The Biggest Lie In Fitness

March 7, 2008 · Print This Article

Everybody plays the fool.

Almost every person out there with excess body fat has tried an ab belt, or some other kind of fitness gimmick to lose weight and get toned. I remember many years ago when I was living in Hilo, Hawaii, my ex-girlfriend’s family had pretty much every ab machine I had ever seen on TV.

Well, I was a fat kid and I was pretty excited that she had all this great stuff.

I remember trying one of them that looked like a red, and grey spaceship. I grabbed the handles on each side, and put the middle of the machine with the pumper thing on my stomach. I pumped it really hard over, and over again till my face was red like a ripe mango. It really burned.

I decided that this contraption was going to help me burn the fat right off my stomach. I was highly motivated and I was willing to be patient and give it time to work. To kick it off, I hit the scale and started with a “Before” weigh-in.

I kept doing it. I pumped 100 times and built up to 500 of these pumps every single day for 2 weeks.

After those 2 weeks I stepped on the scale again only to find out that I hadn’t lost a single pound. In fact, I had actuaIly GAINED 2 lbs!

I was discouraged and depressed. I’m not a quitter, but I’m no dummy either. If it was not working, I was not going to keep spending my time doing it. At the time, I didn’t understand why this happened. I only knew that the scale said I was 2 lbs heavier, and that my red faced pumping days were over.

Have you ever gone on “The Tour” at the gym?

Some people take the plunge and go to gym to do it “the real way”. They figure that they will have all the latest & greatest equipment at their disposal, that the knowledgable staff can point them in the right direction if needed, and they even have personal trainers to help.

Every person that goes on The Tour of a gym for the first time will likely take a stroll through the facility with a sales guy. The sales guy will probably stop by an ab machine during The Tour and have you try it out.

“Do you feel the burn?”, the sales guy asks.

Why do you think he wants you to try it?

He wants you to think that doing these crunches will help you lose fat from this problem area. He’s using the same sleezy sales tactic that the TV commercials are using on you. And he has an even bigger advantage. He’s right there in front of you smiling at you and reassuring you that these “fat burning machines” are going to melt the fat right off your midsection.

Big fat lies. Have you ever fell for them?

Read very carefully. If you are one of the millions of people in America that believe the biggest lie in fitness, you’ll be scratching your head for a very long time, and wondering why you are not seeing any results from your exercise.

If you’re in Honolulu, Hawaii, or anywhere in Japan, stop by Don Quijote and check out their selection of exercise products. They have their shelves stacked with loads of the most useless fitness gimmicks ever offered; Waist Trimming Shorts, Ab Belts, Crunch Machines, and the list goes on and on. And if you’re still asking if they work, the answer is–THEY ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WORK.

Don’t waste your time, or money. They will keep selling this crap because people keep buying it. Don’t be a sucker. Stay away from that garbage!

Do you “get it”?

One of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes. It’s smarter to use our head earlier in the process. Learn from the mistakes of others and don’t make the same ones they did. Everyone makes mistakes. Back when I worked in a big corporate fitness chain (one that’s open 24 hours ;)), I witnessed MANY personal trainers making these novice mistakes every single day.

The example below shows you the difference between a trainer that “gets it” and one that doesn’t. Learn from their mistakes and you’ll be making more progress 24 hours a day.

Imagine you’re a personal trainer. You have a sedentary female client named “Mary”, who is starting an exercise program with you.

Mary stands 5’5″ tall and weighs 170 lbs.

Most of her extra weight is in her hips. She also doesn’t like the extra stuff she’s got on her waist and hanging from the back of her arms.

Mary told you that her main goals are to “lose weight”, “trim down”, and “tone up”, especially in her problem areas. What will you teach Mary that is going to help her achieve her goals of trimming down, toning up, and losing weight?

It had better be good, and it better work fast. After all, Mary is paying $50+ per hour for your time.

Personal Trainer Option #1

You put side lying leg lifts at the top of Mary’s priority list and give her a few different exercises for her triceps. As a bonus, you give her some great ab exercises she can do to target her stomach fat. These killer exercises are surely going to help Mary BLAST FAT from her hips, arms, and midsection in a hurry. If we want to lose fat from our hips, midsection and arms, we have to do the exercises that target those areas. You’ll show Mary how to work on stuff like legs, and the muscles of the back and chest after we’ve isolated the hips, arms, and abdominals. After all, Mary specifically said she wants to lose fat from those areas.

Personal Trainer Option #2

Instead of spending 90% of your time on the areas that Mary said she wants to see the fat go away, you first teach Mary how to engage the muscles that stabilize her spine. You design a proggresive program that focuses on the larger groups of muscles of her body like legs, glutes, chest, and lats. You choose multi-joint compound exercises that utilize these large muscle groups. You have Mary perform a series of exercises that target her entire body and teach her how to eat right.

Which answer did you choose?

Personal Trainer Option #1 obviously sounds way more sexy. Personal Trainer Option #2 might seem way off to some people.

If you chose answer #2, you are CORRECT.

There is no such thing as spot reduction.

You cannot spot reduce.


If you want to lose fat from your hips, or midsection, or from your arms, or wherever it is that you want to lose fat from, the answer is that you need to decrease your level of body fat. This is accomplished by consuming less calories each day than what your body is using up. Furthermore, you must do it without compromising your metabolism. When caloric intake is reduced too drastically, you cause a metabolic slowdown in your body and you start burning less calories.

To achieve real and permanent fat loss, reduce caloric intake gradually and aim to consume no more than 250-500 calories below maintenance. Go much lower than that and you could severely slow down your metabolism. Here’s some very simple math to find the approximate number of calories the average person should eat to maintain their body weight: multiply your body weight x 15.

115lbs x 15 = 1,725 calories

130lbs x 15 = 1,950 calories

150lbs x 15 = 2,250 calories

200lbs x 15 = 3,000 calories

If you have fell for the biggest lie in fitness before, don’t feel ashamed, guilty, or stressed about what has already passed. Forgive yourself. Shut those negative feelings out and focus on what you need to do today to start making some real progress.


3 Responses to “The Biggest Lie In Fitness”

  1. Samantha on July 10th, 2008 3:52 pm

    So my weightx15 is 2655. Should I keep eating 2655? If not, how much less should I eat?

  2. ChrisR on July 11th, 2008 4:03 pm

    “To achieve real and permanent fat loss, reduce caloric intake gradually and aim to consume no more than 250-500 calories below maintenance. Go much lower than that and you could slow down your metabolism.”

    Every day you burn a different number of calories for various reasons; the thermic effect of food (the energy your body uses to digest, and process food), the thermic effect of exercise which is the energy your body uses to complete any task beyond it’s normal daily functioning such as breathing, pumping blood through your heart, etc.

    The number 2,655 is a ballpark number; it should be pretty close to your maintenance. In theory, you would stay at the same weight by eating 2,655 calories each day.

    Here’s some basic trainer math. 1 lb of body fat = about 3,500 calories worth of stored energy. If you were at a 500 calorie deficit each day for a week, theoretically you would lose 1 lb of body fat every week.

    Reaching a 500 calorie deficit should come from a combination of diet & exercise.

    Conversely, you would gain about a pound a week if you ate 500 calories more than your maintenance level each day. Even if you exercise away 300 calories every day, you still have a surplus of 200 calories. Our body stores that extra energy as body fat.

    I hope this helps.

  3. Samantha on July 12th, 2008 4:30 am

    Thanks! I’m really awful at math. this helped a lot!

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