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How To Spot A Fake Rolex - Tucson Personal Training Blog

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How To Spot A Fake Rolex - Tucson Personal Training Blog

By: Jerry Trubman - Owner and Founder

What does this subject have to do with exercise/nutrition? More than you might imagine.

Have you ever fallen for something that, in hindsight, you realized was pretty dumb? I have. Many times. I suppose that’s one of the cool things about getting older… attaining new levels of wisdom. Wisdom is very different from book smarts and street smarts, and it seems like the only way to attain it is with time. Trial and error are great teachers. In my programming presentations during workshops, I always say that if success leaves clues… failure leaves step-by-step detailed instruction. As a business owner, husband, strength coach, and human, I’ve failed many many times.

Failures as a coach/business owner seem to be the hardest on me, because this is the place where those failures let a bunch of other people down. Anyone who owns a business knows that our days, weeks, months, and years are just cycles that go between feelings of being on top of the world, followed by feelings of miserable failure. However, each of these cycles (similar to cycles in training), allow one to re-emerge stronger, more resilient, and armed with nuggets of wisdom to make the next cycle better. 

As we accumulate these nuggets, we can start to organize them into big-picture ideas that we call principles. Harrington Emerson said that tactics are many, but principles are few. I’ve acquired a number of these principles over the years, and today I’d like to share with you one of them… how to spot fakes.

I’m my younger years, I was a bit of a watch guy (it’s how I chose the title of this post). One of the obvious primo watches to own is a Rolex. They’ve been so popular for so many decades that, of course, there are imposters. Some are better than others… I live in Arizona and since we’re so close to the border, we get to see many cheap knock-offs from Mexico. My dad, also a watch guy, used to call this watch an “Ole!” The way the joke goes is that you’d buy one, and shortly after the “R” and the “X” would fall off and you’d be left with an “Ole” watch (for my non-Spanish speaking friends, “Ole” is an exclamation of approval or encouragement commonly used in bullfights, flamenco dancing, and other Spanish or Latin American events).

The most obvious way to tell a fake Rolex is the second hand. On a genuine Rolex that hand ‘sweeps’ as opposed to ‘ticking’ like most watches. There are two other easy tells: The crown on the winder of a genuine Rolex is carved in the metal (knock-offs usually have a cheap looking crown that is obviously glued on to the winder), and weight of the watch: Rolex’s are typically pretty heavy, while fakes are much lighter.

To further complicate things, there are also a number of Swiss-made Rolex replicas. These are much harder to tell apart from the real deal. They are significantly more expensive; but still much cheaper than a real one. Some are so good that the only way to really tell if it’s fake is to have an experienced watchmaker remove the back and inspect the movement. I can assume there have been many instances where an individual paid over $1,000 for a “Rolex” only to find out later that it was just a very well-made knock-off. Ouch!

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Like many things in life, when something sounds to good to be true, it often is. Workout gadgets and diets often fall into this category. This brings me to the big-picture principle I’d like to share with you today: How do you spot a fake?

The easiest way to spot a fake is to compare it to the real thing.

A fake Rolex only looks cool until you hold a real one up next to it.

On the rare occasions when Marie and I find ourselves in social settings, it seems like the minute people find out what we do for a living, we are immediately inundated with questions about diet. However, that’s not the weird part. The weird part is that before we can have a chance to answer their questions, we are lectured about diet from the same person that just asked the question, as well as from others within earshot. I’m wondering if there are other professionals who suffer from this?

One of the reasons could be is that we are all constantly flooded with marketing that is disguised as fitness/nutrition advice, so it’s easy to feel like an expert. Sometimes spotting a fake is easy: A number of years ago, I had an info table set at up a local fair (back when I used to do that sort of thing) and they put me two tables away from a husband and wife couple who were peddling the latest and greatest multi-level-marketing weight loss miracle cure. Their shirts had, in big bold letters, across the back:


The Problem? The husband was over 300 pounds and the wife wasn’t much smaller. Needless to say, they didn’t sell too many pills and shakes that day…

Sometimes, however, we get a very nice swiss-made replica in the fitness world: We see a chiseled stud of a man with eight-pack abs selling a similar product. People tend to gravitate more towards this guy and want to buy whatever he’s selling. How do tell a fake here? Easy… we look at what kind of results his customers are getting. Does he have a long list of success stories? Would he let us talk to some of his loyal students?

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I have to admit that in my years as a young and easily impressionable gym rat and rookie trainer, I tried every pill, lotion, and potion known to man. It took a long time to sift through all this garbage to figure out what works for me. I still believe that the best way to figure out what works best for you is to become your own N=1 experiment (click here for an explanation).

Here are some principles I use to spot fakes… if a program violates any of the following, you may be looking at an ‘Ole!’ watch:

* Quality, consistent, drug-free sleep for at least 7 hours per night (some of us need more) is the first step in any health/wellness regimen. If your lifestyle cannot accomplish this, changing your lifestyle to make it happen must come before anything else. No sleep = No recovery. Without recovery, nothing else happens optimally. Seriously… if you’re not getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night (preferably more), you can stop reading here. 

*If a diet doesn’t create a calorie deficit in some way, you will not lose weight.

*(follow up to #1) If you are always hungry, in a matter of time the diet will fail. There is a delicate balance to creating the proper caloric deficit. 

*Any diet that heavily restricts a macronutrient (fat, protein, carb) cannot be sustained long-term.

*A strength training program that does not cause some degree of stress to recover from will not make you stronger. If you’re pressing little pink 5lb dumbbells at your gym, then going home and picking up your 15 pound purse, or 30 pound kid, I hope your workout is (at least) fun, because it’s certainly not effective.

*A strength training program that does not provide sufficient time to recover from the above-mentioned stress is unsustainable long-term.

*Cardio isn’t everything… but it is something. If you can’t walk to the second story of your house without needing to take a break halfway, it will have an affect on your 1-rep max deadlift.

There are others, but this definitely covers the gist of it. How about you? What principles do you use to spot fakes? I’m looking forward to being entertained by your comments on this one…

Until next time,

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached "Team Protocol" to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Marie and dog Sadie. To subscribe to his blog, click here.

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