Atrocious sales pitches are strictly reserved for use only in the fitness industry. Because this is a borderline-indisputable fact in unfortunate real life, I enjoy playing the role of the inquisitive consumer from time to time.
In this particular customer-role-play-adventure, I had no intentions of initiating an attack on supplements. Rather, I was eagerly testing the intellect of a Gold's Gym
trainer, hoping to stumble across an idea for a new fitness-related article. Rather, I was presented with a bountiful opportunity to assault the APEX product line.
For those of you who aren't familiar with APEX, it's a supplement company that makes a different product for every goal. If you want to become lean, you take "APEX Lean." If you want size, you take the size product, strength, the strength product. Whatever your goal is, you take the APEX supplement that has it written on the container. It's extremely
user-friendly, and thus, appeals to the largest consumer population possible. And this makes it easy for gyms to buy from a single manufacturer while still carrying a product for every different goal. It totally simplifies everything while maximizing sales. It's fantastic for gyms.
Because it's fantastic for gyms, it's obviously lucrative for APEX. Therefore numerous other supplement companies adopted a similar marketing approach in attempt to take a cut of the success. As far as I can tell, APEX still dominates more gym shelves than any other brand, however. For this reason, I feel it is acceptable for APEX to take the fall on behalf of all of them.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to Gold's Gym
to quiz the trainer, hoping to generate some ideas for an article totally unrelated to supplements.
Me: "What would you suggest if I wanted to shed a few pounds and try to get this sweet, sweet body cut for the summer?"
Trainer: "Definitely these." He handed me the APEX supplement designed for that goal.
"Right... I'm not really sure I want to spend money on pills. I was actually just hoping to get a routine going."
"Well we could get you started in a program, but it's going to be pretty hard for you to reach your goals by summer without these."
"What do they do?"
"They'll get you shredded way faster."
"I'll explain: where do you think your body does its fat burning at?"
At this point I really
wanted to open up a little physiology to make the exorbitantly cocky him feel bad about himself as a person. But I didn't. Nor did I correct his end-a-sentence-in-a-proposition grammar. "I don't know, where does the body burn its fat?"
"Oh... I totally didn't know that."
"Well it's the truth. Your liver is like a furnace that burns your fat. And if these pills turn up the thermostat, what do you think happens to your fat metabolism when you take them?"
"The liver temperature climbs?"
"Sort of. Basically these pills kick your liver into overdrive and then you end up burning more fat all day long as a result. If you want to get seriously shredded, you need these pills."
"Wow. Okay then. It sounds super, super good. I'll come back and get them later today. Thank you so much!"
That was the general summary of the conversation minus the "make sure you buy them from me" sales pitch at the end.
I found this whole conversation really weird. His argument was logically constructed as far as the rhetoric of it all goes, just weird. I'll explain why in a minute. But first, I had to quiz a few more trainers at other APEX-carrying gyms for consistency's sake. Funny all of them gave me the same line about the liver- how it "jumpstarts" it, the thermostat line, one guy even told me it puts your liver in "hyper drive."
Because the consistency of what everyone was saying was even weirder to me than the original argument, I actually went and found the APEX supplement guide book. This book essentially tells trainers how to formulate a sales pitch for every different supplement they make. I opened up to the supplement in question, and it was all about crankin' the heat up on the liver.
Here's why I found this weird: you don't burn fat in your liver. Your liver has absolutely nothing to do with it. There isn't a single mechanism to utilize fat in any way derived from any liver function whatsoever. It happens in the matrix of your mitochondria and that's not at all your liver. Its only function related to fat in any way, and it's not burning, it's storing. Your fat is transported to the liver if it is to be prepared for storage, so all the fat that goes there becomes body fat. And this isn't a big thing, it hardly even matters, but it allows you to make the argument that "cranking your liver into hyper drive" is effectively the least productive thing you could possibly do to burn more fat.
But it sounds super good to the heavyset guy who doesn't know physiology and desperately wants to be thin because he's so lonely. APEX capitalizes on this guy under the code-name "mainstream marketing." And it's not just this one supplement. That wouldn't conjure up my need to write an entire article about it.
In a state of pure delight, I read through the rest of the APEX book, and I concluded that it's the most bullshit fictional book I've ever opened. Let it be noted that I still own Scratch’n’Sniff storybooks from when I was a little tiny kid that aren't excluded from this comparison. They honestly rival the APEX guide in factual evidence. Granted, though heavily sub par, the APEX book did contain a mediocre amount of acceptable information. But consider also that the author of my Scratch’n’Sniff books probably wasn't creative enough to make up the whole story on pure imagination alone- and instead probably worked plenty of real life people and events into the context of the story, adding a definite nonfiction component. Plus, while flipping through my old storybooks, I saw no indication that they were trying to make up fake-science to con victim readers into further purchases.
Take-home lessons: APEX is ridiculous. APEX-like supplementation is ridiculous. Personal Trainers struggle to sell you worthless products. Especially if it's APEX.
I'm actually taking that exact supplement you were talking about. And I still have half a bottle left, should I keep taking it or just throw it away? Like does the liver do anything else with burning calories that maybe just isn't fat?
No. It makes calories. That's its only real
caloric function. Gluconeogenesis. It takes lactate and alanine to make new sugar. This is both neat, and in not even the most distant way related to any APEX claim. So should you keep taking it? Really it doesn't matter. It's just a placebo, it will neither help nor hurt you. Probably your best option is to cut your losses, and sell the rest of your bottle to a moron. If this goes against moral principle, tell the guy you got amazing
results off just half a bottle. That way he'll have slightly better odds at getting a placebo effect with it.