Monday, January 25, 2010

Doing things the "right" way...

I am a Twitter user (@techknowgn).One of the reasons I like it is that I've met a lot of triathletes and learned a lot about triathlons, cycling, training, etc. through people I follow. I talk about video games, my life; anything. Shamefully, I must admit I even use Twitter to advertise the blog on occasion.

I've gotten plenty of spam followers. I've seen everything from women offering adult services to "master" internet marketers who are trying to follow every person who opens a Twitter account.

But today I saw something different, something I'd never seen before

 I got a "tweet" from a company (I'm not going to list their company name or twitter account) offering weight loss services in combination with triathlon coaching services as well. At first I thought, "Cool, these people get you can be overweight and still want to do triathlons. And they even support you in your journey." Then I read some of the details. They ask $350 per month for the weight loss and coaching service. Then I thought "Ok, this is expensive, but maybe they offer a lot." They do have a professional staff with a couple of registered dietitians and have experienced triathletes/coaches doing the coaching.

Then I looked at their other services, and that's when my thoughts about this company changed.

The full service plan for a triathlete who is not looking to lose weight is "only" $295 per month! This plan includes weekly calls and emails with the coach and/or dietitian, while the coaching/dietary help for the weight loss plan only includes weekly emails. Further, the coaching for the weight loss plan is actually their lessor "Victory" (I quoted their name for this plan because I found it to be unintentionally funny) plan, which offers far less coaching support all the while charging $55 more per month for the combined lessor services.

Feeling fairly disgusted with what is certainly taking advantage of Clydesdale and Athena triathletes, I sent a message to the company telling them I thought the only people who should be spending that much money on training and weight loss should be pros.

While I was bothered with this company's approach, I was just going to let it slide; figuring no one in their right mind would pay that much anyways. But then I got a response to my tweet:

"Not for everyone, we agree. But if you want to do it right..."

Do it "right"?

There are tens if not hundreds of millions of people in the United States this very minute struggling with a weight problem. We are a fat country, and Earth is becoming a fat planet. Companies and people all over the world, but particularly here in the US have been talking about theirs being the "right" way to lose weight for damn near 75 years, maybe longer. And it seems each time a new contender steps in the weight loss ring, it comes with a higher price tag than we've seen before.

Do you want to know what the "right" way to lose weight is? Because I can tell you, and I won't charge you a damn thing to do it.


Yep, the right way is whatever gets you to lose weight while still eating and exercising in a healthy way. And the right way doesn't have to cost you $350 a month just for occasional email responses from a coach or dietitian.

Here's an example, and it's an example I know well; because it's what works for me.
  • Gym membership - $35/month. Gym membership prices fluctate, but in this economy I get month to month memberships offered to me all the time for around $30-40 a month.
  • Triathlon Team membership - $65/year. You feel like you need coaching and support? Join a team. Nothing like having a bunch of people to cheer you on, talk about our chosen sport, and have someone you know already at most of the races you do. I'll talk more about the team thing later this week as part of an announcement I'm really excited about.
  • Find a training plan online - free. There are literally hundreds of triathlon training plans online, in the magazines, available in books, etc. I recommend looking online because it's faster than going to the library, and odds are you can find someone who has used it before to give you some feedback. The one we're currently using can be found on TriFuel in their training section.
  • Join an internet community - again, free! There are a bunch of sites on web (Beginner Triathlete, Slow Twitch just to name a couple) that are communities for triathletes. Many have beginner sections, clydesdale and athena specific boards, and even support groups where you're assigned an online mentor who works with a group of athletes each season. All Free!
  • Make friends with the folks at your local multisport shop - Free! Ok, well, technically, you'll probably wind up buying a bunch of equipment, so it isn't completely free. But you'll be doing that anyways, and this way, you get a group of folks who can usually provide you with some pretty sound advice. Because the multisport market is a niche, they cant afford to be pissing off customers by upselling them or providing bad advice. 
Again these are only what has worked for me, and you might want more help than that. If so, more power to you. But if you decide to go a more formal route, use your head and don't let someone take you financially just because you're bigger than their other clients. As a suggestion, look for a registered dietitian on your insurance plan. Find a local coach recommended by friends or competitors. Either way, remember that the right way for you is what works for you.

I just hope it doesn't cost you $350 a month.

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