Nicole Nam has a Bachelors of Science in Public Health Nutrition Specialization and a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. She has a personal training certification from the American Council of Exercise, and has trained a variety of clients, including a contestant in this year’s Miss Nevada competition. Follow her on Instagram here.
Before we even get into the nitty gritty of this article, I want to really quickly touch on something that recently happened in the fitness influencer world. This past week, a huge IG fitness influencer, Brittany Dawn, made headlines for scamming her followers out of hundreds of dollars by selling them what was supposed to be “personalized” workout and meal plans but instead were just basically the standard fitness ebooks. A word of warning: please do your research on the person you’re “hiring” to become your trainer! Even if they’re online. Choose quality over appearance—some people look good and don’t have the certification or training themselves to be able to spot correct form or even guide you on proper movement.
That being said, I would love to tell you that every fitness product being promoted and sold on IG is legitimate. I get it, there are so many products that look so damn good, but they just don’t make any sense. Trust me, I’ve tried quite a few products myself out of curiosity. I’m here to give you the full review on some trendy fitness products that I’ve tried over the years and whether they work (spoiler: most don’t) and the “science” behind the products (or, more accurately, lack thereof).
1. Weight Loss Protein Powder
I’ll start with this: there was this one particular protein powder that was DELICIOUS. For fear of legal repercussions I can’t really, like, name-name them…but it was a UK-based company and every IG influencer was at one point promoting the living crap out of it. Good marketing, as we will come to learn, does not a good product make. I did further research on said product, and found out that their whole nutrition label was a potentially (most likely?) a lie. As in, their shakes allegedly contained wayyy more carbs, and less protein, than were disclosed on the label.
That said, I used the protein powder as a post-workout supplement and NOT as a meal replacement, and it provided a better alternative for a sweet tooth craving (because this powder did taste really, REALLY good). I do not suggest ever using protein powder as a meal replacement if the powder is considered to be a low-calorie, fat burning powder with a high caffeine content. Also, the FDA does not regulate these supplement claims, so whatever you see on the nutrition labels and the miracle working promises are all up to the discretion of the company…meaning they could easily bullsh*t the whole thing. This applies for ALL supplements for sale in the USA, like in your GNC stores and stuff, not just the products you see on Instagram. The more you know.
2. Waist Trainer
I truly blame the Kardashians for this trend. A waist trainer basically makes you sweat more in your midsection, which is great… but SWEAT IS NOT FAT. Sweat is water mixed with tiny amounts of ammonia, salt and sugar molecules. So just because you sweat more does not mean you’re losing fat. If sweating more motivates you to work harder (it happens), then by all means. Just know that that’s not fat that’s seeping out from your pores.
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Now, I won’t lie…I do use a waist trainer, but not for the same reasons it’s being marketed for. I use a waist trainer as a back support for certain exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and certain abdominal exercises. If you want to use one, for whatever reason, I suggest using ones that do not have hard boning as that can restrict your movement and breathing.
3. Detox Tea
Good ol’ poop tea. That’s all that it is, and you could literally get it at an Asian supermarket for a fraction of the price. It’s called like, the Ballerina Dieter’s Tea or something like that, but I swear it’s been in Asian culture—or at least in MY Asian family’s culture—for ages. We whip it out whenever someone can’t, ya know, go.
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So, yes, I use detox tea and I grew up around it (although the packaging was way less sexy)…BUT there’s something inherently very dangerous about people using laxative products to lose weight, because that’s actually a form of purging, so I advise caution. I think these teas are great for when you need them (aka when you are constipated), but do you REALLY need to detox everyday for 14 days as per most detox tea “instructions”? No, you don’t. I wouldn’t use them for 3 days straight, let alone 14. Using even a mild form of laxative for that long just cannot be good for your digestive system. At the end of the day, you want to still be able to go without any help, right? Don’t do it.
4. Appetite Suppressant Coffee Creamer
What a novel f*cking concept. So novel, in fact, I bought one at my local Gelson’s and I don’t even normally use creamer in my coffee (guess I was feeling spend-y that day). Remember when I talked about products that don’t make sense? This is one of them. So the creamer has ingredients such as hoodia and green tea extract that are in a lot of popular fat burner pills. The main ingredient is coconut oil, which is arguably better than your Coffee-Mate bullsh*t.
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I stuck to the serving size which is a measly 2 teaspoons and the only difference it made was turn my coffee from black to a dark milky brown. I prefer my coffee black anyway, but there was literally no noticeable change in the taste of my coffee. I tried it three times and threw the bottle out, because it was useless. I mean, it barely made a change in my coffee so it’s definitely not doing anything for my body. Save your money, and learn to like your coffee without all the cream and sugar. All the caffeine without any of the crap.
5. Celery Juice
I swear, people are always trying to find a way to juice something. I can’t throw a bigger eye roll at this trend. This sh*t blew up on IG, and now EVERYONE is drinking neon green juice in the morning that is completely FIBERLESS and actually just like 90% water anyway. The dude who started off this trend is a health “guru” who is neither certified nor trained, btw, but claims to hear a voice that tells him about other people’s health status. He literally just started drinking the sh*t one day when he was 8 years old because he said a “voice” told him to. Is that who you want to take health advice from? Like, really?
There is absolutely no science backing celery juice as anything else but mostly water, because duh, celery is made up of mostly water. Unless you’re drinking this because you enjoy the taste (and let’s face it, you don’t), I suggest you stop juicing celery and start eating it whole because the fiber is the most valuable part of the celery. And PLEASE PEOPLE, stop trying to juice everything like you don’t have time to eat the actual fruit or vegetable. You’re not that busy, sweetie.