8 February 2019
LESSONS FROM THE STRENGTH SENSEI
The strength sensei has brought disrepute to fitness. For an individual who claims to be the leader of the fitness industry, his crude, and unnecessary comments have shown that he is the polar opposite of a sensei, and is nothing more than a bully, who lacks the strength and integrity to keep his mouth shut….
The strength sensei has brought disrepute to fitness. For an individual who claims to be the leader of the fitness industry, his crude, and unnecessary comments have shown that he is the polar opposite of a sensei, and is nothing more than a bully, who lacks the strength and integrity to keep his mouth shut.
If you’re an avid member of the fitness community, you will be well aware of the recent comments made by the Strength Sensei, Charles Poliquin towards an out of shape woman. You can read the full article and my comments HERE.
Here is a screen shot of the post:
It is evident that Poliquin regrets his decision to voice his opinion on social media as he has removed the post from his page.
And sure, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’…
Sticks and stones will break your bones.
Words can cause psychological damage.
Whilst I don’t necessarily look to Poliquin for advice on strength or nutrition, unless I’m interested in eliminating carbohydrates, namely fructose and following a GVT style approach to training, there are a number of lessons we can all learn from this recent event.
1. If you haven’t got anything nice to say, shut the hell up.
Social media can be used to great effect and have an extremely positive impact when used correctly. However, when used for the wrong reasons, as seen over the past few days, its effects can be detrimental to not only those directly involved, but cause further negativity within a community. On our post alone we had individuals bickering about whether or not Poliquin was correct in making his comments or not. So much so, that they completely went off topic and started abusing each other and making personal attacks.
The point is, if you haven’t got something constructive to contribute to social media, keep your fingers to yourself and shut up!
2. Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity.
Ask any marketing guru or PR expert and they may have you believe that all publicity will improve your brand awareness.
This has done nothing for Poliquin and his accompanying brands.
Although it may drive traffic to his site and page, the image he has now created for himself amongst fitness enthusiasts is one that will most likely decrease sales and overall revenue. Not the goal of his post, I’m sure.
3. Speak Only When Spoken To.
Another lesson I learnt from my father. Comment only if asked, otherwise, as the aforementioned lesson has shown, don’t say anything.
The only time critiquing another individuals physique is warranted is if they ask you to comment or critique.
Even then, your comments should be constructive and in such a way that they reinforce positive behaviours and thinking.
If you comment on an individuals lifestyle, physique or health without their consent or request, you are an arrogant pig in my eyes.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but voicing it should only be done when asked.
4. Fat Shaming Doesn’t Work.
Fat shaming is not the right way to go about getting somebody in shape.
The idea that fat shaming is acceptable seems to be in part built on the premise that it will surely encourage a person to lose weight, this is absolutely incorrect.
We need to to scare these people into change, it’s for their own good, right?
The problem with this line of reasoning is that it is completely flawed on many levels.
As it stands, the research paints a completely different picture:
Fat shaming and making someone feel bad about their weight does not motivate successful weight loss or promote health lifestyle change.
It can do the complete opposite.
Increased stress, anxiousness, depression and other negative feelings which can lead to over eating.
Studies have shown that exposing obese individuals to stigmatising information about obesity has lead to adverse outcomes.
It’s obvious, really.
We shouldn’t need science to confirm that we should never comment or critique someones physique, or make cruel comments about their weight that would possibly tarnish their self confidence and self worth.
Obesity is a serious health complication and disease, and calling someone out like Poliquin did is not only morally incorrect, but it does nothing to help overcome the issues we face.
I’ve worked with thousands of individuals of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. And I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many overweight and obese individuals, and have successfully help them lose weight and gain back their health.
What I didn’t do…
I didn’t pay out on them.
I didn’t abuse them.
I didn’t make fun of them.
I didn’t heighten their insecurities and make them feel as small as Gwyneth Paltrow’s waistline.
What I did do…
Instead, I made them feel comfortable with me, and know that I did not judge them for who or what their current circumstances dictated.
I focused on what they could do, and all of the positive aspects of their life.
I empowered them, by educating them about about nutrition , exercise and lifestyle.
I worked with them to identify obstacles and barriers they faced.
I helped highlight and devise solutions to the barriers they faced so that they could improve.
I worked with them on developing strength, both physically and mentally, ensuring they believe in themselves and their ability to change.
And most importantly, I helped them respect themselves, for what and who they are regardless of their waist circumference or the number on the scale…
You see, it is the bigots, and the small minded individuals who resort to shaming as a means to inflict change.
Real leaders, coaches, and sensei’s motivate through positive means, are open minded, supportive, encouraging and educate those who have lost their way and their health.
Strength is not in your ability to put others down, that is weakness.
Strength is your ability to climb whilst helping others along the way.
So, next time you see an individual who may not fit your ideal body image or who is indeed out of shape, remember, they have feelings to. They are human’s and like you, will be affected by what you say.
I’m all for making mistakes and learning. Whilst some mistakes shouldn’t be made, we all make them and must learn from them.
A smart man learns from his own mistakes, so hopefully Poliquin will learn from this and approach similar matters differently in future.
However, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others, and we can all learn some valuable lessons from Poliquin’s recent blunder.