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May 5, 2020

The 3 Biggest Lies About Online Fitness Programs for Athletes

First let me be clear. People choosing to “move their body” is a healthy habit …one that we are designed as humans to do. The fitness industry on the other hand has used this healthy habit as a way to SELL mindless programs and “fitness plans” to make a quick buck. As a coach for the past 20 years I can attest to witnessing many “fads” and marketed “online fitness templated programs” targeted to a population of folks looking for sexy, insta-result marketed fitness.

With the current pandemic and everyone training from their homes or garage gyms there is an exponential growth in online training plans being sold to the masses with the intention to capitalize on the demand.  I find online fitness “hype” misleading and only contributing to a greater lack of trust in the industry.

Here are the three lies you should stop believing about ONLINE FITNESS PLANS:


CrossFit has made its name through the popular phrase coined by its founder Greg Glassman: “constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity”. Unfortunately, CrossFit has bastardized this phrase and created more dogma in the fitness industry. Amateur coaching enthusiasts have used intensity as a way to market their online programs…” Achieve Elite Performance in 12 weeks!”. This dogma has seeped into many online training programs giving the perception that a “good” program is based on how much you sweat and how exhausted you feel at the end.

Let me shed some light… Let’s first ask what is training?

As an experienced coach I see training as a systematic approach to improve sport performance that is disciplined and scientific based. For athletes who are training for a specific sport or skill… let’s say climbing or biking, the training “method” being used must contribute specifically to the athlete improving their performance while sustaining the athlete’s longevity in the sport. The longer an athlete can safely train and continue improving in their sport the more likely they will increase their chances of reaching their max human potential.

Secondly, let’s define high intensity…

  • In strength training intensity is determined by load. The closer the athlete trains to their 1RM the more intense the session.
  • In endurance training intensity can be measured objectively in watts, lactate, HR etc. The closer the athlete is to their maximums in any of those components will determine that the workout is intense.

The purpose for “Intensity” is most often a planned overloaded progressions to prepare an athlete for competition or objective. I find most online programs use the word “intensity” to increase the “sexiness” of the program design. Again, leading the unconscious buyer down a path that isn’t sustainable…

Don’t get sucked into a program that sells “hard work” for a short period of time and includes ALL the fancy physiological terms like… nasal breathing hypoxia, blood flow restriction and lactate tolerance training etc.  Programs trying sound smarter by saying “when you do this program you will get this effect” – bull-shit. Building a program with a generalized concept and then selling it to the masses as the the “remedy for results” is why the fitness industry is so confusing.

Bottomline THE INDIVIDUAL determines the training program.


  • Intent: what is being “trained”?
  • Modality: what are we using in training plan? bike, weights, running?
  • Human Factor: who are we working with? Age, sex, genetics, motivation….
  • Program: the plan / workout.

As I coach, I am constantly educating athletes that there is an order to follow. There are rules to the game. It’s not random… It’s not whatever-the-fuck. There needs to be a plan and that plan needs to be executed and refined over and over because there is NO SUCH THING as a shortcut through INTENSITY!


A lot of amateur athletes follow online training blogs or programs. It’s easy to understand the appeal. They are typically backed and sometimes programmed by high profile athletes in their sport or realm that makes them more appealing. Your competitive friend may entice you into one of the many ‘competitive’ programs he/she is subscribed to.

However, this is simply clever marketing at play. Don’t be fooled by it. These high-profile athletes who ‘appear’ to follow the “program” likely have a personal coach who individually designs their training plan. How else could they continue to compete at the highest level or achieve their goals? Genetics may certainly play a role, but it’s often professional coaching which allows them to continue their sport.

Get a real coach to guide you and manage your training throughout the year.



This is a big fat lie. Long-term athlete development is a process that takes decades. Take the Winter Olympics for example, what athlete competed with a training history of only 1-2 years? Olympics athletes spend a lifetime dedicated to developing their fitness, skill, and competitive experience to compete at the highest levels in their sport.

To start – look at the physiological characteristics of your sport and what is required to participate. In sport development the layers of progression are determined by biological age, training age, time, genetics, training environment, experiences etc. How can an online program address all the layers it takes to lead you to your TRUE max physical potential? The truth is… it can’t!

Athletes who are looking too fast track to gain or taste success are ultimately limiting their true potential and longevity to participate in their chosen sport. Like I mentioned earlier there is no such thing as a “free lunch”.

Training for sport involves a plan that meets the athlete where their fitness and skill acquisition ends. Some athletes mention that they don’t have the “time” to train for 2-3 hours a day or to dedicate 3-6 years to be great… then look at the alignment of the goal and what you really want from this journey?

Chasing the idea of “INSTA” success is like dipping your toes in the water but never really getting in. You end up missing the depth in your sporting journey and you never grasp the process of mastering even the one thing that grants you access to a deeper, universal understanding. This of course comes down to the total experience… and what “experiences” do you really want?

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