Kevin: Good evening, everyone. So Craig, you’ve been in the fitness industry for over 26 years and with that, I imagine comes a bit of wisdom. Why don’t you start with your story and how you’ve gotten to where you are now?
Craig: Sure Kevin. Well, first of all, I started out in the fitness industry as a personal trainer making $3.50 an hour.
Craig: So I’ve been in it for awhile and I grew through the ranks in the fitness industry to the executive level. I was the president of two of the largest fitness organizations in the United States. I was the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the largest chain of fitness clubs in the world operating in 11 countries. I also successfully owned and operated my own fitness company. I’ve visited 30 countries and evaluated health and fitness trends all over Russia, Asia, Europe. I’ve been to dozens of fitness conventions, purchased millions of dollars worth of equipment, supplements and other health and fitness related products and I’ve also had the ability to train thousands of health and fitness professionals around the world and help them to help other people improve their lives. So this really kind of led me to where I am today, which is to where I just got to the point where I want to do something more and that’s why I wrote my book The Big Fat Healthy Fitness Lie and founded the Fit Advocate website so that I could create a platform to protect and enhance the lives and health and fitness consumers.
Kevin: Now you just mentioned your book, The Big Fat Health and Fitness Lie which I absolutely love. What is the big fat fitness lie. Let’s just lay it on the table.
Craig: Why mince words? Let’s dig right in. The lie is that there are these billion dollar industries out there getting richer while we get sicker and fatter and with all the so-called solutions available for losing weight and improving our health, we are literally in the worse shape in the history of modern civilization. There’s big profit in sickness and in fatness, and a lot of times people question that and they think, “Oh, well we live in the United States, we’re in great health and we have the best health care system” which is a complete fallacy. Here’s an interesting fact that people should be aware of, we’re approaching some 300 million people in the U.S. and we have every year 200 million diseases that are diagnosed for conditions that could be prevented with simple lifestyle changes.
Craig: And we spend in the United States, 270 billion dollars on 3.7 billion prescriptions written to, not to cure anything because there’s really very few cures in modern medicine, medicine is meant mostly to mask our symptoms. So taking into our bodies a lot of toxic chemicals and you know there’s so much confusion out there and misinformation about health and fitness. So there’s a huge opportunity, unfortunately, for people to make big money on the lack of knowledge that people have about how to lose weight, improve their health, get in shape and live better. So millions of people are out there paying thousands of dollars that have no chance of helping them achieve their goal and that’s really the big fat lie.
Kevin: And let me just ask you this, you’ve been on the other side, you’ve been a part of the industry that is making a lot of money in the fitness clubs and the organizations and everything. When did you suddenly say, “Hey, you know, maybe I need to educate people about this.”
Craig: Well, first of all I never felt that the club industry was a bad industry.
Craig: And in my book I still am a big proponent of joining a fitness center for the average person, there are, of course, some caveat of how to get a quality club. I have an article on the ten worst tricks for the fitness industry. So I try to expose the things that I think are bad but there’s also a lot of good too, but what I did notice while I was operating all of these clubs and trying to help people is that I would talk to thousands of consumers, face to face. For a big part of my career, my job was to get out there and help, work with people in the field, club operators, managers, sales people, fitness staff members, personal trainers, to talk to them about how to help people make decisions that are good for them and the guiding principle, of course was always don’t focus on making money, focus on helping people and you will make money as a natural result, as a natural bi-produce of helping people. That’s always been one of my guiding principles, but in speaking with all these consumers, you find that the average person spends thousands and thousands of dollars on products and services that have no chance of helping them. They spend hours and hours of wasted time on information that will never help them improve their health or change their lives. So I got tired, frustrated and really kind of outraged at all of the quick fix solutions that are out there that people jump from one to the other and without really understanding the true cause of why they’re in such poor health. So I wanted to try to educate them on all of the things, the lies the deceptions while also trying to give them simple solutions for how to improve their health, how to lose weight, how to get in shape, how to live better, how to feel better with no tricks and no gimmicks for the rest of their lives. That’s really what the big fat health and fitness lie is all about and that’s really what the Fit Advocate website is all about.
Kevin: And you take a different approach in your book as opposed to a lot of the other books that I’ve read about health and fitness and it’s related to addiction. You say addiction feeds this whole lie. What do you mean by this?
Craig: Well, many people live a self-inflicted toxic lifestyle that destroys their health and feeds this lie. So what do I mean by that? Well, the definition of toxic, first of all, is poison and in our society we are surrounded by poisons, in our air, it’s in our water, some of them we can’t avoid and many of them we can, however. A lot of these poisons, they’re not going to kill us today, but instead what they do is they slowly and quietly deteriorate and destroy our health.
There’s two specific types of poisons or toxins that I talk about that create these health problems. The first, of course is chemical exposures. There are thousands of untested chemical combinations in our food supply to improve taste, texture, color or to extend shelf life. There are low calorie, low carb foods laced with toxic sweeteners that has contributed to obesity and diabetes. We’ve been conditioned to believe that sodium fluoride, for example is good for our teeth. Yet it’s a known chemical waste bi-product of the aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industry. This chemical has been pumped into our water supply and put into our dental hygiene products for years but fluoridation has been flatly rejected by many developed countries because of the dangers and the lack of really any scientific evidence of any health benefit. Beyond that, we have toxic chemicals in our household products, our cleaning products, personal hygiene products. Fruits and vegetables have been treated with herbicides and pesticides. Chickens and cows are fed ground chicken and beef. Then pumped full of antibiotics to stave off disease from the horrific conditions in which they live and where they’re slaughtered. So we have all of those, you know, all of this chemical toxicity. That’s the first concern.
The second is the biggest toxic exposure which is related to stress, and people don’t realize this but as much as 80% of all disease is the result of stress and having had the ability to travel all over the world and visit, you know, I believe I’ve been to over 40 countries now, you find that we in America are the most stressed out country on the planet. We work more than any other activity other than sleep. Just think about our normal lives, we wake up every day and we’re running on empty from morning to night. We’ve got the pressures at work, at home, the challenges sustaining some sort of happy relationship with our significant others. We’ve got the demands of the kids, trying to pay the bills. We have all of the negativity in the news. We’re all trying to live the American dream which is predicated on financial freedom, but the truth is only a fraction of people out there actually ever realize the American dream and the rest of us are simply trying to get by, and, you know, we’re buried in a mountain of debt. All of these things add up to a lot of worry and stress and to cope with this stress, what do we do? We drink, we smoke, we take drugs, we over eat, we eat the wrong foods and we spend hours in front of the television or surfing the internet. All of these activities, unfortunately make us fat, lazy and out of shape, and what happens is this poor health that’s created from this self addictive lifestyle creates, and opens the door for these big fat health and fitness lies. One of them is companies that market, manufacture and market and sale products that have no chance of helping us and then, of course, the worse thing is when we look to synthetic chemical compounds, prescription drugs, as the first line of defense to handle our self inflicted health problems. So we really have a lot of issues that we have to deal with in order to be healthy, but people need to understand the basis of where it starts, the cause.
Kevin: Yes. How does someone take that sort of addiction or quote unquote addictive personality and turn that into fitness success?
Craig: Well the first thing they have to do is identify it.
Craig: You have to realize it. Here’s, here’s a fact that’s pretty important that people should know about, the number one reason that people give for not exercising regularly is that they don’t have enough time, okay. Yet the average American watches four and a half hours of television a day. So there’s an issue there with priority and people have to understand that time is the most important and the most valuable thing that we have because once it’s gone you can’t get it back. If you want to improve your health, you have to make time to do all of the things that are necessary to improve and enhance your health and your life and it’s not just exercise but it is one of the key components. So they have to first understand the issues and then have the right motivation and set the right priorities to get them to where they need to be.