Looking for fitness information? You aren’t alone, whether it be books or apps, the fitness category is one of the top sellers with its popularity peaking in January. And while it’s become easier and easier to find health and fitness information, there’s a plethora of misinformation as well. Here’s what you need to know to find the best information for you on each platform and ignore the worst.
While it might be a little more work to write a book than make an Instagram account, all mediums have a fair amount of misinformation. The truth is that anyone that invests some money and time can make it in the fitness world. Always check who the author is and see whether they have worked in the industry and what education and certifications they have. Celebrity status or Instagram fame don’t give someone the knowledge to recommend fitness advice to other people. Even if someone’s background checks out, be weary of anybody that is is dogmatic in one approach. There are multiple ways to get faster, stronger or lose weight. Lastly don’t subscribe to anyone that’s pushing sales of stuff like supplements or cleanses more than they are pushing information.
Some key words to immediately rule out a source are miracles, secrets, easy solutions and anything with guaranteed timelines. And while weight loss or losing weight is one of the top searches and sellers, it’s one of the worst for actually finding good fitness information. Searching for other terms will get you better information on a healthy lifestyle and better long term results.
Best For: In depth nutrition and anatomy, running training programs, exercise cues
If you’re the type of person that can imagine nothing better than curling up with a good book on a cold Winter day, learning about fitness through a book may be right for you. There are great books that go into depth about nutrition, and anatomy and books with great running programs. While there’s obvious limitations to trying to learn movements through books, if you’re a fitness instructor reading the instructions for exercises can give you some great ideas for cues and cause you to think more deeply about the exercise than simply watching a video would. You also wouldn’t get distracted by any cute cat videos. Unfortunately both bookstores and libraries tend to feature the newest fads instead of trying to highlight books that show have credible information. To find credible books, look for books that have stood the test of time and check the author information usually located at the back or on the cover to see their credentials.
Best for: Workout Routines, Learning specific sports skills and exercises, injury rehab
From funny cat videos to political debates, Youtube has it all, including the biggest selection of how to and instructional videos. If you want to learn or review a skill or exercise, no matter how obscure there’s likely a great Youtube video. Youtube also has a ton of workout routines for everyone including beginners, people with physical limitations and athletes. They’re generally well labelled, easily searchable and the next best thing to attending a class or getting a fitness trainer or coach. The main drawbacks of Youtube are that some videos may not use the best technique themselves and may gloss over safety details. Workout videos with lots of views are usually pretty good and if they aren’t there’s likely comments below detailing what’s wrong. You can also check the credentials of the video creator by going to their profile and about page. If you’re unsure about anything, try watching a different video to see if it makes any more sense and to make sure the technique is staying consistent. While the how tos can be great, be weary of lifestyle videos where people talk about their diets, supplements or some other thing they’re trying to sell has completely changed their life. And make sure not to watch too many cat videos or car crashes while you’re at it. can the top rated and videos with the most views with the most views are the most helpful.
Best For: Printable diagrams, Workout Routine Lists
If you love to browse Pinterest for organizational and decor ideas, you’ll probably love it for workout ideas too. Pinterest has some great diagrams of exercises that would be great to print out and hang up if you need reminders or want to change up your workout routine a bit. If you are motivated by lists there’s also an abundance of workout routines presented in wonderfully aesthetic lists. While some of the lists aren’t the most useful programming, they’re generally pretty easy to follow along and are relatively safe . The main thing that you need to watch out for is that there are often a fair amount of ads scattered throughout the Pins. Pinterest is also best for someone with some familiarity with working out as there is very little explanation included.
Best For: Prehab/Rehab Exercises, Individual Exercises
In addition to keeping up/stalking friends and admiring food and eye candy, Instagram also has some great exercise demos. The tricky part is finding them as searching for general fitness terms will bring up a bunch of carefully composed selfies along with the occasional fitness stunt. To find better fitness content it’s best to search up some well known strength and conditioning coaches or personal trainers that are active on Instagram. Physiotherapists also have great content on Instagram for both rehab, rehab and strength training. Search up your injury or just search physio to find good content. As Instagram has a one minute time limit, videos are straightforward and to the point. Some trainers and therapists will also answer questions on Instagram. Just be aware that many popular fitness accounts aren’t popular because of their knowledge, but because of how they look and the image they are cultivating. The best Instagram sources will be working or researching in the field, information that’s easily found with a quick Google search.
Best for: Inspiration, new gear
While magazines are sadly no longer in their Heyday, they do still have a place both in print and digitally. There are still lots of niche magazines for different sports and they’re a great place to find inspirational pictures and stories of sports that don’t receive that much mainstream sports coverage. While magazines can have some good information in them, there’s often more advertising in them than content. While they may include workouts or exercises they oftentimes don’t cater well to different fitness levels. If you’re a gearhead or fitness fashionista magazines are a great place to start your wishlist. Many magazines also crush it heavily on the celebrity featuring bodies that are unattainable by most.
Best For: Diagnosing injury
Google is usually the first place that most people turn to when they need a question answered or when they’re looking for information. While Google yields the most results, it can be the most time consuming to shift through all the information. Querying popular fitness fads in particular, yields a lot of disingenuous websites. One of the best things to use Google for is trying to diagnose injuries or pain. Google is also good for looking up specific things like exercise technique, recipes with certain foods and both local and digital classes.
Best for: Discussion, form critiques, community
Yes these are still going strong. While forums can be a bit vicious, they can also be a great place to interact with other people and form a community if you aren’t doing it in person. You can share your accomplishments, failures, get critiques, motivation and ask questions. Forums are also a good place if you want to fully explore the many different opinions that people have on fitness topics. Be aware that many people aren’t really experts, they’re just pretending they are, so be cautious of taking any advice without investigating more yourself. For forums to be much use, you have to regularly invest time in them. You also have to be prepared to put up with some drama.
Best for: Fitness Routines, Nutrition Tracking, Meditation, Anatomy
There’s an app for everything these days and fitness is no exception. There are some good workout programs which progress through as you follow them, making them a little more cohesive and easier to focus on than Youtube videos. There is less variety than Youtube though as most programs are geared towards the average person and not sport specific. There’s also good apps to teach you to meditate. While the nutrition and anatomy apps wouldn’t give you a comprehensive overview of nutrition or anatomy they are great for learning about specific things. The nutrition apps are great for learning more about the food that you commonly eat while you’re on the go and the anatomy apps are great if you want to quickly look up or refresh your knowledge of a body part.
Check out our article next week to find some of our favorite fitness resources. And if you’re still unclear about something or don’t want to spend a lot of time researching the best thing that you can do is book a meeting with a dietitian, trainer, coach or physiotherapist.