Recently I came across a an article in a popular monthly magazine about the top ten “Myths” of fitness. Some of their list I agreed with, some I didn’t, but I found it an interesting article. In any case it got my brain working on what were some the biggest fitness myths, I that I encounter almost daily as a trainer? There were many that came to mind, but here are a few stubborn ones that I’ve heard a lot over many years. I have to say up font these are my own opinion, based on my personal experience, first hand observation and research over many years and I’ll be the first to say I don’t know everything about fitness, and I’m glad to be learning all the time, but some things I do know, as I learned them the way most Marines do, the hard way.
#1 There is one single best exercise, False. To be in superb overall physical condition you need a balance of strength, aerobic conditioning, flexibility and muscular endurance. No single exercise can provide this. Just swimming, running, or lifting weights alone won’t get it. People wrongly tend to think what their good at is best, but balance is the key to true overall conditioning.
#2 You need to take dietary supplements, False. The fact is if you eat real food in the right amounts you’ll get all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you need for optimum health. I do recommend that everyone take a simple multi-vitamin as an insurance measure against not always eating a well balanced diet, other than that, IMO it’s just a waste of money. Extra vitamins or protein will not provide any real benefits unless you are deficient in that particular nutrient. The bottom line is that if your body doesn’t need it, it won’t use it. People can (and will) argue over this one forever, but I have witnessed first hand untold amounts of money spent by Marines and others on expensive supplements, (over many years) and have seen very, very little (if any) benefit from the vast majority of them. Other than the supplement industry, which is cleaning up to the the tune of about 30 billion a year it does nothing in the vast majority of cases but end up in our sewer system. Ask yourself a simple question; With more people taking more supplements than ever before, why is are more Americans overweight, sick and out of shape than ever before?
#3 You have to lift heavy weights to be strong, False. I have lifted weights for most of my adult life. I have competed in olympic and powerlifting competitions and have lifted some pretty heavy weights over the years. However other than for actual lifting competitions, or for sports like football and bodybuilding, lifting heavy weights is not needed to develop real world useful strength. In fact I think lifting very heavy weights, (more than your bodyweight) is not worth the injuries that are sure to come from it. Doesn’t mean training with weights isn’t beneficial to develop strength, it is, but bench pressing 300 lbs (which I’ve done) isn’t particularly useful. In comparison 50 lbs sounds light? However put that 50 lbs it in a pack and hump it 20 miles up and down some hills and you’ll see the difference in real world fitness I’m getting at here.
#4 Running will eventually damage your joints, especially your knees, False. Its been proven that distance runners have some of the healthiest strongest bones and joints of all athletes. Most of the people I’ve seen with knee problems are people who don’t run (or exercise ) at all and are overweight. I have been running almost daily since I was about 12 years old and have never had any knee issues. Not that I haven’t injured myself once and awhile over the years when running, I have. I just don’t think that following an intelligent program of running while wearing wearing properly fitting running shoes will cause knee problems, and honestly. its sounds more like just an excuse not to run than anything else.
#5 Staying in shape and maintaining a healthy bodyweight weight is extremely hard thing to do, about impossible if you are a busy person, especially as you get older. It takes 24/7 discipline, hours of daily exercise (in an expensive gym), and a monk like diet that requires special expensive foods. This one is completely false, actually it’s beyond that, it’s total bullshit. A balanced workout routine of 3-5 hours a week, combined with a commonsense eating plan and average “Adult” level discipline can yield not only good, but great fitness and health. Like most things that are worth having, people make this much harder than it really is. Check out my book Corps Strength for how to do it, no drama, no BS, just results. Try it.
Have a safe and happy holiday season