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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

20 Most Controversial Figures in Health and Fitness

20 Most Controversial Figures in Health and Fitness

With all the conflicting research and pseudo-scientific claims about fitness and training techniques revealed each day, only one thing's for sure: There's more than one way to carve an ab. And as long as we all have a body to experiment on—our own—everyone's a potential expert with a strong take on what to eat, what to do, how to stay motivated and what makes results last. The figures on this list have different credentials, experience, motivation, and goals for making the world stronger, healthier, and sexier. And they all think they've got the answer. There's plenty to argue about.

Tony Horton

This chisel-cheeked motivator  made the idea that a workout should be work mainstream with his hit DVD series. It's filled with controversial exercises and long workouts, but it's one of the few programs of its kind that you can actually do at home. And it gets results.
Jillian Michaels


The spittle-spraying, in-your-face star of NBC's reality weight loss hit gets results on the show, but some people question whether her methods create lasting, healthy weight loss  Despite her popularity, critics also have questioned her qualifications as a trainer and coach, and she’s facing legal action for the products she endorses.
Greg Glassman



He may not have much name recognition, but Glassman created one of the most popular new forms of fitness in America, with gyms popping up as quickly as they can be filled with grunting, shouting classes of devotees. His new breed of fitness also is polarizing: People argue about the training of its coaches, the rigor of its teaching and whether the results are desirable for both men and women.
Mike Boyle



This Massachusetts strength coach has trained and advised athletes at all levels, and he's done it while rejecting one of the oldest moves in the weight room, saying its risks outweigh its benefits. He's also taken strong positions against popular flexibility regimens and has called for coaches to come back to a warm-up that many had dropped.
Robert C. Atkins



He's been dead for almost a decade, but the doctor known for his namesake nutritional approach still starts an argument. His diet, which emphasized eliminating certain types of food while offering unlimited eating of other, traditionally "unhealthy" foods, showed drastic results for many. But questions remain as to the regimen's side effects
Lance Armstrong



Did he, or didn't he? Is the yellow-clad cancer survivor  an American hero or a world-class cheater? Armstrong won the world's premier endurance event a record seven times, but questions remain as to whether he used chemicals to enhance his performance. He's moved on to pitching cellphones and raising money for cancer, so the mysteries surrounding his blood samples and odd behavior around testers may never be solved.

Bethenny Frankel



The star of multiple reality TV hits has marketed herself as a "natural foods chef," but she's come under fire for those claims when it comes to her signature brand of products. She also has published exercise-related products but has a questionable background in fitness.
TC Luoma



Luoma has been covering bodybuilding and gym culture for a long time, including as an editor of a classic magazine owned by one of the pioneers of steroid and supplement culture. But he's not old news and is still ruffling feathers: As editor-in-chief of one of the Web's most popular destinations for bodybuilding he publishes pieces that fly in the face of convention and writes pieces that challenge even the most hallowed fitness rules.
Tracy Anderson



Her client list is filled with famous names, but the weight loss promises Anderson makes are considered too fast and her workout sessions too long and grueling  . The celebrity trainer also advocates for women not to use these staples of traditional strength training, a view that has drawn fire.
Jamie Oliver



His intentions are obviously good, and—through his hit TV show—few have brought more attention to one of the most pressing health issues facing our nation  than Oliver. But his methods have drawn fire as too narrow in choice, and he's gotten flak from animal rights groups for actions on other shows. And some Americans have complained about a British chef tackling this U.S. issue, while the same problem looms large in his home country.
Tim Tebow



What's the right shape for a quarterback? In addition to questions about his throwing motion and overt expressions of his faith, the first-year Denver starter has long sparked talks about what position he should be playing with his thick, powerful body type. He's had success so far, but only time will tell if he changes minds about the ideal shape for a sport, as did one of the world's most successful track athletes who was said to be too tall.
Jeffry Life


You may not know his name, but you've seen his photo: Life is the 70-year-old man with the 25-year-old's bodybuilder body who's been in magazines for more than a decade advertising his "healthy aging" company. The firm's premise involves replacing hormones that are lost with age, but what exactly they provide to clients is secretive and in question. Life's physique and the results his clients see also call into question whether certain substances should be legal to patients.
Chris Rondeau


As CEO of a major national gym chain, Rondeau has used advertising and PR to create the image of a gym culture that has no trainers and excludes exercisers who grunt or perform one of the world's oldest, best exercises. A major men's magazine named his chain America's worst gym, but could the executive be saving money for his company by keeping the most frequent exercisers out of his club?
Michael Warburton


Ten years ago, this Australian physical therapist published a paper that cast doubt on one of fitness' most basic pieces of equipment. Since then, many runners have taken his advice to heart, changing their gait and pulling shards of glass from their feet in what they say is a safer, more natural approach to their sport . Not everyone agrees that it's the way to run , but there's no arguing its influence: the movement has even changed the equipment it shuns.
Bill Phillips


Two of the biggest non-anabolic supplement companies grew and flourished on the words of this former steroid user and publisher. A tireless promoter of not only these products, but bodybuilding itself, Phillips has been one of the most influential figures in fitness history, publishing three books, founding a well-known magazine and producing films about body transformation.
Mark Haub


When it comes to losing weight, a calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from a hamburger or a salad—and Haub set out to prove it. Eating mostly a classic snack cake and almost all junk food, the nutrition professor dropped 27 pounds in just two months, improving his cholesterol numbers at the same time. Some would argue that there's a difference between "good" and "bad" calories, but when it comes to results on the scale, if you cut a certain number of calories from your diet, you'll lose a pound.
Zoe Sakoutis


People have been fasting and performing dietary cleanses for centuries—for bodily and spiritual clarity. But Sakoutis' company has made drinking only juice go from fringe to the front of American minds, with a multiple-level, simple-to-follow, easy to purchase and consume system—the drinks are delivered to your door. The ease of popularity of the system means questions about the safety of cleansing—especially without the counsel of a doctor—come to the forefront as well.
Albert T.W. Simeons


This British endocrinologist has been dead for 40 years, but his long-ago research has spawned one of the most talked- and argued-about diets of this century. The regimen centers around a hormone produced by pregnant women and used by steroid users who are cycling off their drug. Dieters inject this hormone—formerly harvested from horse placentas—and undergo extreme calorie restriction. The diet's popularity grows despite little scientific study and no approval from the FDA.
Dean Karnazes


Karnazes is the face of an extreme sport that is drawing interest and participation by men and women across the country. His feats of endurance are legendary and impressive, but many health advocates question whether the sport he champions pushes the body too far.

Aajonus Vonderplanitz


One of the most popular diets in America involves shunning processed and cooked foods. But Vonderplanitz's version is far more extreme: He eschews vegetables and eats meat in conditions any doctor would consider unsafe. Vonderplanitz claims that eating this way cured his cancer 40 years ago. He also says he had 300 heart attacks before turning 25. His book has sold numerous copies, and some celebrities have adopted his practices, but some question his biography and method.

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