The internet is bursting with fitness advice. If you search “fitness advice” in Google, it will come up with some 190,000,000 results (no, we didn’t add any extra zeros there). That’s a lot of advice! Some of it is free information, and some of it you have to pay for. Some of it is legit advice, and some of it is bogus. It’s amazing to have such an abundance of information right at our fingertips, but how do you know what to trust? That’s a tricky question. One that we hope to help you address.
What Not To Trust
Top Search Results Aren’t Always Reliable
Just because a search result appears at the top of the page doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legit. In fact, many times the top search results are ads that pay for top of page placement. Since an advertiser paid to have the information promoted, it should be good advice, right? It could be, but it could also be bull.
Key Takeaway: Just because a search result appears at the very top of the search page doesn’t automatically mean it’s legit. Check the source before following the advice.
Use Caution When Seeking Advice Through Online Forums
Community forums are fabulous for certain things, but using them to search out quality, accurate fitness advice might not be best. The reason being that the advice could be coming from fitness hobbyists and enthusiasts verses trained fitness professionals. It’s often difficult to tell exactly where/who the advice is coming from. Another reason it is tricky to determine legit fitness advice through online forums is that it is hard to check credentials with anonymous users that post behind persuasive user names. Handles like “FitForLife,” “YogaDiva,” or “PowerBuilder” kind of lead you to believe that they would know what they’re talking about. Sadly, you have no way of knowing whether they do or not since you can’t verify their credentials.
Additionally, post rankings on forum sites can be misleading as well. Posts with a high number of likes don’t necessarily mean that the information shared is accurate; it means that they are popular. How they became popular is a mystery too. Is it because the advice is legit? Or is it because it promotes widely known fitness myths? Because the person who posted it has a ton of friends? We’ll never know, and therein lies the problem with advice from online forums.
Key Takeaway: Be cautious when following fitness advice found in forums. It’s difficult to verify the credentials behind those who are posting the advice.
Be Wary of Biased Information
Pay attention to who paid for the fitness advice being offered. For example, say there is a study on a certain supplement. Upon review, you notice that the supplement company who designed the supplement is paying for the results and/or article. That is evidence of a biased study. The potential for accurate information behind the study could exist. But since the information is biased, how can you really know?
Key Takeaway: Studies that are paid for by the health or fitness manufacturer have the potential to be biased information. Check multiple sources in an effort to find accuracy in results.
Separating The Good From The Bad
Now comes the hard part. You know where not to look for information, so where should you look for legit fitness advice? Start by determining if the site you are on is reputable. First, have a look at the domain name and extension. Below is a list of domain extensions and their meanings:
- .com – stands for a commercial site. So, if you land on a .com page, that site may have an agenda beyond providing you with information, such as selling a product.
- .net – stands for an Internet source. Again, these sites can be excellent resources, but they can also be unreliable.
- .edu – stands for university or school. These are usually reliable resources.
- .gov – this stands for the government. These are also usually reliable resources.
- .org – this stands for nonprofit organization. These sites are also generally reliable.
It should be noted that no one monitors the above domain extensions. That said, you can’t just judge a site solely by its extension. There are credible sites using all of the above extensions.
To further determine the site’s reliability, you’ll need to do a little more research. Begin your research by noting the domain name and by searching for information about the site. Who created the site? What are their credentials? When was the site last updated? Is there a list of available resources you can check out? Lastly, read the information carefully and see if it complements what you already know. For example, if you know that safe weight loss is a result of exercise and a healthy diet, be cautious of a site that offers a magic pill that guarantees weight loss.
Key Takeaway: Research the site you are seeking information from as much as possible to validify the site’s credibility.
Tried And True
There are many tried and true online resources that provide valid information. Here is a list of some respected online resources for health and fitness advice:
- American Council on Exercise
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- National Institutes of Health
- Healthy Women
- Women Heart
- Very Well
There are tons of other reputable online resources for fitness advice. The above list is just to help get you started in your search.
Ready to get started on your healthy journey, but sick of digging around all the junk online? Well, why not try a little “offline” advice from our certified professionals here at Elite?Set up a Free Fitness Consultation