Fitness Industry B.S. - 8 Negative Fitness Messages

The end of the year and holiday season offers many opportunities to network and meet new people.  All the additional events I have attended have increased my parties/month average for the year.  In the numerous conversations I have had at these parties, mostly consisting of small talk and elevator pitches about your profession; I get a little annoyed when I have to hear people say, ‘Ugh! I hate working out.’  Then, it is followed with a conflicting statements, ‘ I am so out of shape, there's no way I'm gonna workout.’  The truth is, after I hear that a couple times at a party, I am ready to leave.  Hearing this is a bit of a drag.  It is like meeting a successful French Chef, and then telling them, ‘Ugh! I hate French food.’  I hope you get my point.

With one day left in 2014, the fitness industry is blitzing an array of messages.  Most of these message are absolute bullsh*t.  So it occurred to me, that I can not blame people for their negative sentiments about fitness.   So many of the messages are negative, if not misleading.  I am not even talking about the visuals portrayed on magazine covers.  I am aggravated by the crap real fitness professionals in the industry perpetuate.  So, I call bullsh*t on these non-truths that trainers, TV personalities and even researchers circulate.  They are why many people I meet at parties tell me, ‘I hate working out!'

  • No pain, no gain: This is crap!  There is no reason you need to experience pain in order to improve your fitness level or your body mass index.  Onset muscle soreness and stiffness should not be placed in the same category as pain.  Pain is defined as physical suffering.  Pain after a workout is a sign of muscle or joint damage.  The goal of fitness is: 1. to improve the overall health of a person, 2. while lowering their body fat percentage and 3. promoting proper alignment and functionality of the body.  Sounds technical - but it is responsible and non-intimidating.
  • ‘XXXblankXXX’ will turn fat into muscle:   When someone figures out how to turn lead into gold, then this will be a true statement.  Whether it is a newly discovered food, a magical supplement or the latest workout trend, you can not literally turn fat into muscle.  A workout regiment or magic pill does not have the power of an alchemist.  I realize we call them chemists today, but if I was a master alchemist - I wouldn’t bother with an anti-fat pill, I would own a company called King Midas and literally turn lead into gold.
  • Do more minutes of cardio, to burn more fat:  If you think this, you need to take down your poster of  Jamie Lee Curtis in ‘Perfect’.  This is such an 80's way to think.  It is very simple.  Resistance training will build more muscle, more muscle will decrease your fat percentage.  More muscle, less fat, in turn will burn more fat.  Changing your body composition will improve your metabolism. A mixture of strength training, interval training, cardio drills, total body movements will accomplish this.  Today, there are so many fun and safe ways to participate in an interval training program.
  •  Running will get you in the best shape, the quickest:  I am not denouncing the sport of running (i.e. marathons, triathlons, 10Ks races, etc..).   Running as your primary form of exercise will cause more injuries than participating in any 2 - 3 other physical activities.  Running can be one fitness exercise you perform.  And, I do believe everyone should know how to run and swim properly.   But running marathons and long distances is an actual sport.  It should not be a person’s sole fitness regiment.   Not to mention, running will not get you in shape faster than metabolic training regiments or well-designed interval training.
  •  All you need is to workout, in order to lose weight:  The ability to make long-term and positive changes to your physique is tied to two simple actions - eating healthy and physical activity.  Just working out is not enough.  You can not eat whatever you want all the time, even if you workout.   I know what you are thinking.   Your buddy Phil, eats Taco Bell every day for lunch, he plays basketball twice a week and he is a total rail.  Or, your cousin Amanda,  who drinks a six pack and then binges on Hot Pockets, yet her body is smokin.  These are anomalies.  Simple advice - find 5-10 healthy things you like to eat.   Eat them more often and workout twice a week for 30 minutes each.  This will create lasting changes to your body.
  • You need to take supplements to gain muscle:  Supplements are intended to be used in addition to food if you do not consume enough calories.  If you are that person at the party that tells a trainer how much you hate working out, then you are not the person who needs to worry about supplements.  If you are a novice exerciser, you need to look at how to simply increase your total body activity and how to eat more healthy foods.  I go back to my simple advice from above- find 5-10 healthy foods you enjoy, eat them more often and workout for 30 minutes twice a week (this is your minimum).
  • If you do more abs, you can get rid of belly fat:  There is no such thing as spot reduction.  Like I mentioned above, you need to control the food you put in your body and be involved in a total body workout program.  Your metabolic or interval style workout program only needs to be 30 minutes in length and does not need to cause you pain.  It should incorporate abs (i.e. sit up or crunches), but just doing sit-ups every day will not eliminate your belly fat.  Your abs might be strong, but they will be covered with fat tissue if you are still eating like crap.
  • To avoid injuries when working out, use the machines, not free weights:  I understand the value of weight machines.  They offer a more comfortable chair and support structure for a novice to use.   And truth is, if the machines are the only way you will get strength training done, then great! Use the machines.  But machines in general, are not better than free weights (i.e. straight bars, kettle bells, medicine balls, free weights, dumbbells, etc..). Free weights will provide a better workout and will recruit more muscle during your exercises.  They also help to improve the health of the joints and benefit the body’s ability to be functional.

Each of these statements create fear and hesitation for a person who already has apprehensions about working out.  It is like calling a kid stupid every time they make a mistake- they might grow up believing they are stupid and therefore the foundation of their confidence as a person is cracked.  Misleading headlines, inaccurate fitness professionals, deceitful fitness products, all of them - do not recruit more exercisers.  If you have told someone how much you hate working out - reconsider.  Find a positive, motivating and fun fitness trainer, program or environment.  Give it another try.  Most of the things we say we hate, is due to fear or a bad experience.  Do not listen to the negative messages and I promise there is someone in your area that can give you a positive fitness experience.

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