Health and fitness has to be right up there with religion on the stupid-bullshit-ometer. Much of the drivel belched forth by health and fitness magazines, tv shows books and websites these days is not only inaccurate, it’s dangerously misleading. Yesterday I saw a so-called “personal trainer” showing an 8-year-old how to do squats, incorrectly, at my gym. I mean, if you’re going to screw up the boy’s bone development by getting him on weight training when he’s too young, why not fuck up his knees while you’re at it, right?
Tangent aside, here are five fitness myths that are doing serious damage in western society.
5. Walking is the Best Exercise
Best in what sense? Lowest impact? No, that’s swimming. Most enjoyable? No, that’s sex. Can do it anywhere? No, you can’t do it in a car, and almost anywhere you can walk you can also run. So what gives?
Sure, walking is great when you’re 80 years old, and you have to start somewhere if you’re so completely out of shape that a light jog will give you heart attack. However, there’s no reason that most people cannot or ought not to be doing something more intense.
4. Skinny = Healthy
Healthy means you have the stamina to run 10 or 15 kilometers, the strength to lift your body weight, and the flexibility to bend over and put your hands flat on the floor with your knees locked. This has nothing to do with whether your ribs protrude from your skin. Unfortunately, in a society where obesity is so prevalent, people have begun confusing the anorexic physique with the olympic physique.
3. Lifting Weights will Add Bulk
The way the magazines tell it, half an hour in the gym twice a week will turn you into Hercules. This is laughable. The average man is incapable of gaining more than about 5 pounds of muscle in a year without steroids, hormone injections, creatine and colon-stretching amounts of protein. The average woman can expect even more limited results. Making it sound like bulking up is the natural effective of lifting some 10 pound dumbbells is a horrific insult to every diehard trainee out there. You don’t accidentally put on muscle. You have to fucking well work for it.
Besides, you’ll be amazed at what swapping 5 pounds of fat for muscle will do for your looks.
2. Weight Loss Diet Plans
It’s not that any particular diet plan is bullshit, it’s that they’re ALL bullshit. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. The laws of physics make it so. Whether you eat carbs or protein or fat, whether you go over or under your weight watcher’s points, whether you eat Jenny Craig certified food or chili dogs, it’s all fucking irrelevant. All that matters is Calories In – Calories Burned = Calorie Deficit. For every 3500 calorie deficit, you’ll lose at least one pound, not counting water.
This is not to say that all combinations of food are equally healthy, just that if you burn more than you eat, you will lose weight no matter what you eat.
1. That’s Not Food You’re Eating
Much of what’s eaten in the modern, industrialized diet is not food, but synthetic, food-like substances. If it comes in a package and has ingredients you don’t recognize, it’s synthetic. White flour and anything containing it is synthetic. Corn syrup is synthetic. White rice is synthetic. White sugar is synthetic. Most cheese is synthetic. Frozen dinners are definitely synthetic. And you can bet that anything you eat at a fast food restaurant will also be synthetic. So are all sodas and much of the sugar-water that masquerades as fruit juice.
Many of these synthetic non-foods are devoid in nutrition and packed with salt, sugar and fat. If you want to be healthier, try eating real foods! You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, how much more energy you’ll have and how much easier sleep will come.
Real foods include:
Fruits, vegetables and their juices (with no added sugar or preservatives)
free-range, organic meats, fish and eggs
Milk and natural cheese
Organic, all-natural whole-grain breads and pastas
Pepper, chilies, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, marjoram, basil, oregano, cloves, coriander, parsley, cumin, turmeric, mustard, bay leaves, tarragon, fennel, etc.
Flavoring real foods with spices and herbs will produce far healthier, tastier dishes that the fat, sugar and salt infused factory-food that oozes from supermarket shelves.