LIES, DAMMED LIES and FITNESS
Saturday, August 13, 2011
From time to time I review the fitness infomercials on television. “Mercial” they are, informative they are not. Most of them produce more disinformation than any dictator’s propaganda bureau can produce. Under the guise of something new and revolutionary they repackage the same exercises that everyone uses and lay claim to having created a new approach which will magically burn away the pounds and give you the body you have always dreamed of having.
Most of these info whatevers make more promises they can’t keep than the average corrupt politician, they are the snake oil salesmen of the electronic age. One of their favorite ploys is to make a bad use of good science turning the legitimate term tonus into “toning” and taking the research on specific adaptation to imposed demand and promoting “muscle confusion” They promise longer leaner muscles knowing that muscle length is a function of the skeletal system and leanness is a product of both genetics and good nutrition. They promote the fat burning zone heart rate as the way to maximize fat loss knowing that while the phenomenon is true the number of calories used per unit of work is less than work done above that heart rate.
They use grandiose meaningless name for their workout programmes to entice people to purchase their products. “Muscle Confusion,” No More Trouble Zones,” Thirty Day Shred,” Insanity” and “Kettle Worx” are meaningless phrases to say nothing of bad grammar and syntax. They promote older, proven techniques as if they were newly discovered. Kettlebells are in the vogue now but photos of late 19th and early 20th Century workout facilities show racks of them. Indian clubs are “rediscovered” even though a 1866 copyrighted book on their use includes an endorsement by Ulysses S. Grant. The Pilates Reformer turns into the Total Gym and Total Trainer, suspension training is “developed” by an ex Navy Seal and sold as the “TRX System” The traditional bodybuilder technique of using dumbbells as hand holds for pushups to change the strain on the wrists morphs in to “The Perfect Pushup” Wall mounted cable machines were found in the fitness centres of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Circuit training which was developed as a strength workout using only strength exercises is repackaged with cardio components designed to “keep your heart rate elevated” notwithstanding the fact that traditional strength only circuit training has a cardio benefit. Keeping your heart rate elevated ignores the fact of the paradox that with cardio interval training the training effect occurs during the recovery and not the work phase. High repetition strength movements using mini weights are promoted as strength workouts which promote “toning” instead of the endurance workouts they are and despite the fact that toning does not exist. Body sculpting workouts can only be accomplished with a hammer, chisel and a piece of marble, human anatomy is a function of genetics.
Cardio burns fat is the mantra of the elliptical and treadmill hamsters and gerbils but the reality is that the only way to burn fat is to overcook your breakfast bacon. The body converts body fat to fuel after the stored glycogen is depleted. Cardio without strength work will cause the body to use protein as fuel instead of body fat depleting muscle and reducing the resting metabolism,
You can type and find all the information on the internet for free or you can buy into hype and reduce the fat in your checkbook. The human anatomy has not changed since the time of the Cro Mangon people and how to get strong and fit has not changed since the earliest written records recorded the information. While there are new, expensive and space hogging machines in fitness centres the biomechanics of exercise have not changed even if some of the machines defy normal body mechanics with the movements they require,
KISS is not just the name of a defunct rock band it also stands for Keep It Simple and Successful which is the key to a successful fitness programme. A weight loss programme is only the first step in a lifelong commitment to fitness which is what we owe ourselves and those who depend on us in our daily lives..