Fitness influencer fraudulence: lies and deception

The problem with social media nowadays is anyone can claim to be an expert on anything, even if it is just a hobby or passion. For example, most popular fitness accounts have no training or certificates that give them the knowledge or power to be recommending their followers exercise routines or nutritional plans.    

There is no way to regulate these people and in fact most of the time they are praised for whatever it is they are trying to promote. Followers are so overcome by the transformation that the influencer has made that they want anything that will transform them in the same way, disregarding their credentials.

This is a great business for fitness social media influencers because they do not have to go through all of the steps of getting certified which are costly and can take several months or longer to finish. Instead, they get to reap the benefits without going through the proper steps.

Many credible and educated fitness professionals are overlooked because their accounts are not as aesthetically pleasing and they give knowledgeable answers that are not always easy to understand. Also, most of the time people do not want intelligent answers because they want what is fastest and easiest to understand. The less effort the better which is ironic considering they are looking to start a fitness routine which takes a lot of effort.

Most recently a fitness influencer named Brittany Dawn has been under fire for scamming her followers and so called clients. She has been operating online since 2013 and has a very large following on Youtube and Instagram. Years ago she claimed that she was NASM (National Association of Sports and Medicine) certified but now according to “she received a National Association of Sports and Medicine certification as a 'fitness and nutrition specialist' four years ago.”These are two very different certifications. The fitness and nutrition specialist certification is meant as an add on to a personal training certificate, not in place of it.  

Not only does she not have the credentials to be making personal workout routines, but she barely has the knowledge or power to give nutritional advice. Brittany Dawn (real name Brittany Davis) has been slammed by followers who bought her supposedly custom made training plans. Customers have been complaining for the last five years but their complaints were not seen because Dawn would delete rude comments and then block them.    

Many followers turned customers were promised personalized training and nutrition plans as well as access to Dawn through phone or email but were ultimately met with disappointment. Customers claimed her workouts were generic and not tailored like promised. Some customers never even received their individualized plans. Customers also complained about her not answering phone calls or emails. One woman “would receive emails telling her 'girl, you're doing great!' despite the fact that she had not lost any weight or inches since she started the exercises or diets,” according to Customers want justice for Dawn’s wrong doings.

Feb 6 she posted an apology video titled “My Public Statement About The Past 24 Hours” to her Youtube account. Saying "at times, it was overwhelming and I took on more than I should have. And for that, I take full responsibility and I am sorry.” However people were not accepting of her apology in the comments section. One person saying, “what workout do you use for those crocodile tears?”

Thousands of fans and clients have felt betrayed by Brittany Dawn and continue to fight for getting their money back. Influencers like Dawn and many others build a following off of those wanting to lose weight and reach their goals. However, this is not the first time that a social media influencer has let down their followers. In a world run by social networking and the desire to look and feel our best, people can be strung along by the promise of a healthier life. Being aware of influencer’s backgrounds can save someone time, and also their hard earned money.