by Matt Weik
I must admit, I’m a bit of a YouTube addict. If they had group meetings to beat the addiction, I’d probably be sitting in the front row say, “Hi, my name is Matt Weik, and I’m addicted to YouTube”. I’m not one to sit in front of the screen and watch all the gossipy news and BS that floats around the industry, rather, I’m trying to find informative videos on different topics that interest me—not all of which are fitness related. That being said, I subscribe to certain YouTube personalities that are in the fitness industry just to see if there’s anything new going on or anything of interest that I might want to watch/listen to. What I see more times than not is a bunch of people bitching about people in the industry, exposing companies for things they are doing to screw consumers, etc. I sit here and scratch my head at what’s going on in the industry.
Now let’s not be naive to think that the fitness industry is the only industry that has issues. I’m sure other industries have similar problems but don’t talk about them all day long and air out dirty laundry like what’s found in the fitness/supplement industry. With all that being said, let’s talk about a few issues and discuss how they are killing this industry.
1.) Drugs, cycles, and everyone is doing it
There are several people in the industry who feel the need to show the world all the drugs they are using via YouTube. They call what they are doing as “being real”. What I call it, is “being really dumb”. These fitness personalities use the internet as their way of showing the world how cool they are by using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs)—more specifically, steroids and their counterparts.
I’ve brought this topic up on episodes of Central Bodybuilding Radio where I am a co-host and raised the question how these people don’t get caught/arrested? So they are “keeping it real”—does that excuse them from legal consequences? Let’s throw a fictitious example out there. So if I was “keeping it real” and on a YouTube video said I’m able to write several content pieces a day because I use crack (again, I’m making this up) to keep me energized and videotaped myself showing a bunch of lines of coke on my toilet seat and having me snort them through a rolled up hundred-dollar bill, does that excuse me legally from owning/possessing an illegal substance since I’m “keeping it real”? How is that any different from people going on YouTube and showing their fridge full of steroids, oils, and insulin? Let me also say that these individuals do not have a prescription to have these products. If I were to do my example, the cops would be banging down my door minutes after the video went live for a drug bust. My butt would be on the way to the big house for questioning.
Then you have the people on YouTube who say there’s nothing wrong with using these drugs because “everyone is doing it these days.” False. Not everyone is using drugs to achieve a great physique these days. These people like to make you feel better that you should be using drugs too because everyone does it, including the pros you look up to. Meanwhile, these YouTube idiots are using higher dosages than what the 250+ pound pro’s are using. When you see these types of guys on YouTube talking about keeping it real and drug use, click unsubscribe, “x” out of the video, and erase anything that idiot said from your memory. You don’t need drugs in order to achieve a great physique.
2.) I’m natty bro
No you’re not. Now sit down and shut up. Unfortunately, these days a high percentage of the people you are watching on YouTube are fake, but they lead you to believe that they aren’t. They have used some type of PED in the past (or more than likely are still using) to help them get the physique you see on your screen. They want you to believe that through hard work you can look like them too—which is total BS. Maybe through chemistry you might be able to look like them. This is a way for them to persuade you to hire them to coach you. Some of these guys will encourage you to use what they are using, or if they don’t want to give up their secrets, you’ll simply find yourself month after month looking in the mirror wondering why you don’t look like the guy you’re working with.
These are the same people who have to keep saying “I’m natural” on all of their videos or anytime you see them in person. If you have to continually say that, you’re only fooling yourself. Those who are in the industry know you’re full of it. Some of those not even in the industry probably know you’re full of it. I’m sure they have brainwashed themselves to actually believe their own lie. For instance, there’s a guy in his mid-40’s who likes to make a whole bunch of claims that he is natty, a powerlifting champion, Judo champ, and holds all sorts of records—that no one can ever seem to find any evidence of. Weird. But hey, he’s also a bodybuilder—that never really did anything worthwhile to get people excited to meet him. But hey, he’s “natty” so who cares, right? Or maybe it’s the $1,000 duck eggs he’s peddling… Brah.
3.) Doctor versus Shrek / “Natty” versus Shrek
This subject is one that I honestly didn’t want to talk about but it needs to be addressed. There are some individuals out there who I’m friends with in the industry that are caught up in some nonsense. What I’m referring to is one person who attacks another person and their pride and personality gets in the way so they sound like a complete douche in their YouTube videos “putting people on blast”. These types of people feel that they can never be wrong and will go down fighting to protect their pride.
I’m not going to use their real names but let’s just call one Doctor and the other Shrek. Both Doctor and Shrek have been feuding for quite some time now even after lawsuits were filed and decided upon. Because people have a difference of opinion, they feel as if to prove their intelligence they need to verbally attack the other because they are butt-hurt. Things involving these two individuals got so heated that alleged personal threats were made to both parties as well as their family and things got way out of control. Police documents were also filed due to verbal threats of doing harm to them and their family, meanwhile the whole situation makes the industry look like a episode of “Roid Ragers Gone Wild”. By the way, Doctor has also been accused of not being “natty” even though he too claims it all the time.
The 40-year-old “natty” that I mentioned in the section above seems to also have an issue with Shrek—they too have a feud that involved a lawsuit because Shrek said a fitness gimmick that this “natty” was pushing was a POS and not worth the price (which I agree with him on). The lawsuit was later dropped and nothing more came from it.
It seems these days when people on YouTube have a difference of opinion, they want to settle things through legal means. Ah yes, the American dream. No one can ever debate anymore. Now it’s all about my lawyer will be in touch with your lawyer. Do they not understand how foolish they look?
When you make videos calling people out and verbally attacking them, what good do you think will come from it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not only will no good come from it, but you’re incriminating yourself in the process. So now not only do you have someone trying to disprove your stance on a topic (or topics), but you also look terrible in the eyes of your fans and followers for acting like a child and lowering yourself to your “enemy’s” level. Sure, you will have your cult followers standing behind you but others in the industry will take a back seat and watch you make a fool of yourself. Take the high road and walk away. Who cares if the other person thinks they are right. If your reputation is as good as you think it is, then the things said and written about you won’t damage your reputation at all. Some things just aren’t worth fighting over.
4.) Product pushers
It’s normal to see YouTubers pushing products, especially if they work for a company in the industry. But there’s a fine line between making people aware of your company/products and being a whore. I love learning about new products and being made aware of something that just launched that could be of interest to myself and many others. But when you are answering questions on your YouTube channel about what products to take to help someone get in shape and you go down a list 10 products the individual should take to get whatever results they are seeking (and they are all from your company), then you’re simply being a whore at that point. Maybe a couple products should be mentioned to push your brand, but when you’re basically saying “just use every product I sell” you clearly have an agenda to make money and not truly give an honest answer to the question.
You also have the people who go on YouTube and are paid to give reviews of products—biased reviews. After all, wouldn’t you feel pressured to give a product a good review if you’re getting the product for free and even some money for your time to put together a video? We’ve all seen them. Videos or reviews where it sounds like the individual had some lotion and a box of tissues next to them when they wrote the view or talked about a product they received. To the listener/viewers surprise, the reviewer might not have even tried the product or it could have sent them right to the bathroom for all we know. I had a similar experience where I saw a review of a product and actually got a sample from someone to try. The review on YouTube and my take on the product were on totally different ends of the spectrum. This individual said it was the best preworkout he ever tried while my experience sent me to the bathroom, basically shitting myself.
Take any review you see online with a grain of salt, especially if it’s coming from someone within that brand/company. Even websites these days have fake reviews because people are paid to give 10/10 reviews, even if they’ve never tried the product.
5.) I’m a competitor, you can trust me
This is hilarious. You’ll see competitors who after going through a show start making videos and claim to be a top trainer/nutritionist. They want you to believe that you can trust them to get you in the best shape of your life. So what do they do? Recycle the same information/diet/workout that they paid for during their prep from a coach they hired. Better not question them on what they send you though, because either you’re going to get a dumb answer or no answer at all—because they don’t know what they’re doing. They put out YouTube videos and don’t answer anything in the comment section because they are honestly clueless as to what they are doing. They make videos of them training or talking about nonsensical things that quite frankly you don’t or shouldn’t care about. These are the same people who couldn’t even place in the top 5 at any given show (but they clearly know what they are doing, or not).
Honestly, be very skeptical of any competitor that you really have no clue who they are that says they compete and use that as a selling point to bring on new clients. More times than not they aren’t truly qualified to train you. Personally, I look for someone who is not only certified, but who also holds a 4-year degree in kinesiology or exercise science. There is no certification out there that compares to a 4-year degree in the field. And if anyone tells you they don’t need to have a degree because they are already well-educated, keep looking for another trainer.
How can anyone take the fitness industry seriously with all of the things going on above? It sounds like a sandbox full of self-centered douchebags pounding their chests. It honestly gives people like myself and several others around the industry a bad name just by being associated to these people through a common industry. If you enjoy watching the YouTube videos these people put out, then please take anything they say and show you with a grain of salt. These are not people you ideally want to be following and idolizing. As they say, when there’s smoke, there’s fire. Being associated with or following along with these clowns on YouTube could potentially get you hurt by listening to poor advice. Do your homework. Research topics that you’re interested in learning more. While YouTube is very informative, there are plenty of videos giving out terrible advice. The last thing you want to do is follow something someone says and get hurt, injured, or sick in the process. Stay safe, train hard, and stay educated.