About getting fitness information online...

Many of my personal training clients are office workers. I know that some of them get fitness information online, but how much of that information is good? I was browsing through a few subreddits on popular site reddit.com for about 15 minutes today and came across a great deal of bad fitness there as well. I also find some popular men's and women's magazines that get it all wrong, despite their intentions.

So how do you wade through the huge amount of information online and weed out the good from the bad? I have a few tips:

1) Understand the context of the information you're searching for and adjust the application of that material based on your individual situation.
If you're researching the current Mr. Olympia Phil Heath and decide to do the same exercise program he uses, you will end up very injured. Phil has been doing what he does for a very long time and has a lot of pharmaceutical assistance. He has had time for his muscles, bones and connective tissues to adapt to the extreme stresses he places on them and his nervous system is adapted to insane amounts of intense training. He does this for a living and you (probably) don't.

2) Reject Supplements or protocols that claim to "cleanse" or "detoxify" you. They are inherently deceptive. Your body is self-cleaning. The only things you can do to detoxify is to avoid toxins in your food and drinks, eat organic food from farms and not processed food from factories. Drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Popular fasts like the "Master Cleanse" claim to cleanse your body and kickstart your metabolism. In reality they are unhealthy because you're not getting the two essential macronutrients, fat and protein. The result of this are not a cleaner or leaner body. Your metabolism slows to a crawl. Your blood sugar dips and spikes. Instead of burning fat your body starts squirting out lots of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes you to retain fat around your midsection. Then your body starts breaking down your muscle to retrieve protein instead of getting it from your diet. Your brain, connective tissues like ligaments and tendons and the meniscus in your knees and discs in your back are all made from fat you ingest. Enough said?

3) Check the sources - If the article or site is talking about research studies, do they provide links? Are these links to peer-reviewed medical journals? Don't trust wild claims about information from scientific studies if those studies aren't provided or if the author is unable to provide them if you ask. Anyone giving fitness information online should have credentials to back it up or be able to point you to those studies to show they have read them.

4) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. How does it hold up on further investigation? Over time? This is specifically for ridiculous things like "The Cookie Diet". C'mon? Really? This is also true for weightloss programs that help you lose weight without exercise. This isn't doing you any favors and it doesn't take into account the loss of muscle you experience trying to lose weight without resistance training. Who wants to lose muscle?