My new year’s wish is that media outlets one day are required to substantiate the things they print, like “15-Minute Flat Belly Workout”. Does anyone believe that they will get a flat belly by doing 15 minutes worth of ab exercises? I think it’s shameful. And harmful. Because some people will believe it. And they’ll try it. And then they’ll be disappointed when they don’t get a flat belly from it, because flat bellies come from sound nutrition and regular exercise; not from 15 minutes of daily ab work.  What if those people conclude that since they were unable to get the body they want with that program, that no program will work for them?  If you ever see me when I read one of these magazine headlines, take a look at my ears –  you’ll probably see steam coming out, and if you listen carefully, odds are you’ll hear a whistling sound.

I didn’t actually see the magazine; my brother did, and mentioned it in a joking “I can’t believe they print that” tone. I kept thinking about it, and that I wished I could provide a retort to each of these articles to give people the perspective they deserve. That got me thinking about why I do what I do. A few different smart and successful people have told me on different occasions that you have to understand your why to make it as an entrepreneur. Helping people with sound and helpful exercise and nutrition advice and coaching is my why.

In fact it’s a big part of what motivated me to quit my job as an engineer and become a personal trainer. If you have a job where your work, regardless of whether it’s good or bad,  just ends up on a shelf somewhere, then you know the yearning to do something that actually matters. Even if it pays less.

I actively implement my why everyday. I stand on my virtual soapbox and spread the word that:

  • Success for most people requires getting past the need to lose all the weight now
  • It will take more than 15 minutes
  • Unless you’re a real superhero, it’s best to have goals that are reasonable and achievable for mere mortals
  • It is possible to improve your health and body composition
  • It doesn’t have to be excruciating

And then I get to blather on about the many health and other benefits like weight loss, improved energy, reduced pain, and even improved mental function.

I look forward to having more and more people turning their backs on the quick fix and tuning in to soapbox broadcasts like mine that provide honest but achievable approaches.

In fact I’m not even going to apologize for using today’s soapbox to refer you to my Get Lean program. Yes technically that makes this a sales letter, but here’s the thing: it’s a great program! It’s all about making some simple changes in a reasonable time frame, with a focus on achievable goals, and on long term habit changes so that those who try it continue to see success long after finishing the program. That’s not to say everyone will lose weight on this program. It’s a good program, but it is not a magic pill, and that means not everyone will have complete success. But everyone will take something from it. If someone feels they didn’t get anything out of it I’ll happily provide a refund.

If I have turned you off with this selliness, then my apologies. And rest assured it isn’t the new direction for my blog. It’s just that, if I’m going to really have success at countering the 15 minute flat belly crap, I need reach more people. And if I keep taking digs at fitness magazine and newspaper articles, I’m not likely going to do it by getting published in them!

So there you go – that’s my why. Well that and helping people train around, through, or after injuries or other challenges that make exercise tricky to sort out. Ya, I have a pretty awesome job. Although it is not without hardship! Running my own personal training business is both the most rewarding and the most challenging job I have ever had. 

What’s your why?

Elsbeth Vaino, CSCS, is a personal trainer who may have an opinion or two. 

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for my (non-spammy) newsletter

* indicates required

Email Format


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *