Before joining the military, my wife was a personal trainer, for years before that she was interested in fitness and health. All told, she’s been self educating and “proper” educating about fitness for almost 25 years. I’ve absorbed a lot just through association, and I can say with confidence there is really only one absolute truth I’ve learned:
The fitness industry is 90% crap.
There are so many diets out there that claim to produce certain results that most people misconstrue: The Keto Diet, Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, Vegetarian, Vegan, Super-Low Carb, Super-Low Fat. Under the right circumstance, with the right knowledge going in, and with discipline, these diets will likely work for you; but only if you are expecting the correct results. If you are following any of these diets and expecting to lose weight, there is no guarantee you will, because there is only one, 100% guaranteed, way to lose weight:
Basic Truth #1: Calories burned must exceed calories consumed. Period! Full Stop! Fat is your body storing excess calories “just in case”. Your body will dip into those stored calories if you are burning more than you are consuming. The above diets may help you feel better, or help clear up your skin, or give you more energy. Many people feel better while following diets because they end up cleaning a lot of garbage from their diets, but that doesn’t guarantee that they will lose weight. You could eat nothing but raw veggies and still gain weight if your calories consumed is greater than your calories burned. Conversely, in 2010, a Professor lost 27lbs eating nothing but Twinkies and junk food because he burned more calories than he ate!
Now, that doesn’t mean he felt better while doing it. What you consume will determine how you feel. How much you consume will determine if you lose weight or not. Many in the fitness industry deliberately allow us to confuse healthy for skinny, and they are not always the same thing.
Basic Truth #2: it doesn’t matter how you burn the calories. Weights add muscle, muscle burns calories. More muscle = more burned calories. That doesn’t mean you MUST lift weights to burn fat. Weight lifting is better cardio than most people think, but all you need to do is raise your heart rate. (To a point!! Too high is bad!) Elevate your heart rate doing anything and you will be burning calories.
Basic Truth #3: working muscles in an area does not burn fat in that area. “Spot fat loss” is a myth. Every body puts on and removes weight on locations on their body in a certain order, the first area to gain inches is usually the last place to lose it. Its genetics and we don’t have a choice!
Basic Truth #4: the fitness industry promotes health myths because it makes money. The pure, sad truth is that capitalism wants to make money more than it wants you to be healthy. In fact it wants the general population to be fat, because that sells more fitness remedies!
If you’re paying attention though, the industry does usually sell a seed of truth with their “remedies”. Virtually every exercise machine, cardio routine, and weight set comes with a diet book, and that is where the success stories usually come from. Follow the exercise routine and maybe you’ll have decent results. Follow the diet plan and you’ll likely have AMAZING results.
These are Basic truths…… there is a lot more to fitness and health than what I have listed, but these should be the building blocks of any, and every, fitness regime. There are no gimmicks, or short cuts to health and anyone trying to sell you one should be questioned. That doesn’t mean that a knowledgeable and skilled personal trainer or nutritionist can’t get you better results. Following the basic rules will get you results, but they will be basic results, consulting a professional will get you professional results.