August 15, 2001
Fitness Expert Phil Kaplan shares
some of the most common mistakes that sabotage fitness and
weight loss success!
The Following Myths, Fallacies,
and False Beliefs can Keep Even Those With the Best of Intentions
From Ever Finding the Results They Seek:
That Aerobic Exercise is the Secret To Long Term Weight Loss
Even exercise physiologists are
often caught up in the partial view thinking that "aerobic
exercise burns fat." The truth is, you might enhance
fat release during aerobic exercise, but you can burn fat
as fuel anytime you are in an "aerobic state." Aerobic,
by definition, suggests that you are meeting oxygen demand.
That means any time you are meeting the demand for oxygen
you are capable of burning fat. Are you meeting oxygen demand
when you drive? Yup. When you read? Uh-huh! When you sleep?
You know it! If you learn to balance out supportive eating
with result oriented exercise, you can shift your body into
a state where it is slowly releasing and burning fat literally
ALL DAY LONG! Too much aerobic exercise, or exercising beyond
your body's momentary ability to supply fuel, can actually
result in a loss of muscle and metabolic slowdown. If you've
been on a strictly aerobic program, and neglected the resistance
training or supportive eating, it's no wonder you feel as
if you failed to get the results you seek. Don't misunderstand
me. I don't suggest aerobic exercise is bad. It's vital for
enhancing the function of the heart and lungs and for better
delivering nutrients to every cell in your body. It's just
that it should be viewed as a piece of the overall puzzle,
not the solution in and of itself. A slight modification in
any exercise program is usually enough to turn this mistake
around so improvement is constant and ongoing!
into Infomercial Offers
I'll make this simple. They lie!
Infomercials may in fact be selling potentially valuable products,
but by making the claims that suggest results will be quick,
will be easy, and will be miraculous, they almost always cross
the lines of truth and journey into hype and wild exaggeration.
You don't NEED any infomercial product. In fact, anything
you can buy from an infomercial can be found, perhaps under
different label, in other forums where honesty is more likely
to be an instrument in the sale. I know it's often tempting
to believe. The "shows" are very well produced,
but without some "over the top" hype and a very
carefully designed enticement known as a "CTA" or
"call to action," there's no way an efficacious
product can sell in that forum. Contact a qualified fitness
professional, preferably one certified by ACE or the NSCA,
to guide you in making wise fitness purchases.
the Scale as A Gauge of Progress
If you haven't read it yet, read
my article on Quick Weight Loss.
It'll reinforce what I'm about to tell you. The scale is not
all that intelligent. You give it far too much power over
dictating how you feel about yourself. It can not distinguish
between fat and lean body mass. It is in fact possible to
lose fat and weight more due to muscle increase. That's actually
supportive of long term fat loss. Even worse, the scale might
suggest you're doing "great" on your diet by revealing
that your losing pounds, but muscle loss will result in a
slowing of metabolism. Judge progress by the way your clothing
fits, by your reflection in the mirror, and, if you work with
a qualified Personal Fitness Trainer, have your body composition
measured in 90 day intervals. Throw away the scale!
the Solution is in a Pill Bottle
The pharmaceutical companies are
making a few billion dollars at the expense of those seeking
weight loss. Not a single one of the pharmaceutical releases
has had any significant impact on reducing obesity. Some,
such as Phen-Fen, have resulted in death. Others, addiction.
Others have resulted in side effects ranging from intestinal
discomfort to organ rejection in transplant patients. The
drug companies are researching how they can generate massive
profits by creating something that "appears" to
aid in weight loss. Whether it does or not is irrelevant.
and Vegetables Make Up a "Healthy" Weight Loss Plan
Yes, fruits and vegetables are
high in fiber, loaded with anti oxidants and valuable phytochemicals,
and can certainly provide fuel for energy. A reliance, however,
on "fruits and veggies" often puts dieters into
a caloric deficit. Because fruits are so water dense and most
veggies aren't very high in calories (relative to animal foods,
nuts, dairy products, etc.), weight loss is usually imminent,
but short lived. Like any calorie restrictive diet, the "healthy
fruits and veggies" idea can lead to loss of lean body
mass and a deceptive water loss. The minimization of complete
proteins in random vegetarian diets often leads to further
muscle catabolism (the body begins to feed off of muscle tissue
for fuel) and over time energy and metabolism decline. Don't
get me wrong. Fruits and vegetables are very healthy! It's
just that it's far simpler to get all of the valuable nutrients
for optimal metabolic function, cell growth, muscle maintenance,
and energy when meals contain a supportive balance of proteins
and natural complex carbohydrates. It should also be noted
that while fruits are indeed healthy, the sugar content can
alter blood sugar and decrease the likelihood of fat release.
When fruits are ingested with proteins and essential fats,
the release of sugars into the bloodstream is slowed. Can
you be a vegetarian and be healthy and fit? Of course! You
just have to be a bit more educated in how to get the nutrients
you remove from your diet when you give up animal foods. There
are a great many vegetable based foods and food combinations
including soy products, beans, whole grains, and nuts that
can work together to fill in the amino acids and minerals
that are most often delivered through meats and animal foods.
Supplements can also play a valuable role for vegetarians,
but a supplement program should be carefully designed by someone
highly qualified in nutrition. Bottom line . . . fruits and
veggies are not likely to be the mainstay or foundation of
a successful weight loss program, although they can certainly
be an integral and valuable part of it.
"I Can't Eat Healthy, I Eat
Out All The Time"
sometimes spend two weeks on the road and more than half of
my meals are in restaurants. Japanese restaurants are wonderful.
They usually have lean cuts of chicken and fish (sushi and
sashimi), nutritious salads, and many have brown rice. Restaurants
are always happy to prepare non-marinated chicken breasts
if requested, if baked potatoes aren't available, sliced tomatoes
can always serve as a starchy carb, and the vegetable selections
can usually be found between choices of fresh salad veggies
or steamed side dishes. Egg white omelets are available any
place they crack eggs to make breakfast. Oatmeal's a great
side. All fine restaurants will grill or broil fish at your
request. Once you learn how to order, you can get supportive
meals anywhere. With some careful study of the menu and salad
bar, you can even get a decent meal at Wendys!!!
Need Someone To Motivate Me
Most trainers in today's field
of "professionals" act as rep counters, yet they
thrive on individuals who believe they "need" a
motivator. "Four more, three more . . . " How motivating
is that? You don't NEED a rep counter. You simply need to
get started. Motivation comes from within. As long as you
tell yourself you need something external, something outside
of your own self-determination to get you into an exercise
mode, you'll continue to put it off. If you feel you need
some direction, enlist the services of a qualified Professional
Fitness Trainer, but view the trainer as a program designer
and limit your sessions initially to direction and advice.
If you enjoy having a trainer, and find it affordable, by
all means continue, but please don't use the absence of a
trainer or economical concerns to keep you from taking a walk
and buying a couple of pairs of dumbbells that you can use
at home. Once you begin to see results, I assure you, motivation
Too Old To Exercise
Nonsense. Exercise simply means
moving in a manner that increases blood flow and oxygen delivery
and/or challenging resistance for planned periods. If you're
capable of walking, you're capable of exercising. Even if
you are limited, if you can raise your arms or lift your leg,
you can get started. I've worked with clients who reported
being in the best shape of their lives in their 50's. I've
worked with clients who made incredible results in their 70's
and 80's. I've often told the story of the client who made
ongoing gains that shocked my entire staff . . . in her ninth
decade! I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to spend
time with people such as Jack La Lanne - well into his 80's,
a bundle of energy, and more vibrant, fit, and full of a passion
for life than most 20 year olds I meet! As a population, if
we take some responsibility for movement and nutrition, we
can completely redefine the concept of aging. Oh . . . here's
the crazy part. Most people who tell me they're too old to
exercise . . . haven't even approached 49 yet!
Oh . . . and the frequency of this
question motivates me to add one final "mistake"
to this update.
Following an intense aerobic
exercise session with Weight Training
. . . A
Strategy That Can Prove Extremely Self Defeating!!!!
I know many of you in search of
fat reduction were taught that your aerobic exercise session
warms up the muscles. An often overlooked physiological consideration
involves the energy systems at use. When you are in an aerobic
state, your body can use fat and/or glucose (sugar stored
in the muscles and liver as glycogen). The energy mechanism
for anaerobic movement (weight training) is purely glucose
(glycogen) driven. If you do your aerobic exercise first,
you run the risk of using or expending all available glycogen.
Now, when you move to your resistance exercise, there's no
fuel in the fuel tank! In order to manufacture glucose to
fuel your weight training session, your body may break apart
muscle tissue to use specific amino acids as the raw material.
That means your intense exercise session can result in muscle
loss! If you do your weight training first, your glycogen
stores are full, and when you move to your aerobic exercise,
fat can be accessed to meet energy demands. If that was complicated,
let me make it simple. If you want to preserve muscle and
burn fat, do your resistance exercise first. It's OK to do
a light intensity aerobic warm-up for five minutes prior to
your weight training to increase blood flow, but that should
not be considered your aerobic exercise session.
Forget the excuses. Make a commitment
to yourself and to the ones you love. Begin a process that
takes you right up to The Best You've Ever Been! You can do
it! Nobody's going to do it for you . . . take responsibility.
Take control. And be prepared for the most empowering dramatically
positive experience of your life!
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