As Peter Lynch, author of One Up on Wall Street said:
“Never invest in an idea you can’t illustrate with a crayon.”
Meaning, if you can’t explain what a company does in 30 seconds or less, you shouldn’t invest in it. If you don’t fully know and understand something, why would you put your money into it?
An example of a relatively easy company to understand would be Amazon:
They’re one of the world’s largest eCommerce destinations, offer membership-based services (shopping, music, video, etc.), and power a large percentage of the internet with their Amazon Web Services Platform.
There’s a lot more to be said about what Amazon does, but this sums it up quite nicely.
On the other hand, let’s look at an exciting, cutting-edge company like Illumina (via Wikipedia):
Illumina develops, manufactures and markets integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and biological function.
As you can see, explaining what Illumina does to someone would be a tall task. While Illumina could change the world, outperform Amazon, and be the better investment, how confident would you be putting your money on the line?
Okay, what does this mean for your fitness and health? More than you think.
While researching and filming a few supplement reviews, I was reminded of how much misinformation and false promise there is in the fitness industry. For instance, one ingredient in a popular product I researched was shown to be 100% ineffective in humans but may cause rectal bleeding or GI distress.
Which brings us back to Lynch’s question: If you don’t fully understand what a diet, training style, or product does to your body, why would you feel confident spending your time and money on it?
It’s more important than ever to be skeptical and do your homework on people, products, and companies.
Warning signs that should trigger your BS-radar:
- Promises of drastic results – if it sounds too good to be true, it is
- Dogma – if someone tells you there’s only one way to get fit, run away
- Quick fixes – real, sustainable results with your health and physique take a long time and there’s no way around it
- Lack of transparency – if you have trouble finding information about something, there’s either inadequate evidence or the evidence has been hidden
- Proprietary blend – if you see this on a nutritional product’s label, there’s a good chance you don’t want to take it
Even when you don’t come across any warning signs, it’s important to ask yourself, “Could I explain why I’m doing what I’m doing or taking what I’m taking to someone in 30 seconds or less?” This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert. You only need to do enough research to understand how the “benefits” occur from a method or product and if you’re a good candidate for the potential benefits.
Creatine supplementation, for example, has evidence-based benefits ranging from increased exercise performance and lean body mass to aiding with depression and the prevention of neurological disease. Since that’s such a broad spectrum, it would be wise to take creatine just for the sake of covering all your bases, right? And because a simple thing like creatine could be so beneficial, it would be easy for me to sell you on a souped-up version that gives 10x the benefits of “regular” creatine.
So that’s exactly what companies have done – created super-versions of creatine when all of the research was done on dirt-cheap creatine monohydrate. But you wouldn’t have known that without doing your homework and being able to explain why you’re supplementing with creatine. – How does the product you’re taking work physiologically? 30 seconds. Ready? Go.
Ask more questions, do your research, and save your hard-earned money for things that actually better yourself. Or hey, maybe even investing.
If you’d like to learn more about researching products or supplements, click here to watch the video review I mentioned.
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