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The ‘Fake Natty’ Problem – Social Media Fitness

YouTube fitness, TikTok fitness or any other social media fitness scene has a problem. The ‘fake natty’ problem. ‘Fake natty’ is short for the term fake natural. There are numerous fitness influencers on social media who’ve amassed hundreds of thousands and even millions of followers, promoting a healthy lifestyle, but they leave out one key ingredient to achieving their lean, muscular physiques. Anabolic steroids.

While many people don’t have a problem with these influencers taking steroids and being transparent about it, people are less forgiving towards those who sell supplements and programs on the basis of their image. Consumers who don’t know any better, usually impressionable kids, will buy influencer programs in the hope of looking like their favourite influencer. They’ll fail to reach what they set out to achieve and may even give up altogether, not knowing that the influencers themselves didn’t even use their own programs and were getting ‘assistance’ via anabolic enhancement.

Oftentimes influencers don’t have the required experience and qualifications that a specialist has, and many people conflate number of followers with knowledge. While the ‘fake natty’ problem is a phenomenon associated with the internet and social media, it has been around for decades.

This ad of Joe Nazario’s ‘Tonometric’ exercise program in 1980 is very much in line with the ads of that time that oversold its results, such as increasing your vertical jump by 6 inches in 6 weeks, or getting an Atlas body in 7 days. It claims this secret method would give you “fantastic brute strength” in just 90 seconds a day, working out each muscle group for only 5 seconds. An arbitrary table is also provided, claiming a person aged 30 would get up to a 200% amount of improvement; a specific definition of this ‘improvement’ isn’t given.

In the ad, Nazario states that these improvements aren’t “tiny differences” but “great changes” that you can get in your office during your coffee break. No weights or gym needed. Unsurprisingly, the ad doesn’t mention anything about anabolic steroids.

While some people will still fall for ads of this nature due to simply not knowing any better, awareness of the ‘fake natty’ problem and widespread steroid use has grown considerably. The general public don’t hold back on calling out ‘fake natties’, particularly when they are selling an unachievable dream to unsuspecting youth. If the tonometric system was promoted today, it probably wouldn’t last long in today’s social media environment.

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