I keep debating with myself about starting my own health & fitness business. Essentially it would focus on education, not allowing any client to stay on longer than one year. The first 30 days would be free, where the client would work their ass off to progress followed by 11 months paid working with me and other like-minded trainers who would have to earn that pay through education and equipping for a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Anyway, I digress.
I hate the fitness industry for many reasons. I rant often about it. In the spirit of Monday posts, I’m going to focus on only a few of those reasons today.
YOUR EXERCISE SHOULD BURN AS MANY CALORIES AS POSSIBLE
While it’s true we need a caloric deficit to lose weight, that should be accomplished by proper nutrition, not by wasting hours burning calories on Cardio machines or in Cardio classes. That’s not why we train. We train to build strength and muscles, improve our hormone profiles, improve our movement capacity, fitness and bone density.
DOING CARDIO IS THE ONLY WAY TO LOSE FAT
Quite simply, no. Weight training has actually proven more effective at losing fat than Cardio. Why? It’s simple really. Your body is a fat burning furnace. Weight training increases lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle you have, the more your furnace burns, resulting in fat melting not only while you train, but while you eat, sleep, live.
YOUR WORKOUT SHOULD BE LONG TO MAXIMIZE FAT LOSS
Spending an hour on a treadmill is simply not fun. Dont’ pretend otherwise, even if you are a distance runner. Besides not being fun, it simply isn’t the most efficient way to burn fat. High Intensity Interval Training, Tabata, other interval style approaches to exercise have proven much more efficient. Essentially, incredible spikes of exertion followed by small breaks. It kind of sounds like weight training, doesn’t it? Of course, you don’t need weights for efficient interval training.
If you’ve seen my 4 Minutes of Hell videos on YouTube you will notice that I can help you burn a bucket load of calories in a much shorter time than Cardio at a steady pace.
WOMEN DOING HEAVY WEIGHTS WILL MAKE THEM BULKY
This myth never seems to die. A woman has approximately one-third of the testosterone of a man. Unless she is on anabolic steroids, growth hormone or other enhancing drugs, a woman will never achieve the muscular size of a man. However, she can get a degree of muscularity that makes her lean, toned and tight. Mmmmm, sexy.
MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT
Seriously? If you have one pound of fat and one pound of muscle, which weighs more? Neither obviously as they are both one pound. The difference is in total volume. If one pound of muscle looked like a baseball; one pound of fat would be three times the size and look like a squiggly bowl of Jello.
EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT
Healthy fats are essential. Fats are used in the body for a lot of different functions, including , but not limited to, boosting the immune system, nervous system, repairing of cells, brain health, eye health, improved hormonal functioning, and obviously, for energy.
If you’re in a caloric deficit and understand when and what healthy fats to eat, you’ll actually end up eating more fat to lose fat! 60% of my own meals are protein and fat each and every day.
BREAD IS HEALTHY
You’ve seen this food pyramid right? The one that has the base of breads, pastas, rice, grains? Yeah. This pyramid is part of the reason we have such an obesity epidemic, starting with our children.
If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this – go out of your way to eat less gluten and sugar in your day (and bread is full of both of them). To make matters worse, most bread is devoid of any nutritional content. That means that there is absolutely no up side to eating bread.
While bread is often touted as a healthy option for breakfast or lunch, it is suitable for neither.
LOTS OF AB WORK IS THE KEY TO A SIX PACK
Know why you can’t see your abs? It’s that layer of fat hiding them. Think doing 1,000 crunches every day is going to change that? If you do, you’re wrong. Abs are made in the kitchen. For the average adult male, a six pack doesn’t begin to show until you hit the 10% body fat mark.
Don’t get me wrong, abs are important. A stronger core is the key to being able to lift heavier weights. Heavier weights means more muscle development. More muscle development means more fat burning in the furnace which means losing more body fat.
EAT SMALLER MEALS MORE FREQUENTLY FOR FAT LOSS
I’ve been guilty of this one personally because there is a LOT of support for this. It’s what the fitness experts truly believed for decades. Now, with the science behind Intermittent Fasting and other alternatives for those with digestive troubles, we’re finding out that this tried approach is simply not always true.
MACHINES ARE SAFER THAN FREE WEIGHTS
Sure, while you’re at the gym it might seem safer, but when you try to use machine-built muscles in the real world, you’re actually at higher risk of injury. Know why? It’s because machines force your muscles through a fixed plane of motion which quite simply is not natural whereas free weights force your body to use stabilizing muscles to support the main work which results in a stronger foundation overall.
It all comes back to proper form. If you don’t have it, get someone you trust to teach it to you.
YOU CAN TONE A MUSCLE
No self-respecting man should ever say his goal is to tone up. It’s a made up term that women usually use so please, don’t make me revoke your membership to the guy club.
There is no such thing as toning a muscle. What people mean when they say that they want to tone up is that they want more definition in their muscle, without it getting overly big.
To do this you need to build muscle, and lose fat. If you ever have a trainer that talks to you about toning up, point at them, laugh loudly for all the other men to see, then walk away. Don’t look back. Keep laughing as you leave.
BMI IS A GOOD MEASURE OF HEALTH AND HOW LEAN YOU ARE
BMI is severely limited as far as a tool for effectively measuring how overweight, or obese, someone is; this is especially true if you deviate from the norms that “they” have created, even if only slightly.
Trying to fit all populations into a standard mould based upon height and weight, without taking into account body composition, was always destined to fail yet somehow has survived. The test has a particular bias to anyone who has strength trained for a while, and improved their lean muscle mass.
Many muscular men that are under 10% bodyfat would be considered as obese according to BMI.
If you’re anywhere beyond the standard person as far as muscular development is concerned, then you should not look at BMI as a reliable source of how healthy you are. Instead, opt for getting your skinfolds measured, or go and get a DEXA scan.
There are many more lies fed to us by the fitness industry. What are some more you would like other readers to see with this post?
Not to mention the biggest lie of them all: That the fitness industry matters at all.
Really, all you need to do is eat reasonably healthy and skip technology that we only invented to be lazy.
Skip (most) fast food. Cook yourself. Only eat sweets/deserts/junk food sparingly.
Walk instead of driving everywhere (how about an hour of walking each day, or a bit more.). Skip the escalator and take the stairs. Skip the elevator and take the stairs (unless you work on the 80th floor of a skyscraper and maybe even then do it once in a while). Move about. If you sit around for work, take frequent breaks and move (yourself or sth that weighs more than a stack of papers). Just do a bit of workout on the side. Why not use weights that you can wear (ankles, arms) while doing sth else?
We don’t need to be bodybuilders. We do need NOT to be muscle-atrophied slobs, who can’t reach (or even see) their toes.
Basically, today you usually get either people who are completely unfit or people who go crazy about adding a few kg more to their weightlifting, a few km more to their runs, etc. What about moderation?
If I can live healthy forever, than I have achieved what I set out to do.
PS. I’m calling you out for Roc’s Sally Up Challenge.
I think instead of working out you should study medicine with a focus on cancer research, genetics, neurology, and gerontology…
And what challenge? (Unlikely that I accept, i am reasonably fit, and happy with being only reasonably fit. Don’t need no sixpack.)
Well, only lasted about a min. And at the very end I also got sloppy. 😉
I don’t think I’ll ever go the full length. 😉
The thing with moderation is it leads often to loss of interest which began in a lack of determination. Progress is life. The river must flow. You either get stronger or weaker, or get nowhere. At least the weak can say they tried. I try to respect peoples position, but never the middle ground.
“If you ever have a trainer that talks to you about toning up, point at them, laugh loudly for all the other men to see, then walk away. Don’t look back. Keep laughing as you leave.”
Baaahahahaha!! I can totally imagine you doing that…hahahaha
Roc, please advise on what constitutes a good and proper breakfast. If bread is out, what else can we eat to start the day?
I’ll do up an entire Monday post on Breakfast, and I’m going to release the first version of the Brutor Guide to Empyrean Health soon.
In the meantime, no bread doesn’t mean no carbs. Your breakfast should be all Protein and Carbs. No fat.
So think steak, chicken, pork, eggs, greek yogurt, anything heavy, filling and full of protein.
For carbs think oatmeal, or fruit. Fruit is amazing first thing in the morning.
You would be amazed how much breakfast I eat, close to 800 calories to start my day.
You are going to write a whole guide? Excellent. Just as I am thinking of doing sweeping changes to my diet and finally do that chin-up. Looking forward to it.
I’ve been working on it for a while. Complete Nutrition Guide and 15 week workout program/education.
The problem is I’m a perfectionist so it never gets done so what I’m going to do is release it in versions.
Those who buy in the first version (nutrition guide only) will get it for that price. As the guide expands, the price will increase but those who bought in early will get the updates for free.
Why charge anything? Two reasons really:
1. I’ve worked on it
2. I’ve found that people don’t appreciate free. Things we pay for we tend to value more.
Question though, how much do you think a life-changing, easy to use, customizable for life, nutrition guide is worth?
Well, how much do you think it’s worth? You could look up the usual prices of health books, and minus the publisher cost, and see if you think it’s a good price.
@Elmund. The problem with pricing it at what I think it’s worth is that I know the value looking at it from the other side. I could charge upwards of $500 and know it’s worth it because it would change lives forever. However, nobody would pay that even though we do for a cellphone in a heartbeat. Messed up priorities. Anyway.
I’ll research some more. From what I’ve found, most self-published fitness guides range from $29.95 – $99.95 USD. Since mine would be starting out as just a nutritional guide and calculator, I’d probably lean closer to the lower end.
Well, you got your idea right there.
With 6 years of Triathlon (Half Ironman, Olympic, and Sprint distances) and Masters Swimming under my belt I mirror all this advice. I’ve worked with many trainers and these simple rules hold true along with your sentiments of the fitness industry being more of a marketing tool than a path to health and longevity.
I would like to add a few simple rules that I use for nutrition as I consider nutrition the 4th sport of a Triathlon (swimming, biking, running, and nutrition). Get all four in alignment and you are on your way to building a stronger body.
1. If it doesn’t rot in 2-5 days, it probably isn’t worth eating.
2. If the ingredient list is long and you can’t pronounce everything, it probably isn’t worth eating.
3. Fruits/vegetables that get their skin peeled off or removed before consumption are ok to buy non-organic.
4. After a while of training, you will be able to listen to your body. Are you still hungry? Then eat to what you think you are missing — simple sugars, carbs, protein, or fats.
5. Most of your shopping should be done on the outskirts of the grocery store. Most perishable items are on the edges of the store.
6. Drink a lot of water. Your urine should never look like apple juice.
7. Don’t underestimate the power of regular sleep.
-Blake @ k162space
I definitely agree. Nutrition, sleep, exercise; that is the order of importance. Hydration is critical, 1L per 50 lbs of bodyweight. I’ll stop there because if I keep going it might turn into a whole other post!
I gotta disagree with the bread is bad thing. There isn’t much else that can sustain you half as long and absorb as slowly or nearly completely. I don’t fast often, but only grains make it easy. That’s why they are so good breakfast wise, as you’ll get through half the day until you eat again without a flinch or slump. Joined with a mutton or stew, and you’ll know why Celts were so hardy! Chopping wood (or sawing) or some time at the batting cages is quick fun and builds abs fast too. I don’t work on abs often, but I have noticed a significant impact that a strong gut seems to have on almost every workout.
Grains are awesome. Actual modern day bread is useless. Don’t misread. I’m not talking the bread food group.
Sent from my iPhone. Attachments may not be downloaded. Thank you.
I see. In that case I do agree with you entirely. The fact that products contain labels implying that the whole grain is used in the process has proven just how badly industry has affected our food. My wife bakes from scratch, using a sourdough shard from an 80 year old batch. The stuff keeps growing. It’s pretty neat.