In this blog I want to touch on a phenomenon in the health and fitness industry that has been vexing me for some time. This is the rise of health gurus and life coaches (especially the type of coaches who promote get-rich quick schemes).
Religious gurus litter history, but the rise of the health guru/life coach has only really come about since the rise of social media. Health gurus are much more prevalent in the US, but they do have a presence in this country too, mainly in alternative medicine and lifestyle circles.
For me, the search for gurus is a sad reflection of our broken society and the times we live in. It highlights the continuing obsession with celebrity culture, and indicates that there are a lot people out there who feel lost and are looking for some celebrity messiah to tell them how to live their lives, to free themselves from whichever unhappy lot they find themselves in.
The phenomenon is also a sign of the further denigration of experts. To be a guru you don’t have to be an expert, just give the impression of being one. The one thing you do need to be a guru is to make extraordinary claims, without the slightest need to back them up. After all a guru is defined as one who is all knowing.
Many gurus also like to peddle pseudo-science or cloak things in mystical terms. This is merely a cynical attempt to get you to part with your money and that is one thing that most gurus are good at, making money.
However, wealth and status count for nothing if you are peddling bullshit.
There are a group of ‘life coaches’ whose sole purpose appears to be to sell you the dream lifestyle, the yacht, living on the beach etc. This is essentially the ‘American Dream’; that wealth and ‘success’ are the path to happiness. Much of it is an illusion.
These types of coaches try to sell you their dream, by emphasising the end result rather than the effort it takes to get there. Anybody who genuinely questions their programme are dismissed as` haters, non-believers and/or negative people.
Gurus and these types of coaches also absolutely love memes, because they love to use platitudes. Big statements that claim to hold great meaning, but actually have very little substance to them at all.
Remember, if something sounds crazy it probably is.
I am not a guru. I aspire to be seen as an expert, but not a guru.
I don’t claim to know everything. Nobody does.
I don’t make unsubsantiated claims that have no basis in science, logic or claims that are just utter bullshit.
I don’t claim to have reinvented the wheel.
I don’t tell you how you should live your life, but I do aim to tell you what you need to know if you want to improve your health and fitness.
I have been wrong about some things in the past, and I will probably be wrong about some things in the future, but I aim to give you the best and most current advice available from what I think are the most reputable sources.
No coach or guru, should run your life for you. A coach or mentor should be there to advise you, but ultimately we mustall learn to take control of our lives, and learn not to be taken in by charlatans and con artists, no matter how convincing they sound.
I believe people should create their own rules, but that those should be based on good information, not unfounded claptrap.
At the end of the day, a coach or mentor can’t choose for you, they can’t force you to change unless you really want to, they can’t make absolutely everything alright and they can’t make the changes for you. Ultimately that is down to you and all of us.