis?

More importantly ask yourself the following questions: What would you do for results like this? Would you starve yourself? Would you eat nothing but Eskimo food or drink nothing but freshly squeezed, organic raisin juice? Would you pay a fortune to a personal trainer if he had before and after pics like these attached to client testimonials?

The courageous personal trainer pictured above took these pics to prove a point: before/after pics, unless professionally and objectively standardized, are, at best, misleading. Moreover, as she points out in her blog, they are not informative. In most cases, before/after photographic comparisons don’t tell you exactly how the person made the transformation (other then by often crediting the latest amazing supplement extracted from a newly discovered plant from the Amazon).

This personal trainer’s comparison doesn’t just call into question the before/after comparisons that are alleged to be proof of any supplement or diet’s effectiveness. Before/after photos, otherwise known as “social proof”, are often pasted all over gym and personal trainer websites, infomercials, exercise books, and online fitness forums as proof positive that those gyms, personal trainers, books, at-home workout products, etc. can successfully transform you. “Social proof” is supposed to be the gold standard for selling to the gullible, despite the fact that the more honest fitness personalities often admit, in fine print, that “results may vary”.

Well, it turns out that adding the concept “social” to the concept “proof” makes the combination worthless, much like the combination “social intelligence” or “social justice”. The truth is, barring unusual hormonal circumstances, anyone who exercises so as to augment or maintain muscle and who moderates what they eat consistently, will lose fat and transform their bodies for the better. The rest is just hype.

Does this mean that before/after photography can never be informative and provide evidence of the effectiveness of a diet and/or exercise program. Not at all. Ellington Darden, an influential and prolific exercise and nutrition author did a great job of standardizing his before/after comparisons throughout each of his diet books. He shot in black and white, he standardized the distance from the camera to the subject and how the subject stood. Before and after photographic comparisons can be very informative and inspiring but great pains must be taken to make sure they are presented objectively. Doing so requires integrity and expertise and that is why properly taken before/after pics are almost never seen anymore. So caveat emptor dear reader! Keep your mind open but not so open that your brain falls out.

You can read the blog post associated with the before/after picture shown above by going to http://www.businessinsider.com.au/before-and-after-weight-loss-exposed-2013-8.

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