The Fitness Industry is lying.
Despite what you may have heard, read, seen, or even (think you’ve) experienced first hand, exercise does not make you lose weight.
I’ll repeat that again. EXERCISE DOES NOT MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT.
So… did I lose u? You still reading this? Good, because at this point I should probably clarify. Exercise can HELP you lose weight. It can even be an important component of losing weight, but not in the way the Fitness Industry likes to pretend.
That gorgeous, beautiful, perfectly toned blonde woman in the bikini?
Yea, she did NOT get that body by following along with her favorite Zumba tapes for 20 minutes a day, three days a week. And neither will you. Sorry.
Those before and after P90X pictures? You know the ones I mean. That guy who went from looking more out of shape than you’ve ever been to being that guy you want to look like? Yep. That will not be you. No way. Not a chance.
And worst of all, PLEASE don’t go out and start doing Crossfit. Seriously. Don’t. Unless you’re tired of paying all that money for health insurance that you never get to use. Then by all means, go nuts. You’ll get your money’s worth.
So what’s my point? Simple. My point is that the Fitness Industry, like every other industry, is all about making money. Yours. And in order to get at that piggy bank, it lies to you.
LIE NUMBER 1: THE QUICK FIX
This lie is basically Santa Clause. Even as children, most of us recognize that it seems unlikely, and yet wouldn’t the world be a better place if it were true?
You know the quick fix. The commercials are everywhere. Just minutes a day. Just three times a week. I still eat whatever I want! Squeeze this thing with your thighs. Walk on this thing that even the model is clearly struggling to pretend is comfortable in this cheesy infomercial.
This is the lie geared towards taking money from all the people out there who don’t like to sweat, and have never been able to workout regularly. It’s telling them that they don’t have to change a thing. They can totally get the results they want! For just 99.99 it can be delivered right to their door! They don’t even have to leave the house!
Sorry guys, this is a lie. Not a single person in those commercials got the body you’re looking at by using that thing. They’ve probably never shaken a weight in their life until the director of that commercial yelled Action.
Every single one of those beautiful, ridiculously fit people, got their body the only way possible. And it has nothing to do with The Quick Fix.
LIE NUMBER 2: THE HARDCORE WORKOUT
This is the one that really bothers me. It’s one thing to harmlessly swindle a couch potato out of a few bucks. No one ever ended up in the hospital because of a thigh master (to be fair, I have no data to back that up, it’s just an assumption). But by training way too hard for way too long? Oh yea. THAT can be very dangerous.
Here’s the lie. You can look EXACTLY the way you want, in just 30 days! But you have to work harder than you think you can! Now let’s go! Lift those knees!
This is the lie geared towards the more athletic person who’s usually already working out but feels like they’re just not getting the results they want, and assume they’re doing something wrong.
Whether we’re talking about P90X, Insanity, Crossfit, or any of the other myriad examples of hardcore, high intensity training out there, we’re basically talking about the same thing. Workouts as intense as you can possibly handle (or often more than you can handle), in order to finally drop those pounds.
Here’s the problem. Again, this isn’t really how you lose weight. And worse, this is exactly how you get injured. Most people who fall prey to these programs work at a desk, sit on a couch, and drive in a car. They are often people who already train fairly hard, but inconsistently.
When you take people who are predominantly sedentary (doesn’t matter if they workout hard, they still sit all day), there’s almost always going to be a host of flexibility issues and a lack of core strength that sets them up perfectly for injury if they jump right into a high intensity, high impact training program.
How many people do you know that were loving Crossfit right up until the point that they threw their back out? Or people that were seeing “great results” following those Insanity tapes until their knee started hurting? Find me the person who actually finished the full P90X program (they do exist believe it or not), and even they will tell you that they feel burnt out and will usually need to take a break (and didn’t quite get the six pack they wanted anyway).
So what’s the point of all this? The point is, that there’s a better, simpler (notice I didn’t say easier), and effective way of losing weight and changing your body that has nothing to do with these two big lies.
It’s the truth.
THE TRUTH: IT’S ALL ABOUT NUTRITION
All of those people you see on TV? That look the way you want? They don’t eat like you. And that’s the difference. Not the workout.
No one wants to hear that. Sorry kids, Mom and Dad put those presents under that tree. I know, the truth can feel like a letdown. But I promise you, the truth can set you free.
Here’s the good news.
You don’t need to keep spending money on different gadgets that promise quick fixes.
You don’t need to train so hard that you dread your daily workout, and wish that you could just take a day off. In fact, I would suggest you remember well known strength coach Dan John’s great quote: “Consistency Trumps Intensity.” Don’t worry about how hard you exercise, worry about how often. Can you train three times a week for a month straight? You might be surprised how much better you feel when you dial back the intensity and just get consistent.
And here’s the best part. That mantra applies to nutrition as well!
You don’t need to starve yourself, or dramatically change your entire diet overnight. You don’t have to say “starting Monday no more carbs.” You don’t need some ridiculous cleanse.
Remember, consistency, not intensity.
You just need to begin to gently change your approach. Take an honest look at the way you eat right now. Do you have a plan? Do you know what you’re going to eat for lunch when you wake up in the morning? Breakfast? Are you drinking enough water?
Pick one or two things that you KNOW you could be better about in your eating, and try to implement those things CONSISTENTLY five days a week (I like Monday-Friday so the weekends can be a little more relaxed), for a whole month.
For example, if you drink soda and eat fried food, try to drink water and avoid anything deep fried five days a week. You don’t have to move straight to a strict diet of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. If you begin consistently eating better than you are now good things will happen.
When you feel like you’ve got the soda and fried food handled, pick another thing you want to change about your diet. And do it. Consistently.
Instead of trying to change your body, change your eating habits.
Give it a try. You might be amazed at the results.