5 Ways the Fitness Industry has Lied to You

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Pictures of models with sculpted arms and flat stomachs line the magazine racks. Accompanying the cover photos are the confusing and often contradictory messages we are so used to seeing: “Flat abs in 5 minutes a day” “Live your healthiest year” “Lose 10 pounds This Month” “12 Weeks to Leaner Legs”.

All of these messages surround models that almost always fit our society’s thin ideal; white, clear skin, thin, very little visible body fat, white teeth, tall, large breasts. The messages on the cover make us think we should desire all of those things, and if we do what this magazine is telling us we too, will look like the cover photo. This is a lie.

1.       Fitness=health.

The fitness industry has taught us that in order to be healthy we need to do what they are telling us. Health does not mean being as fit as possible and exercising every day, and often times, this actually makes us unhealthy. I’ve seen countless clients who have exercised so much they lose their periods, are cold all the time, and feel physically exhausted. This is the opposite of health.

2.       Looking very lean=health.

This could not be further from the truth! I’ve worked with many women to help them regain their reproductive hormones and their periods after losing them from being too lean. Being too thin actually caused them to lose their period! And getting your period is not only needed in order to become pregnant, but also to help produce enough estrogen to have strong bones, remove excess cholesterol from your blood, and keep your metabolism humming.

3.       If you don’t have at least an hour to exercise it doesn’t count.

 I’m not sure where the idea came from that you need to exercise an hour every day in order for it to “count” but this is the worst advice ever for multiple reasons. How many times have you not done any movement because you only had 10 minutes? Then you miss out on 10 minutes which is the perfect amount of time to walk around the block and feel physically and mentally refreshed. Most of my movement is not any formal movement at all these days. Who has time to change, go to the gym, workout, and drive home?! If you do, more power to you, but I’m all about a getting it in without disrupting my life.

4.       You need to exercise in order to “earn” your food.

No no no!! This is not only not true but it’s also dangerous if we follow this advice. Your body burns calories all the time even when you are not moving. In fact, up 70% of our basal metabolic rate is due to normal bodily processes such as breathing, digesting food, pumping blood to all areas of our body, and thinking. What this means is that you don’t even have to move an inch in order to burn calories and need food. Thinking that you need to burn a certain number of calories is unhealthy because it sets up a reward system of earning food based on how much you move. You never need to earn your food. You are not only always allowed to eat you NEED to eat in order to survive. You would never restrict the number of breaths you take whether or not you exercise, so why would you do this food?

5.       You have complete control over how your body looks.

Nope! Most of the reason we look a certain way is due to our genetics. Have a larger stomach- that’s your genetics! A smaller butt- again it’s due to your genetics. The fitness industry sends us messages all the time that as long as “put in the work” we can change the shape of our bodies. But in fact, 70% of the way we look is due to genetics. Let that sink in… so you only have control over 30% of the way you look! The reason your friend may have a more muscular stomach than you is not because she’s more “dedicated” in the gym (as all personal trainers would tell you). It’s from her momma! So quit comparing yourself to other people. You might never have a six-pack no matter how many crunches your do. And this is not a bad thing.

The fitness industry loves for us to believe everything they tell us since they make money off of it. Don’t be fooled by these common myths. Exercise intuitively, move your body when and how you want and definitely don’t believe everything you read!