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Time magazine article-“The Myth About Exercise”

August 17, 2009


In the August 17, 2009 issue of Time magazine, there is an article titled “They Myth About Exercise”.  In short, this article argues against the well believed “myth” that physical activity won’t melt away pounds, but may add them.  Very controversial!  I am sure many personal trainers and exercise addicts are not in agreement.

Well, after reading the article, I must say that I do agree with the majority of the claims.  I am an advocate of exercise and physical activity for better health, energy, and for changing the musculature of the body.  However, I have never been a fan of excessive cardio for weight loss, for through personal experience, I do know that excess cardio is very taxing on the body and most certainly does not promote rapid weight loss (as the article states, only promotes more hunger, which is true for most people).

What promotes weight loss is calorie restriction and lifestyle changes.   Eating smaller portions.   Learning how much food you need to consume to on a daily basis. Again, it’s calorie control that matters! Every single time that I have trained for a marathon, I have never lost a single pound through the running alone.  I am not out to lose weight, but I know that this phenomenon does occur in other people as well.  What tends to happen after I finish a 20 mile run is actually very normal—I am hungry ALL DAY LONG.  So, I end up eating more, thus evening out my calories in versus calories out for that particular day.

However, I DO believe that exercise is crucial if one wants to feel better, look better, and have more energy.  I don’t think you have to slave away at the gym in order to change your physique, but I do feel that weight training combined with moderate cardio will change the look of your body, no doubt!  If you are eating well, you do not have to exercise excessively to lose weight.  It is only those with crummy eating habits who feel they need to exercise for extended periods of time to lose weight.

Also, whenever I see women over-doing it on various cardio machines, I always think “hit the weights lady—that’s where it’s at if you want to change the appearance of your muscles”.   But for some reason, so many people still have the mind set of “cardio first”, thinking they are burning many more calories than they truly are (and thus creating the desire to eat more).

Most people just don’t know how many calories they are consuming on any given day.  We over-consume food, which is the real reason why people can’t lose the extra weight.  It’s hard for many people to exercise self control and will power, so instead, they beat themselves to a pulp at the gym.

The article is well written, but a bit cynical.  I exercise because I actually enjoy it—I like the way it makes me feel, I enjoy the clarity a good run brings, and I like the quiet time it offers.  If you exercise for these reasons as well, good for you! If you are exercising so much that you don’t have energy to do much else during your day, then you are over doing it, it’s that simple.

Americans are obsessed with gadgets, fitness fads, diet books, and weight loss, and they will reach out for almost anything that they feel will take them one step closer to the perfect body they covet (but in the easiest way possible).  The answer truly is in what you are eating, and then the benefits that you receive from exercising are just the icing on the cake.

Jack Lalanne always used to say “exercise is king, nutrition is queen”.  I adore this man, but I’d have to say the reverse, “nutrition is king, exercise is queen”. Sorry Jack!

On that note, keep up with your exercise (in moderation, of course), and EAT WELL.  You will notice a tremendous difference in the way you look and feel.

Ciao for now!


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