Most Common Exercise and Diet Myths

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Some major diet and exercise myths are about to be blasted out of existence. That's important because these myths impact what we believe and what we believe impacts what we do. To have success with diet and exercise you've got to do something. You can't just think about it. However, it's critically important that you do things that really work effectively.

Real Health and Fitness
The first myth is that being fit and healthy means things like having washboard abs, being able to lift a lot of weight, being able to run a long way, being able to do a lot of pushups, and other similar stuff. That kind of physical fitness is fine for people who have that as their main goal, but it's important not to confuse that with either fitness or health. It's not the same thing. Real fitness and health means that you have the strength, flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, range of motion, and pain free movement necessary to do the things you've got to do in life and the things that bring you joy. Think about it. Is it more important to be able to have rock hard abs or to come home every day from work without feeling exhausted and with shoulder and neck pain that won't let you sleep? Is it more important to be able to bench press a bunch of weight or to easily walk up and down the stairs at home? Is it more important to run ten kilometers every day or be able to shop in the grocery store without needing to ride in a motorized cart? Healthy fitness really isn't about being an amateur or professional athlete. It IS about being able to live life fully, comfortably, and with vitality... and reducing the chances or the effects of chronic and dehabilitating illnesses like heart attacks, strokes, Parkinson's, and diabetes.

No Pain No Gain
The next myth is really a family of myths that are closely related to the myth we just busted. They all buzz around the idea that exercise has got to be hard to be effective. They include things like you've got to work up a good sweat for exercise to be effective, no pain no gain, you only get the results you are look for if you work long and hard enough, and exercise is only effective if you exercise regularly. All these ideas are false.

The problem is that these myths and the athletic idea of fitness has dominated our thinking for so long that most of the fitness and exercise programs emphasize it in one way or another in order to sell their stuff. They create products for the perceived market. Yet, every January millions of people make resolutions to get back into shape, go out and buy a new exercise program, start the program with enthusiasm, and then quit in a couple of weeks because the programs are too difficult or are not addressing their actual needs.

The facts are that any exercise of any type is better that no exercise at all. Even if you exercise for a few minutes once a week that's better that doing nothing... and the best form of exercise is moderate exercise, not strenuous exercise. In fact, research shows that the health and fitness benefits that are obtained from doing something like Tai Chi are significant, and a lot of people would doubt that was even a form of exercise.

So, let's bust those myths once and for all. Liberate yourself from the idea that you've got to be some sort of jock to be fit. That's really important because the moment you accept the fact that the exercise you do can be simple, non-strenuous, fun movements that you can easily do, that you can do anywhere, that you can do anytime, and that require only a minute or two here and there throughout the day you run out of reasons for not becoming healthier and fitter. You can increase your overall level of health through Easy Fitness movements and exercises done in short periods of time at home, at the office, or standing in line for the movie.

And that brings us to our next big myth... that going to a gym is the best way to get fit. The truth is that the best way to get fit is the one that you will actually do on a long term continuing basis. If that's a gym, great... but if it's doing simple exercises at home while you watch TV, that's great too!

Diet Myths
The first diet myth related to exercise and is that exercise is the best way to lose weight because it burns a lot of calories. It's important to understand that when you talk about exercise you've got to consider the difference in calories burned when you exercise from when you just sit around. For example, walking a mile typically burns about 100 calories... but sitting around for the same amount of time burns 50 to 60 calories. So the exercise only burns an additional 40 to 50 calories. If walking a mile a day extra is your strategy to lose weight, it's going to take almost three months to lose a single pound. That doesn't mean that exercise is pointless. It's just not the best strategy to lose weight. To lose weight you've got to make adjustments to what and how you eat.

That brings up some other myths. How about the idea that eating late at night makes you gain weight? Again, the issue is not when you eat, but what you eat. Late night eaters tend to consume lot's of carbohydrates that kick up their blood glucose. That's what puts on the pounds. If you had a lettuce snack before bedtime you wouldn't gain weight... but what kind of bedtime snack is that?

Next is the myth that weight gain is inevitable as you get older. It's true that many older people put on weight, but again the issue is how and what they eat. As you get older metabolism does slow down and that means that you've got to make adjustments to how and what you eat. That brings up exactly how we actually gain weight.

There are three basic types of foods proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on blood glucose. They come in many varieties, but one way to categorize them is to assign them a dollar value according to how much and how quickly they impact your blood glucose levels. A donut or piece of cake is very expensive... say $1000 dollars. It spikes up the blood sugar. White bread is also pretty expensive, but less than the donut. On the other end of the scale you have things like broccoli and lettuce which are $5 dollar carbohydrates. If you eat a lot of expensive carbohydrates in a short time your blood glucose level will spike into a level beyond what the liver and muscles can handle, then you store it as fat. That's important to understand because it means that if you don't want to get fat one of the most important things to do is to avoid eating lots of expensive carbohydrates in short periods of time. The tradition of three meals a day is probably not the best way to eat.

It's also important to pay attention to fat because there are a lot of calories in fat. Calories are important even though they are not the main reason we gain weight. In fact, it's actually a myth that restricting calories is the best way to lose weight. Another myth is that all fats are bad and that low fat and no fat diets are good. Actually, there are three types of fat. Saturated fats are common in meats like beef, lamb, pork, fish and poultry. If it walked, flew, or swam it probably has saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are found in plants. Things like olive oil and grape seed oil are excellent sources of unsaturated fats... and these fats are actually good for you. About one third of your total calories should come from unsaturated and some saturated fats. Trans fats are commonly found when unsaturated fats are raised to high temperatures... above 350 degress. They are very bad for you. The key is to avoid trans fats, eat lean meats, and limit unsaturated fats to not more than one tablespoon per meal.

Get rid of the myths of diet and exercise and you discover that being healthy and fit is much more simple than you thought. The trick to healthy eating is to eat proteins and fats in the right portions, limit eating expensive carbohydrates in short periods of time, and eat lots if inexpensive carbs.

Money myths
And the most important myths to take on come from the corruption of the weight loss industry by the profit motive. The first is the idea that you need special diet foods to lose weight. This is really huge because the idea of special diets is the source of most of the confusion about healthy eating and weight loss. The idea of going on a crash diet or a diet of special foods to lose weight is, to be blunt, crazy. It really is about people trying to make money by seeming to offer you something that nobody else does. They sell a book about how to lose weight by eating nothing but protein or sell you pre-packaged foods that you eat instead of your regular meals. The truth is that if you go on these diets you may... in fact, you probably will... lose some weight. The problem is that as soon as you go back to your normal way of eating you will just put the weight back on. Think about it. The way you were eating is what made you put on the weight in the first place. If you don't change the way you eat what else could possibly happen besides putting the weight back on. So forget the special diet foods.

There is another very bad thing about many diet foods... particularly those that are designed to replace sugar. This means diet soft drinks, pastry with sugar substitutes, and all artificial sweeteners. Some of these substances are downright dangerous for you in the long term and others act so much like sugar in your blood that they might as well be sugar. The whole concept of artificial sweeteners started when the prevailing belief was that calorie restriction was the best way to lose weight. Artificial sweeteners have less calories that sugar. However, today research shows that belief is a myth, but the billion dollar artificial sweetener industry is not going to go away without a big fight. There is too much money involved.

What you really can do
Here is the incredibly simple truth about diet and exercise. First, you've got to learn how to balance protein, fats, and carbohydrates when you eat. Second you've got to learn how to eat to avoid spiking glucose levels in your blood either too high or too low. Third, you've got to learn easy ways to measure proper portion sizes of proteins, fats, and carbs for increasing weight, maintaining weight, and losing weight. That's the Easy Diet approach. Then you need to learn the Easy Fitness approach of simple movements that can be done anyplace, anytime, and by anyone and that easily adjust to any age or level of fitness. Do the simple movements in brief convenient moments throughout the day. Next, make sure you get lots of safe water every day, and, finally, learn the nutritional supplements that will significantly improve your chemical balance. That's really all you need to do for health and fitness.


Will Nelson is an author, public speaker, personal trainer, massage therapist, and life coach. As a Life Performance Specialist, he has created an on-line 7-day and membership program see it at and developed three courses, the VitalBody, VitalFood and the VitalMind. His company teaches personal empowerment through lifestyle management. For more information go to

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