Hungrily Eating The Marketing Lie


The athletic apparel industry has reached an absolute zenith in popularity. Nike. Under Armour. Reebok. Adidas. Our culture cannot get enough of these brands. We obsess over them.

But with good reason, right? Buying athletic apparel makes us faster, stronger, more powerful. Our shirts read “Beast”, “Unstoppable” and “Elite” across the front of them. We snatch up the latest iconic shorts, shoes, shirts, socks, pants, hoodies, whatever we must buy to prove to everyone at our local gym that we are serious about fitness.

Oh, and don’t forget about fit-bits and wireless headphones and Spotify workout playlists and lifting gloves. Without these necessary items you will have an immensely hard time getting in the best shape of your life. You’ll be a full step behind your competition. And don’t even think for a second that you could have an effective workout without your pre/during/after protein shake and vitamin supplement. These are vital. Not optional.

A Simple Solution…

This is the marketing lie we have hungrily been eating from the athletic apparel industry. We have been told that in order to get healthy and fit there is a simple solution resting at our fingertips: simply purchase their merchandise.

So why is it that this industry has blossomed into a several billion dollar powerhouse while obesity, heart problems, and diabetes are ravishing the developed world at a seemingly unstoppable rate? If our culture is so obsessed with athletic apparel and technology designed to help us get in shape, why are we more out of shape than ever?

Here’s a hint. Buying a shirt that says “Beast” on the front of it will not make you a beast. Nor will buying wireless headphones make you workout more often. Oh, and drinking a protein shake before and after every workout won’t compensate for a diet overflowing with fat and sugar. The uncomfortable truth is that in order to get in shape you have to eat a balanced diet and workout regularly and intensely. But that’s so mundane. That requires effort.

…But An Ineffective Solution

Herein lies the advantage marketing possesses: they offer us a simple solution to our health problems. Instead of working out or focusing on what you eat you can just buy their latest line of apparel that makes you feel like you’re in shape.

What a simple solution to a complex problem.

Unfortunately, it’s an ineffective solution. But it feels like it might be the right answer to our problem. The act of buying new sleek, shiny headphones really does make us feel like we’re taking a positive, noticeable step towards improving our physical health and well being. After all, the guy or girl wearing the headphones in the advertisement is in tremendous shape. The headphones must be their secret.

This problem spans across all consumer industries, not just athletic apparel. The automotive industry tells us that in order to give off a vibe of being powerful you simply need to buy the latest sports utility vehicle they happen to be offering. Women are told that in order to attain true beauty they just need the latest Victoria’s Secret lingerie.

People believe that by purchasing these goods they’ll somehow transform into the person they wish they were. We all want to be more powerful, stronger, slimmer, more attractive, more confident. And marketers are all too aware of this. They tell us we can possess all of these wonderful traits if we own their merchandise.

Work Required…

Consumer goods do not intrinsically change who we are as people.

This is why you aren’t suddenly more confident in yourself after buying a new vehicle. It’s why you don’t wake up a week after buying new workout pants with six pack abs.

Anything in life worth having will never, ever come easy. You must work to get what you want. You must work to become the person you wish you were. You must diligently
practice day in and day out to acquire the traits you wish you had. Getting in shape will require eating the right foods and working out on a regular basis. There are no quick-fix solutions to these challenging problems.

Our culture loves purchasing consumer goods but we have a strong aversion to hard work. We buy new gym shoes but we don’t go to the gym. We buy a new fit-bit but we still opt for the elevator instead of the stairs. We buy protein powder but we still eat garbage at every meal. Apparel, merchandise, gadgets, and the latest technology will not change our behavior. Only we possess that ability.

…Do The Work

Stop wasting money on consumer goods in an attempt to become the person you wish you were. Put in the work required to become that person instead. Wake up from the marketing coma. Realize that nothing you can buy will instantly turn you into the best form of yourself. Only your actions can do this.

Please, save your money. You don’t need to buy the latest and greatest apparel and technology to become the best version of yourself. You already possess the ability to become that person. It just requires time and effort.

Let everyone else run around flaunting their new apparel and high-tech gadgets while you put your head down and do real work.  Admittedly this is hard. It requires discipline. But ultimately it’s the only path that leads to the best version of yourself possible.

Feature photo credit: plate

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3 Replies to “Hungrily Eating The Marketing Lie”

  1. Hahaha, this is very true. It’s a hell of a lot easier to buy a $60 shirt than work out every day.

    I avoid this by trying new habits/activities without spending money first. Once you know you can do stuff for nearly free, the temptation to buy “supportive gear” fades away.

  2. Yeah but if Tom Brady tells me $90 ceramic lined pajamas are going to reduce swelling and help me to be an All Pro and maybe marry a super model… I mean, c’mon. He’s Tom Brady.

  3. I fell for this when I was young. Around middle school I started working out, I went to the store to buy some workout shorts because I didn’t have any. I picked out a pair of Nikes because they were comfortable and I had seen the brand on TV. I went to check out and they were outrageously expensive. I just assumed that’s how much workout shorts cost. I didn’t understand the difference between store brand and consumer gear.
    My strategy now is: if it is free it is probably good enough to get the job done. Like My Fitness Pal which helps you count calories and is totally free. They make it easy to calculate calories and you can use it to see details about your nutrition. This is much more effective than buying a new toy. If you can’t get it for free the cheapest option usually works well enough for anyone who isn’t a professional, which is most of us.

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