Charlatans, A-Holes and Trolls

By Will Kuenzel

There are tons of different personalities in the fitness world.  From those that are helpful to those that only create distractions, it’s a unique blend of eclectic folks.  It’s been interesting to watch the different personalities take shape over the years.  As these personalities have unfolded, there’s the good ones and the bad ones.  The bad ones just make the whole social media experience unpleasant.  I want my time spent on social media to either have purpose, or be for entertainment.  I do not want to get on Facebook, or Instagram and get pissed off.  These are a few of the online personalities I try to avoid.

Some folks want nothing more than to see the world burn.  These are your trolls.  They’re simply there to create strife and watch the resulting fallout.  They offer little to no information.  They’re hoping for the biggest reaction and to see people get pissed off.  These individuals often know enough about training, or nutrition to post something inflammatory.  They keep up with current events well enough only in hopes that they’ll be able to piss people off.  Trolls will use whatever knowledge they have to get arguments started.  Then they’ll just continue to argue to keep people coming back for more.  The worst part about trolls is that they change shape all the time.  They’ll change both usernames and stances.  It’s all to give them some entertainment.  Arguments over the internet never result in anything good.  Trolls will almost never stick with calm dialog; it’s no fun.  Getting people worked up and pissed off is a lot more fun, evidently.

Social media tends to bring out the worst in people.  It’s easy to say something online without fear of retaliation.  Just like we used to say that alcohol was liquid courage, so is social media.  It’s really easy to hide behind a keyboard.  There are a few that would say the same snide remark to your face that they post online – most would not.  These are your assholes.  They are often fairly knowledgeable, aside from just your pure assholes that don’t have a clue, but like to argue (see troll).  They love to nitpick and argue over semantics.  They have the potential to be really helpful, but get stuck in the rut of just arguing.  The assholes love to stroke their own egos with postings.  There is a time and place to be an asshole.  I’ve been an asshole quite a bit and will pick my times for it.  Being a miserable presence online doesn’t help.  Most new comers to fitness need something enjoyable to keep at it.  Assholes do not help our cause.

Then you have the charlatans.  These guys are looking to sell you something and will do it by whatever means available.  They love to post amazing things about everything.  Anything that will draw attention to their page or website, from those sappy Facebook stories to actual useful information, the goal is just to simply draw attention.  Charlatans will very happily tell you everything you want to hear just to get you to click over.  They’re very positive and seem to have it all together, but we know that social media isn’t real life.  It’s only what we want it to be.  Charlatans borderline on trolling because they are very adept at feeding misinformation.  Unlike trolls though, they are doing it for their own gain, not just entertainment.  Under it all, they’re trying to sell you something.  Whether it be their own products, or their own coaching, they have an ulterior motive for borderline trolling and spamming posts.

There’s a lot of crossover in all the personalities in the fitness realm.  There’s some truly helpful individuals that border on being assholes simply because they are so blunt and honest.  There’s some assholes that border on trolling.  All trolls are assholes and are just a plague to the internet.  Charlatans can border on trolling with some of the outlandish claims that they’ll make.

It gets difficult to really be able to tell the truth about who is who.  Sometimes you’ll never know, but the one sure fire way to know, who do they associate with?  Those with experience won’t spend time associating with trolls, assholes, or charlatans.  They don’t have the time to waste.  Give a proper screening to anybody you’re following.  Find out if they’re worth the time to follow.  Don’t make your social media experience a bad one.

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Low Country Strength

Will Kuenzel is the owner of Lowcountry Strength ( in Charleston, SC. Will started his athletic endeavors as a pole vault; finishing up his collegiate career with a best vault of 16’9” at a whopping 160lbs. He the track and field world to pursue bodybuilding, his first show in 2005, he won 1st place in Men’s Novice as a middle weight. One year later he took 2nd as a Men’s Junior heavy weight. Since 2007 he has been a competitive powerlifter and totaling elite as a 220lber. His best lifts in multiply equipment are a 710lbs squat, a 605lbs bench press, a 615lbs deadlift and a 1930 total. In 2008 Will started Lowcountry Strength out of his garage. Since then it has moved into a 16,000 sq/ft facility and shares space with a mixed martial arts studio. With all disciplines of powerlifting, strongman, MMA, jiu jitsu and other sports in the Charleston area getting trained under one roof, Will heads up the strength and conditioning for a wide variety of athletes and clients.
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