Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fitnessisms that drive me Batty

Several months back I was reading my twitter feed early in the morning when I noticed a strange linking tweeted by a popular fitness magazine that read something along the lines of "the faster the runner, the higher consumption of alcohol". Of course I followed the link, read the article, and within the first few sentences knew that it was 100% bogus. The article spewed off countless statistics about the strangest things with no acknowledgement as to how they gathered the information or siting of their sources. How they came to the conclusion that all fast elite runners are heavy drinkers is still a mystery to me.

I've seen a lot of this kind of stuff lately, especially on twitter. There are fitness professionals making outrageous claims, big businesses tweeting silly links, and random people saying things where the "if I read it, it's true" effect comes to life. Reading these things makes me insane, especially as a fitness professional and it has become difficult to sort through the creditable and fictitious information that is so readily available to us all.

Top 10 crazy Fitnessisms that make me batty:

I can't do it.
Just because you haven't yet taken the leap of faith to try something doesn't mean you can't do it. With a little bit of patience and diligence anything is possible. "Can't" and "don't want to" are not interchangeables.


Running is bad for the knees.
Really? What research has lead you to this conclusion? All of the creditable studies I've read have actually said that running INCREASES joint strength, so I think I'll take my chances. The last time I checked, I thought obesity was worse for the knees then running.

It's raining out, so that means I can't run.
You have not lived unless you've let the soft touch of the rain soothingly kiss your skin while tilting your head back to catch a few drips in your mouth and splashed around in some puddles on a rainy day. If there is anything that will make you feel like a kid again, it's running in the rain. Promise, you won't melt and your clothes will eventually dry.

Walking down stairs is bad for your knees.
Someone actually sent me this tweet several months back and randomly advised that I should stop taking the stairs. I've always been under the impression that movement, in all planes of motion, is good for the body because it is meant to move. I'm not afraid of the stairs, but it seems like most people are.

But the package says low or non fat.
If you bought food from any of the center lanes of the grocery store where it can stay in your cabinet for prolonged periods of time, it most likely isn't really low fat...or food for that matter. Besides, this crap doesn't even taste good.

Running, or any cardio for that matter makes me fat.
No it doesn't, exercise will never make you fat. It's what you do when you're not exercising that will make you fat.

Instead of having lunch, eat a protein shake.
This is HUGE in the fitness industry where personal trainers tell their clients to skip meals and replace them with "healthy" protein shakes that have an outrageous amount of protein, taste like crap, and won't really help when you are trying to lose weight. Last time I checked, powers made from chemical compounds which dissolve in liquid don't really classify as food either.

Calorie counting.
Just because the treadmill says you burned 500 calories in 45 minutes doesn't mean you actually did, you'll be lucky if you burned half that number. In my opinion counting is a waste of time, most likely you'll over estimate how many you burn and under estimate how many you consume. Instead, eat real food when you're hungry. Slowly. Stop when you feel full.

I don't want to lift weights because it will make me bulky.
It won't, unless you are pounding back massive amounts of protein, which will be no good for your body in the long run. Strength training will strengthen your muscles, increase bone density, make your activities of daily living seem easier, and tighten up your bod. It is actually really really difficult to add bulk in the form of muscles. So pick up those weights and get squatting!

Crunches will tighten my midsection.
Sadly, no. Isolation doesn't work, especially for the core. Eat a healthy diet, engage your body in plenty of dynamic movements that activate the core, and stay hydrated if you want those abs of steel. You don't have to be lying on the floor to work your core and instead can engage the midsection in every other exercise imaginable. It works, trust me.

Sorting through all the bogus claims and and info out there these days requires quite a bit of work nowadays:

Do your own research, check your sources sources, then check their sources.
Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Just because someone on twitter says it's true, that doesn't mean it is.

What fitness myths or commonly overused phrases make your skin crawl?


  1. This is such a great post! Another thing I frequently hear from family or friends is "I wish I could run, but I'm not a runner." or just plain "I'm not a runner." Unless you have a medical reason to not run, why wouldn't you be a runner if you wanted to try?

  2. People who think just because you worked out that day, you can eat whatever you want (and still lose weight). 30 minutes of cardio does not burn as many calories as people think.

    Also people who talk and talk and talk about how they want to lose weight, but then do nothing to actually lose it. I get that it's hard. But if you're all talk, I don't want to hear it.

    And people who try to give me a hard time for being "addicted" to running. Meanwhile these people smoke and consume countless drinks. I guess they know a thing or two about addiction?

  3. "Besides, this crap doesn't even taste good." HA. so true.

    Weights...I must get back to weights now that my knee is better. They are so beneficial!

  4. I have heard some funny things, but the ones about not running or going outside when it's cold because you'll "get sick" are the ones I shake my head at. Bundle up!

  5. Here are a couple of mine:

    Running is bad for your knees

    You should start running less mileage now that you are getting older

    I can' run, I have bad knees

    Running is bad for you because it makes your skin/breasts sag

    Great post - fun and enlightening. I hadn't heard some of yours before!

  6. I hear people talk about knees and joints almost constantly when it comes to running...and then try to sell me supplements.

    As someone else has said, it also drives me batty when people say they "wish they could be a runner" or that they "can't believe you run so far" or really anything to do with the fact that they cannot do something. Anyone can be a runner and it's never to late to start. :)

  7. My absolute most irritating is running is bad for your knees. Some people just won't give up on that.

    and I hate the whole protein shake as a meal replacement thing, JUST EAT HEALTHY AND BE ACTIVE!

    or you have a runners body, I don't so I don't run.

    Maybe I have a runners body because I RUN!

    Great fun post.

  8. "I don't want to lift weights because my muscles will get too big!" If only it were that easy to put on muscle! lol

    p.s. I love weight training! :)

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this! I learned a lot!

  10. I am currently 14 weeks pregnant and get tired of people telling me I shouldn't run during pregnancy.

    Everyone thinks they are an expert even if they haven't run a mile in their life.

  11. THANK YOU! I was a Biology major in college and because of my research skills - I ALWAYS check for the clinical back up on claims. It is my nature.

    Nothing is better than a nice run in the rain when everyone else is hibernating :)

  12. Great post! There is so much misinformation out there designed to target people who want the quick fix for health. It's a simple equation; watch what you eat & workout. I'm a firm believer that it's better to have real food over anything designed in a lab. If you want to loose weight you watch what you eat & workout. This is coming from a girl who lost over 120lbs in a little over a year by working out & eating right - no surgeries, just through good old fashioned hard work. That was 2 years ago. Now I am proud to say I am a runner.

  13. great post and so so so true!

  14. Don't walk down the stairs?? That's cute. So true about the "running is bad for your knees." Compare an 80 year old life long runner and an 80 year old obese person. I'm guessing the latter has the worse knees and then some!

  15. Awesome list--these all drive me nuts! And let me add the "carbs are bad, protein is great" myth. So sick to death of that one. When will it die???

  16. Great list. Others I've heard that drive me nuts are:

    1) If you don't work out, your muscles will turn to fat.
    2) No pain no gain.
    3) Rest days aren't important.

  17. Great posts... glad we are able to shed some light on these thoughts.

  18. I don't think I have anything to add to the list, but reading this has pinpointed why I have been so off this week - I am SICK and TIRED of other people's excuses and whining. This post helped me figure that out. Thanks, Britt!

    I set up a run on Tuesday and a few people were concerned about the rain. Storms, yes. Rain...? Unless is pouring, come on!

  19. I love all of these that you posted and agree with you - it drives me crazy too! Especially about the knees and running. I often get people saying you shouldn't run, you will destroy your knees and I don't even waste my breath anymore. That and I can't run because I have bad knees. That leaves me thinking maybe they have bad knees because they don't run:) my knees have never been better since I've been consistently running. Thanks for all the info!!:)

  20. These are great! I completely agree with all of them. The one that bugs me the most I think is the protein shake thing. I have a high metabolism and if I don't eat, I get ill, light-headed and can get sick. A proper healthy meal is always better then a shake of some sort. Nicely done girl!

  21. The one that bothers me the most is the lifting weights will make you bulky. Weights are SO good for you!

  22. I'm a big fan of when people think muscle can turn to fat if you stop lifting :-)

  23. Great post! Especially the "that's not even food" comments. I can't understand why anyone would want to replace real food (yummy yum yum) with something that isn't really food...

  24. Potential Client: "I want to work with you. I need your help but I need to get in shape first."

    Wha?! As a certified personal trainer, it's my job to help you get in shape!

  25. these are all good. oh there are so many. I REALLLLLLLY hate " Don't eat after 6pm." Really? If I go to bed at 11, I'm going to eat after 6pm. dumb!

  26. I agree with basically everything you said except for one. The counting calories. I do agree the calorie burn counter on machines are totally false. But many overweight people don't really realize how many calories they consume in a day. Plus many don't know the amount of calories they need to eat to stay the same weight. I lost 100lbs. I never counted calories down to the exact calorie, but I had a solid general idea how much I was taking in in a day. I think it is useful to count for about 2-4 weeks until you have a general idea of what you need to eat then you should be able to do it without going down to every calorie.