My Thoughts on Head First: Tailor Made Bodies
Tom Fitzgerald, Nutritionist + Fitness Consultant - Review of ABC Documentary
I finally watched the ABC Documentary Head First: Tailor Made Bodies.
Firstly, thank-you to everyone who let me know it was on and have asked my opinion of the show, although I hadn’t seen it and could not really comment yet. It is awesome that people wanted to let me know about the show and hear my opinion.
I found the documentary interesting, but I don’t think that it offered too much information that we didn’t already know.
Here are a few of my thoughts on the topics covered in the documentary.
Anti-ageing and Hormone Therapy.
I am not a medical practitioner, and this is definitely not my area of expertise. Will these treatments halt your ageing? To be honest I don’t know. I would be skeptical of this treatment, since it has not been proven to be either beneficial or safe in the long term.
Training for Aesthetics and/or Stereo.
I really don’t mind what motivates people to train, whether it is performance, appearance, health or anything else. When done correctly, exercise and nutrition bring numerous benefits to all aspects of health.
I understand that people want to look good for certain events, especially where they are photographed (which is all the time now #SELFIE). It is not uncommon for people to train and diet strongly leading up a wedding or any other special event. In this regard, I don’t see training for a music festival to be extremely different. Hang on, let’s be clear that I am not comparing a wedding to music festival. Unless you have Hardwell doing a live set at your wedding, it won’t be near as much fun (and if you do, email my invite to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Issues can arise when this motivation becomes an obsession, and people look to dangerous methods to continually advance. This can lead to use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) and/or body image issues. These are both serious outcomes, but neither of them is caused exclusively by the original motivation for training. In my opinion, they often develop from unrealistic internal or external expectations of outcomes.
This article was written in August 2014. If you want to hear the latest from Integrated Fitness & Nutrition, you are welcome to join our mailing list for exclusive content!
Were the boys on gear?
I got asked this a few times, and I hadn’t seen the show so I couldn’t answer. Now I have seen the show, I still could not make a judgment either way.
Could they achieve physiques like that with four years of hard training and nutrition like they claim? Yes, they definitely could have.
Could they have use PIEDs to get them to the same place? Yes, they could.
Their physiques are as achievable as they are impressive. It is amazing the appearance changes the body can make with hard training and solid nutrition, not to mention a quality fake tan. I'm not saying you will look like that next month, but if you train hard and eat well, you can make a dramatic physical change without chemical intervention.
So why didn’t Gaz show up to the blood test? I don’t know. Would you go and get a blood test if a guy from a TV show asked you to? I don’t think I would… For me, it is a case of innocent until proven guilty for Gaz, even though I didn't like him.
The most interesting person from this show for me was not the aesthetic twins or Gaz, it was Sue.
Sue was told that she was developing metabolic syndrome, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and other complications. Her anti-ageing doctor recommended a series of injections and supplements to reverse this condition, along with diet and exercise.
When the reporter caught up with her one-on-one, she admitted that she lacked discipline for the exercise and nutrition improvements, and hence preferred the supplement regime. When she returned to her doctor, there was minimal improvement. The doctor attributed this lack of improvement to no change in exercise and nutrition.
What I struggle to comprehend is that the potential onset of diabetes was not enough to change her habits in anyway. This was the most interesting aspect of the show for me. I knew that people lack motivation and drive for fitness and nutrition, that’s nothing revolutionary. However, I was surprised that such a medical information was not enough to at least slightly change this.
The show was interesting and I liked how the host immersed himself into the topic. I did not realise how accessible these hormones were through anti-ageing clinics, and how people would manipulate the system to get these products for physique improvements. I think this area of medicine will soon come under a lot of scrutiny following the Essendon and NRL supplement scandals and misuse by others.
I enjoyed the show, and will definitely be tuning in to other episodes during the series.