The Principle of Individual Differences | Why You Should Be Skeptical of Any Advice That Claims to Be the Best

If you've walked into a supplement store lately, you've probably seen the newest and best supplement on the market. The real question is, which one? Everyone claims to have a superior regimen when it comes to exercise and nutrition, so how do fitness enthusiasts know which one really lives up to the hype? They don't and that's how industry professionals like it. 

The Strategy behind "the best"

The fitness industry is oversaturated. This means that there is a high level of competition between companies that sell similar products or services. What each company can offer really has to stand out. Otherwise, they get lost in the sea of marketing. So, these companies use targeted jargon and shock factor to increase the perceived value of their products and services. Hence why there are so many "new and improved" formulas of supplements, "fastest" workout programs, and "best" fitness equipment on the market. 

In the digital age, these companies thrive on going viral. So, they'll do so by whatever means necessary - usually by manipulating old information to seem innovative and promising. Learning to differentiate useful information from calculated marketing is vital for anyone trying to better themselves through nutrition and exercise. 

Skepticism is healthy

Even though many trends out there are overhyped, there is typically some truth to them at their core. Having a healthy sense of skepticism aids you in seeing through manipulated claims and finding the beneficial information being offered. For example, a fad claims that you can cut 30 lbs in 2 weeks, just by taking a supplement that suppresses appetite to reduce calories. You can deduce that the weight loss is caused by the reduced caloric intake, that the supplement isn't necessary to the equation, and that the highlighted weight loss benefits are likely exaggerated for shock value. 

Red flags to look for

Here is a short list of red flags to be aware of when selecting a diet or exercise program: 

  • Extreme Deficits: Any diet that puts the body in an extreme caloric deficit is problematic. This diets run the risk of making the person physically ill due to malnutrition.
  • Macro Elimination: Macronutrients each serve vital roles in our body. Eliminating or significantly reducing any one - carbs, proteins, or fats - can have adverse affects on functionality and health. See our article on nutrition basics for more information.
  • No Rest: Active rest is an incredibly important component of any training regimen. See our article on rest and recovery for more information. 

is there a "best" diet or exercise program? 

No, there is no best diet or exercise program. However, there are some programs that are definitely better than others. While it's true that not all programs are created equal, there is no one program that works for every person who tries it. This is due to something called the principle of individual differences.   

The principle of individual differences

The principle of individual differences states that because every person is unique, they will respond differently to stimuli. This applies not only to exercise and nutrition efforts, but to many other areas of life as well. These differences are a summation of our experiences, genetics, capabilities, skill sets, and goals.

Creating An individualized program

A program that is individualized to the person going through it is the best and most effective one. This is how personal trainers develop training programs. They know that the key to achieving any fitness goal is consistency. So, the best program is one that holds you accountable to a routine that's manageable for you. 

Your program should have an end goal with well-timed steps and milestones. It should incorporate a consistent schedule that works around other ongoings in your life. B 



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