One quick lesson in B.S. fitness marketing

Posted on November 28, 2012

(Last Updated On: April 11, 2016)

Hmm, it smells like a certain something…

This is something that consistently annoys me, although I get annoyed easier than most, so others may not care.

Here is one quick way of knowing if someone is simply trying to sell you something / doesn’t know what they’re saying / is just an asshole. At least in the health and fitness industry. Young males should especially take note here.

“I gained 20 pounds of muscle! You can too. Blah, blah, blah, I’m full of shit.”

This is of the vain, “I went from 180lbs to 200lbs with no fat gain. That’s right, 20 pounds of muscle!”

No, you didn’t.

Here’s the thing these 5th grade math illiterate people forget, or choose to ignore. Let’s say the person was 10% body fat at 180 pounds.

180 pounds x .10 = 18 pounds of fat

Or 162 pounds (180 – 18) of non-fat (notice I didn’t say muscle here)

Now they’re 200 pounds, BUT REMEMBER, they didn’t gain “any” fat. So, that means they still have exactly 18 pounds of fat on their frame. Thus,

18 pounds  of fat / 200 pounds total = .09 or 9% body fat.

You’re telling me you gained 20 pounds and simultaneously DECREASED your body fat percentage???

Or maybe this is what you said, “I gained 35 pounds of pure muscle. I’m X amount of pounds now at the same body fat percentage as before.”


180 pounds x .10 percent body fat = 18 pounds of fat

And now you are:

180 + 35 pounds = 215 pounds ->

215 pounds * .10% BF= 21.5 pounds of fat

I believe 21.5 is greater than 18. I believe that’s how a percentage works.

Also, you’re “forgetting” you probably gained a few pounds of water, a few pounds of glycogen, some bone, some weight in your stomach, etc. Let’s say around 9 pounds or so for this group of factors.

So, in actuality, you gained 3.5 pounds of fat and 9 pounds or so of “other.” 35 pounds – 3.5 – 9 = 22.5 pounds left for muscle, roughly. A far cry from your initial assertion. (Never mind the fact that’s a lofty amount of muscle relative to fat.)

The only way someone could proclaim these numbers is if they’re a complete newbie, on steroids, selling you something, or full of shit. Either way, it’s just about a guarantee they’re misrepresenting themselves.

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