Scam Artists: Why fitness fails us when fads rule

Diet Pill Fads

When you think of fitness, you rarely think about being “scammed.”
That terminology typically is reserved for the likes of identity theft or some sort of credit card fiasco or your email being hacked into and everyone you know being riddled with spam from you.

But fitness? Scams?

The truth is the fitness industry is full of artists that paint this rose colored picture of you dropping pounds instantly or magic potions, creams and powders that halt your metabolism as you supposedly watch the fat melt away with little or no effort from you.

How exactly do you spot a fitness scam?

Anything that seems too good to be true most likely is exactly just that.

Think about items like the 10 minute trainer or six minute abs, and you’ll quickly see that most of that is all talk and action on your part but very little in the way of results. That isn’t to suggest that you need to work out for hours, but putting in six to 10 minutes of actual work in the gym isn’t going to get you very far.

Supplements, in all shapes and sizes, are marketed often as miracle drugs, particularly those that call themselves “fat burners.” The supplement business is a billion dollar one, and that means you have a sprinkling of real contenders with legitimacy but mostly pretenders that are These are unsafe and unproven, and really pale in comparison to actual vitamins or other supplements that are natural or herbal. Those words, however, are used incorrectly quite a bit and customers so desperately want to feel as though they’re eating healthy and correctly that they fall for that trap.

From taking supplements at home to at home equipment, the smart money is on choosing that next exercise piece carefully, mostly steering clear of ab equipment. Everyone wants that tone, lean stomach, so manufacturers and subsequent spokesperson gravitate toward that area of the body to push equipment that promises a six pack but actually won’t ever deliver as promised.

The old adage that “abs start in the kitchen” rings true always in that eating lean, high protein, low carbohydrates, will always beat an ab coaster, lounge or swing.

The penchant for the general public to want an easy fix makes sense. Exercise is hard, and gaining weight is easy but taking it off takes hard work, dedication and eating right. Anything less than that is just fast talking, con men and women at work.

Weight Lost: Why losing weight can be harder than you believe

Working out hard

Have you ever had someone downplay weight loss, specifically just how easy it is?

This person probably is someone you refer to as your “skinny friend” who, while you’re out ordering salad with oil and vinegar dressing, is having burgers and fries and living to tell about it after the scale says nothing has changed.
Meanwhile, you’re dieting extensively and nothing has changed. The scale hardly would be considered a friend of yours, and despite all your heartache, blood, sweat and tears and all that time in the gym, you’re at square one and are equal parts disappointed and frustrated with the results up to this point.

Struggling with weight even though you believe you’re doing everything right, sort of like having a budget and knowing you make more than your expenses, but yet wonder aloud why you don’t have any money at the end of the month.

Losing weight is similar to that in that you believe wholeheartedly you’re doing everything right, and you haven’t seen any results.

You really have to look closely at your diet and exercise habits, but also other contributing factors such as stress and work, relationships and other things of that ilk that also play into your endeavor.

For instance, you believe that you’re eating well, but maybe even after a small breakfast and healthy, salad and greens filled lunch, you’re eating a bigger dinner and find yourself picking and snacking all night.

Water, also, is the great equalizer to losing weight, and if you’re not drinking enough water, you won’t be able to drop pounds given that water often replaces hunger, especially when you’re body is just dehydrated, which masks itself as feeling as though you’re hungry.

Fast forward past the gym and eating, and look at your work situation in two ways: stress and sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, you will put weight on as a result. The same can be said for being overworked and stressed out and your cortisol levels go through the roof, which means you might have a tendency to overeat, particularly sugar.

Losing weight, or trying to, tends to be harder than most believe. Those who are lucky to be able to have the “fast” metabolism might not quite understand what others go through who have situations or circumstances that include in and out of the gym that lead to weight gain, when all you want to do is take the pounds off.

Desk Slob: Why your desk job needs exercise

Young man and woman offset the sedentary office with workout

From desk job to desk slob, you wouldn’t be the first person to sit down on day one of your job and only a few months to years later turn into a barely recognizable figure thanks to weight gain and a posture that looks painful and prehistoric at best.

Do you actually pay attention to how your sitting at work? Do you sit back in your chair? Do you take time throughout the day or at lunch to take a walk in between emails? Is that report due at the end of the day pushing your shoulders forward and ultimately leading to a slouch you can’t repair?

If the answer to any of those questions are answered affirmatively, your desk job is doing you in, but the good news is that can be turned around rather easily and fairy fast.

It starts with how you’re exercising at home, and if you’ve taken the approach of doing certain moves and adapting your fitness routine to strengthen muscles that are previously being held hostage by your work posture.

How exactly do you fix that work slouch and slumping physique?

Believe it or not, your exercise routine, the one that can help reverse your slouching posture, starts with taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day and simply touching your toes. This strengthens your back muscles and gives you the kind of flexibility that makes sitting up straight a breeze, versus the alternative of hunching over while you type. If your lower back is weak, you’re feel it when you sit up straight. A rudimentary toe touch can take away that pain and ease you back into sitting up straight.

Certain yoga poses and moves also help, preferably when you lie on your stomach and arch your back downward and lift your head and chin up. This, again, stretches out your lower back.

For the weight lifters in the group, you want to do one exercise in particular. The seated row is a middle back lift move that will put muscles where you didn’t have them before and help you arch your back while you’re sitting. Be careful on this one, however, as you want to sit up straight while you’re doing them and only engage your back to move the weight. Using your entire body is only going to turn your back exercise into a full body pull that is more pendulum than postural beneficial.

You can’t avoid your job, and certain sitting at a desk, so taking the steps to fix your posture start with getting up and moving around from time to time but also taking that mindset into the gym and getting back to work while getting work in for your back.

Boxing lesson: Delivered to your door food is all the rage

DelicousDelivery

Fads and dieting almost go hand in hand with one another.

A fad diet, from Atkins to cleanses to people trying to eat right based on blood type to lose weight, tends to be cyclical in some cases or just downright classified as 15 minutes of fame, only to be tossed aside when the next latest and greatest hits the shelves or airwaves.

Everyone has been guilty of implementing some sort of fad diet they heard works wonders, whether you’re downing raw eggs Rocky style or have decided to eat Paleo, mostly foods rich in protein and only good carbs (versus Atkins and its no carbs grass roots).

But what about food that is healthy and is made to eat for those who are trying to lose weight but with one overwhelming, positive catch.

You can enjoy this food, and it’s delivered to your door.

And, here’s another catch: it’s fresh ingredients and recipes that allow you to make it and not worry about counting calories or wondering if it is healthy or not. This latest “fad” of sorts is the direct to door food boxes, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, which allows you to choose a certain classification of eating types (i.e. Vegan, Vegetarian, etc.) and they’ll simply deliver the ingredients to your door for a fair price, and all you have to do is follow the recipe and magically a healthy, portion controlled dinner appears on your plate without the fuss of wondering what is good or bad food wise.

What makes the food deliver boxes so impressive is the simplicity involved in the work from box to table and that really anyone can follow it based on what you’re given to begin with from one order to the next.

Furthermore, the caliber of the food isn’t anything to scoff at or assume is low grade based on pricing and the idea that it is coming to you through the mail or a delivery service. You also can’t underestimate the time saved from grocery shopping and turning a 30 minute prep and serve dinner, while eliminating the effort put into selecting just the right ingredients that will turn any dinner from sufficient and serviceable to succulent.

You’d be hard pressed to call this a fad, even though the direct to door dinners and ingredients are in the infancy stages. A fad suggests it might not be around for a while, but you have to think this idea is one that is a game changer for good.

Celebrity Fit

Hugh-Jackman-X-Men-Wolverine

How often have you spotted a celebrity diet or workout and just wanted to know exactly who your favorite actor got into such great shape?
Probably, like most of us, all the time.

Whether it’s a magazine cover that says something to the effect of “secrets of celebrity bodies” or a workout named after an actor or actress in conjunction with a movie that was recently completed (i.e. the “300” workout or the “Wolverine” workout), you simply can’t look away at just how these famous bodies were transformed and wonder to yourself if there’s something you can do to emulate that success.

The answer is yes, you can have that body but no, it isn’t going to come from following the diet or workout of a celebrity.

At least not realistically.

We get caught up in the amazement that is Chris Pratt and his new body, Jennifer Lopez and her timeless figure or how you can see a celebrity with a huge, chubby belly one week and a month later, they look like they’re in the best shape of their lives.

They are, but that’s because they have a nutritionist, a trainer, maybe even a live in chef, and something even more important: all day to exercise and pick and choose their food.

Granted, we all don’t have that kind of time, nor should we expect to be able to have food prepared for us by someone else and that makes that celebrity diet and body that much more unattainable.

The real issue isn’t so much wanting to get in shape but the idea that you shouldn’t do the comparison shopping when you’re talking about getting your body the way you want it. So when you say “yes” you can have that celebrity body, it just means that you can take what they do, eating and exercise wise, and modify it to fit your lifestyle from a time perspective and also realistic results.

When Hugh Jackman gets ready to be “Wolverine,” or Pratt is pinpointing his next action movie role as the next “Jurassic Park” starts to film, that is their job, and they can spend seven hours per day doing cardiovascular work on a treadmill or weights and CrossFit till the sun comes up.

We don’t have that ability given that working out isn’t what we do for a living, so when we spot a body on a magazine or television we want, go for it. But make sure it’s done with eyes wide open.

Fit to be Tied: Why over-exercising is easily overlooked

tired woman runner taking a rest after running hard on city road

We live in an age of obesity and the general public struggling with their weight, so the idea that someone actually can overexercise seems silly.

Half of the population is overweight, and obesity in both adults and children continues to soar to record heights. We’re eating unhealthy and hardly exercising, with less than 15 percent of the population belonging to a gym or exercise facility.

Those numbers aren’t getting any better, even though the masses make it a point to talk about how important eating right and exercise is.

But the fact remains that overexercising is a real thing, and plenty of the fitness crowd takes to walking, running, lifting weights and anything else activity oriented to far. The trouble with that mindset is you’re actually doing more harm to your body, your muscles don’t recover the way they should and you end up being sore, fatigued and having the exact opposite feeling it should when you exercise.

How exactly can you tell if you’re overexercising?

For starters, like previously mentioned, you are tired all the time and what once was a propensity to exercise as much as possible turns into skipped sessions. Realistically, you should exercise 3 to 4 days per week, unless of course you’re Hugh Jackman and the next “Wolverine” movie requires you to hit the weights and cardio twice per day for seven days.

Your body also will tell you two other ways that you’re hitting the gym too much and too often. You won’t be able to sleep very much, and that is because you’re so amped up all the time that your heart racing overtakes your body and its ability to get some serious and much needed rest.

The purpose of exercise is to stay fit, keep your heart, mind healthy but exercising too much is easily counterproductive.
Exercise is supposed to stimulate, but even the simplest workout is going to feel as though you’re trying to pull the Titanic across the Atlantic Ocean with your teeth. What typically is the status quo for your workouts turns into a serious letdown at the gym.

As much as we want to exercise and we equate exercising with losing weight and getting fit, you can’t change the world (i.e. lose 50 pounds) in a day. Exercise is a marathon, not a sprint and being diligent is often confused with being intense and pushing your body to the brink of exhaustion.

While that mentality works sporadically, you can’t sustain it mostly because you body won’t allow it to happen.

Traveling Stand: Why fitness and traveling can go hand in hand

hotel gym

The biggest plight that a person who travels faces is trying to find the time, the place and the energy to exercise.

If you’re someone who extensively drives, flies or travels for their job and eating well and exercising regularly is engrained into your at home life, you understand just how daunting all that can be when you’re not in the comfort of your own home.

Instead of the friendly confines of your kitchen and access to your own food, you’re left at the mercy of hotel breakfast, local restaurants and a typical gym that consists of about a third or less of the equipment you’ve become accustomed too locally.
Trying to keep that same pace is going to take a little more focus and drive and commitment on your part as you travel.

For instance, you want to stick to the same basic diet of high protein and low carbohydrate that you follow when you’re not traveling. Fast food restaurants tend to be tempting at that moment, much the same way that breakfast buffet and free coupon are as well at the hotel.

You want to avoid overeating at breakfast and stick to eggs, fruit and a small amount of carbs, such as one piece of toast or better yet oatmeal.

The fast food element works the same, grilled chicken sandwiches, salads and avoiding foods high in fat and sugar.
The exercise part might be a little more difficult given that the gyms and workout areas are minimal, but you can’t go wrong with two types of working out: cardio and circuit training. Every hotel gym has some sort of treadmill or elliptical and those can be your best friend when you’re not at liberty to do much else.

Thirty minutes of cardio will be more than enough to suffice until you get back to your regular routine. The circuit again is another product of your environment, given those machines and a few random dumbbells will be at your disposal.

Your best bet is to hit every body part as part of a circuit, and keep the weight training at a minimum, but with high reps and low weights (because that’s about all you have).

Exercise isn’t about having a large scale exercise room, group exercise classes, personal training or even eating clean when it suits the person but instead making the most of working out no matter the circumstance or where you happen to be at any given moment.

Meat Covered: Why vegetarian diets still can build muscle

healthy eating

From gluten free to vegan and everything in between, specialty diets aren’t anything new.

In fact, they’re more the norm.

The one element of a specialty diet that can cause some headaches is for the person who spends a significant amount of time in the gym, lifting weights and trying to build muscle with very little in the way of protein at their disposal, specifically for vegetarian diets.

When you can’t eat meat, you lose significant protein from chicken, steak and other protein sources that are a no no on your diet.

Or, do you?
The real question isn’t so much about losing protein but realizing where else you can find it to have diet that isn’t counter productive to building muscle in the midst of every bicep curl and chest press you do, without feeling as though all that hard work in the gym is for naught.

Protein can be found in one of the more unique places and doesn’t necessarily need to be rooted in meat.

Think about foods like nuts, legumes and tofu as just a few options for your protein needs. Edamame beans in particular are riddled with protein, nearly 30 grams per cup of protein. Some who like to stay away from soy can look into protein powders, which are abundant so you want to go with a higher grade and not a Wal Mart or store brand such as GNC specifically. You’ll want to research for a protein that is a middle of the road brand.

The trick to building muscle is protein to repair the damage that you’ve done to your muscles and to build them back up and then some, but also injecting foods high in amino acids. You’ll look to the meatless option of eggs and seeds of any variety (sunflower or pumpkin), both of which are rich in both protein and the amino acids that are equally effective in pumping up your muscles.

Dietary needs are nothing new to the masses, and as someone who can’t eat bread, dairy or gluten, and has trouble digesting red meat, you’ll be thankful that you don’t have to rely on chicken, steak and milk or dairy products to get all the protein you’ll need.

If you listen to the experts that tell you, from a digestive standpoint, that red meat for example isn’t made for your body, you’ll be glad you switched from meat to vegetarian and not miss a beat in the gym.

Desk Slob: Why your desk job needs exercise

lifestyle change

From desk job to desk slob, you wouldn’t be the first person to sit down on day one of your job and only a few months to years later turn into a barely recognizable figure thanks to weight gain and a posture that looks painful and prehistoric at best.

Do you actually pay attention to how your sitting at work? Do you sit back in your chair? Do you take time throughout the day or at lunch to take a walk in between emails? Is that report due at the end of the day pushing your shoulders forward and ultimately leading to a slouch you can’t repair?

If the answer to any of those questions are answered affirmatively, your desk job is doing you in, but the good news is that can be turned around rather easily and fairy fast.

It starts with how you’re exercising at home, and if you’ve taken the approach of doing certain moves and adapting your fitness routine to strengthen muscles that are previously being held hostage by your work posture.

How exactly do you fix that work slouch and slumping physique?

Believe it or not, your exercise routine, the one that can help reverse your slouching posture, starts with taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day and simply touching your toes. This strengthens your back muscles and gives you the kind of flexibility that makes sitting up straight a breeze, versus the alternative of hunching over while you type. If your lower back is weak, you’re feel it when you sit up straight. A rudimentary toe touch can take away that pain and ease you back into sitting up straight.

Certain yoga poses and moves also help, preferably when you lie on your stomach and arch your back downward and lift your head and chin up. This, again, stretches out your lower back.

For the weight lifters in the group, you want to do one exercise in particular. The seated row is a middle back lift move that will put muscles where you didn’t have them before and help you arch your back while you’re sitting. Be careful on this one, however, as you want to sit up straight while you’re doing them and only engage your back to move the weight. Using your entire body is only going to turn your back exercise into a full body pull that is more pendulum than postural beneficial.

You can’t avoid your job, and certain sitting at a desk, so taking the steps to fix your posture start with getting up and moving around from time to time but also taking that mindset into the gym and getting back to work while getting work in for your back.

Myth Busters: Why exercise speculation is causing your workout to sputter

Young woman getting ready to workout

How many times have you heard an exercise myth and believed it to be true? Worse yet, how many times has someone who is a supposed expert in the exercise field said those very same things, and you assume that this person has to be right?

Chances are, both have happened quite a bit and worse yet could be holding you back from making significant progress in the exercise goal you’ve set for yourself.

The fact remains is that all personal trainers and trainers think different, and not all of them have done the research to have their “expert” tag in tow.

The problem with myths and exercise is that, quite simply, they’re not true but so believed that they’ll keep you from expanding your regimen and ultimately get from point A to point B a little faster than you would have hoped.

For instance, remember the line of thinking that if you lift weights, you won’t lose weight, you’ll gain it? Worse yet, most women swear off exercise as some cruel joke that will suddenly make them look big and bulky. That isn’t the case, nor has it ever been.

Weight training serves as a mean to increase your heart rate like any physical activity but also tone your body, no different than all that so called cardiovascular work you do on the treadmill that we all equate to losing weight more than lifting weights.

On the flip side, some of us exercisers believe that working out is some sort of dream scenario, one that has us hitting the gym consistently and losing weight that we’ve had for 10 years in 10 days. The truth is exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight quickly; losing weight fast isn’t a reality, but rather a long distance run. If you want to sprint out of the gate, that’s fine, but be prepared to set your expectations at a reasonable level.

Finally, if you plan to take the mantra that you have to be sore and throw up or something else that is about as barbaric as it gets as relates to weight training or exercise, that myth is about as realistic as a comeback by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.
Exercise should be done in moderation, but not to the point where your body is rejecting it or you can’t move out of bed the next day. Will you be sore working out if you haven’t done it in a while? Of course. Should you feel like your entire body is frozen. No, not at all.

Everyone understands how important exercise is, but doing it should be a practice in patience but also knowledge based. Without knowing what to truly believe, you’re just spinning those spinning bike wheels.

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