The Problem With Fitness Advice

Read any magazine, or and episode of Oprah or Dr. Oz, and you will see tons of specific fitness advice being given.  The general theme of the advice is good, but it is often worded in such a way as being absolute, because this promotes more magazine sales and viewers of TV programs, but this is very far from the truth.

For example, I saw a celebrity tell their audience to walk 40-50 minutes, 3X per week, and they will lose 2 pounds per week.  Can someone make this statement when they do not know what a person is eating, what activity level their job has, or how much a person weighs to begin with?  No they cannot.

Sometimes offering advise can be frustrating for myself and the person receiving it, simply because they want a quick and easy answer, and there are so many variables that need to be addressed to give accurate direction.

Before getting sucked into false fitness advice, consider this:

1.  If performing weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, the more you weigh, the more calories you burn.  An obese person will lose weight with walking, while a person 140 pounds probably will not.  It takes much more energy (fat) to move a 250 pound person than a 140-pounder.

2.  Something is exercise only when your heart rate is elevated for a longer duration.  With the example above, an obese person will be out of breath walking, while a person 140 pounds will not.  Thus walking can be exercise for an obese person, but simply an “activity” for those that are not.  Sorry golfers.

3.  Weight loss is simply burning more calories than you are ingesting.  If you walk 3X per week, but eat ice cream every day, you will gain weight.

4.  If you exercise right after eating, especially carbs, you will be more apt to burn the carbs (glucose) in your blood stream vs. fat.  Exercising a few hours after eating carbs may help you burn fat.

5.  It is acceptable to exercise on back-to-back days.  If you exercise at the intensity levels or an elite athlete, care must be taken in designing your exercise program if exercising 2 days in a row.  But you are not an elite athlete.

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