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The “Fitness for Weight Loss” Myth

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Fitness helps us become stronger, faster, more flexible, more powerful, more coordinated, leaner ...

Wait a minute! ...maybe not leaner

After graduating from college with a degree in exercise science, I was convinced I was going to help everyone I came into contact with drop bodyfat, get six pack abs, feel amazing, and live amazing lives. I was convinced I had all the tools I needed from my studies and I was ready to take on the world!

Turns out, very soon into my fitness career, I noticed something was not right? 

Out of all my clients with weight loss goals (which was the majority) ninety percent were not losing any weight??? Five percent were gaining weight, and the other five percent were losing weight. Now these are not exact percentages, but close enough to throw a red flag in my mind that there was something wrong.

Maybe my exercise prescription was off???

I just needed to burn more calories off these poor folks so they could finally get their six pack results. So, I upped everyone's long, slow, distance cardio (Back in the 90's, cardio and fat burning zones were all the rage ...but that's another article) in an effort to shrink those stubborn fat cells. After all ..its just energy balance ...right?  

Now, In full disclosure, I knew diet had an impact on bodyfat regulation, but I can tell you with 100% seriousness that nutrition was only a blip on the radar in my studies. it's quite sad really. I knew it was a part of the equation, but we were led to believe that with the right exercise program, you could, basically, eat whatever you wanted if it was in moderation (whatever that means?). 

What I soon began to realize is that only my clients who had changed their eating habits were the ones seeing the noticeable decreases in bodyfat. 

For some of you reading this ...you may be thinking ..."duh!"

But I can tell you that in my almost 20 years in the health and fitness space, the large majority of people I run into, even today, turn to fitness as the solution to their bodyfat problems. I hear the saying, "I workout so I don't have to watch what I eat" so often that it is now ranked as one my most annoying things to hear from a human (I know, I know ...I'm weird).

"Fitness for weight loss" is such an ingrained thought pattern for Americans that it has become one of the greatest myths ever backed by science.

For the astute reader, you should be asking, "Wait a minute ...greatest myths ever backed by science??? wtf does that mean?"

In a nutshell, research has been significantly influenced by food and beverage corporations. Food manufacturers love to sell food and it turns out ...highly processed junk food is really profitable.  So how do you get people to not freak out about buying and consuming the processed junk they love to eat?

Simple really ...find researchers that will publish studies saying people are fat because their lazy (I wish I was joking).

As one of my favorite examples, Coca Cola started it's own non-profit organization and spent millions of dollars for research to show that people were fat because they were lazy ...NOT because they were eating and drinking terrible things that were screwing up their physiology.

Check out these articles here and here detailing the craziness surrounding Coke's "Global Energy Balance Network". This was a not for profit organization set up and funded by coca cola (now shut down).

I wish that was the only example...check out these articles if you wish to go a little deeper on the influences big corporations have on research...here, here, here.

Now that you have learned that it is possible to have a "myth backed by science", I want you to to continue to fitness your body ...but for the right reasons ...getting fit ...NOT fat loss.

If you want fat loss ...start in your pantry.

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