Whether we admit it or not, we women especially, suck up every bit of fitness and weight loss advice we can find. We follow fad diets, take that magic fat burning pill, join gyms, buy the latest and greatest equipment to “shrink those trouble zones,” and scour the magazine racks looking for that quick fix to take years of neglect off of our bodies.
Newsflash! Most of the advice we follow is crap meant to entice us to open our wallets.
Here is some other bad advice I found, and the rationale behind why it’s advice you should ignore:
- If you exercise you can eat all you want and still lose weight: Not true. You can’t stuff your pie hole full and expect to burn off the calories with exercise alone. The National Weight Control Registry, established in 1994 by scientists at the University of Colorado and Brown Medical School, followed more than 10,000 Americans who have lost weight and kept it off for years. Just 1% kept the pounds off with exercise alone, 10% did it with diet alone, and 89% balanced eating healthier foods, controlling their portions and incorporating regular exercise into their lives.
- Never squat below parallel (no more than 90° angle to your knees): Not True. The National Institutes of Health published a manuscript of a study focused on Knee Joint Kinetics in Relation to Commonly Prescribed Squat Loads and Depths that supports the following squat guidelines: to avoid injury to your knees and hit the “sweet spot” for sculpting firm muscles, you need to drop your butt as low as you can while maintaining your balance so your glutes kick in and do the work.
- NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Absolutely Not true. An article in Psychology Today, written by Dr. Michael Otto, author of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, confirms that all of our coaches and personal trainers are wrong. “If you’re not an elite athlete and you’re exercising for the health benefits, including better heart health, improved mood, weight regulation, increased energy, or getting more sleep, there is no need for pain. You can attain all of these benefits with minimal discomfort.”
- You aren’t fit unless you have a 6 pack: NOPE NOT TRUE. Scientific American notes that the healthy range for a 20- to 40-year-old man’s body fat is 8-19%. To get those perfect 6-pack abs men usually have to dip well below 8%, which is dangerous because their bodies actually have too little fat. Serious damage can result from trying to achieve and maintain a 6-pack: weakened immune system, genital problems, damage to the heart and nervous system, shrinkage of internal organs, and, even worse, death.
- Doing lots of cardio will result in weight loss: Not Entirely True. In a Shape Magazine article, Chris Artis writes that, “Diet is the most important part to weight loss and… long, slow ‘steady-state’ cardio training has been shown to deplete T3, the thyroid hormone that controls metabolism—especially in women. Normal T3 levels allow our bodies and muscles to function efficiently, but too little T3 (hypo-thyroidism) puts the body in a state where fat is gained more easily, regardless of activity levels. That’s why many casual gym-goers can spend lots of time on a treadmill with little or even negative results.”
I am the biggest offender of being sold on a quick fix or shortcut to fitness. If it were as easy as buying a new gadget or taking a magic pill the obesity epidemic in America would cease to exist. The bottom line to all of the advice seems to come back to eating a healthy diet most of the time, exercising regularly and moderately (even if it is housework that makes you sweat), not taking any one activity or eating plan to the extreme and being consistent. While I know and understand all of this, I may have to be physically restrained the next time I see some wonder workout or nifty gadget that can restore my body to where it was when I was 30. Oh I loved my body at 30….hmmm
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