Switch Off Your TV: The Truth on Fat Loss
Contributor - Strength and Conditioning
An afternoon talk show got me thinking of this topic. This particular program was a segment on weight loss and the appropriate exercises for it. Obviously, I was skeptical as to what the content would be. And was I ever dead-on.
How Not to Lose Weight
The subject was a typical gal who gained fat in her mid-section. She was seeking a way to reverse it. Enter a fitness expert from Planet Fitness (of all places). As many of you know, loud effort noises are frowned upon in their facilities, even though they may be a manifestation of proper exercise effort. That is a totally different discussion, but it's ironic this person was secured for this episode.
In brief, the over-fat gal was looking for the magic fat-loss bullet. The Planet Fitness guru almost got it as she mentioned a thirty-minute circuit. But sadly, she then went directly into a twelve-minute, three-exercise abdominal routine. On top of that, all the buzzwords came out, and often.
Note the following points in the video:
- 00:17 - Working on the lower abs and flattening that "pooch."
- 1:03 - Host Steve Harvey (I love that guy) states, "I've got abs." Of course. We all do. It's what holds certain internal organs in place and allows for spinal flexion, rotation, and stabilization. Mr. Harvey may have well-developed abdominals. However, if he possesses an inordinate amount of abdominal fat we will not see those abs.
- 1:50 - The misguided trainer states, "We are going to coast our way to a toned tummy." She was referring to a coaster-type machine where you rock (coast) back and forth with mid-section impetus. What? Explain the fat-targeting physiological mechanism behind that. Seriously, I just laughed.
- 2:18 - On the ab-coaster movement, the guru tells Mr. Harvey to "swing the hips." This action would activate the oblique muscles and thus lead to further toning. Really?
- 2:53 - More buzzwords come out. Muffin top. Love handles. And the internal and external obliques being the most important stabilizers in your body. The most important? Please give me the facts that support that statement. Her point was it was time to get rid of the muffin top by using the abdominal rotation device. Yeah, like that is going to happen.
- 3:34 - The purported fitness guru states the subject was "saying good bye to her love handles" while she was performing another mid-section rotation-type of exercise. Here we go again. Pure bullshit. No science to support it.
It's 2014. Are we that gullible as a society when it comes to fat loss? I guess so. The truth is there are high-calorie and low-nutrient foods everywhere. That, in combination with lower activity rates, is what results in muffin tops and love handles. It's a mathematical and thermodynamic issue.
The Lost Art of Working Hard
As a society, we in the United States (and most likely other countries) are soft. Proper exercise is hard work. Many do not truly know what hard work and dedication are. Most have been misled by mainstream crap. The lost art of working hard and exuding discipline has been lost. Most seek the easy way out thinking doing anything leads to at least some benefit. That is somewhat true, but meager effort only results in sub-par results.
- Work hard = maximum results
- Work half-ass = less-than-maximum results
Here’s a practical example. Watch your favorite television program while walking half-assed on a treadmill for forty minutes. Not optimal. Eschew your ear buds and engage in a high-effort twenty-minute interval or strength-training circuit. That is optimal.
In today's world there are many who don't care what they look like. Visit your local shopping mall or grocery store and view the scantily clad people who shouldn't be scantily-clad. They couldn’t care less what you think. I can live with that, but those same people better not be complaining to me why they look as they do.
Here's the point. I've stated it before but it remains true:
- If you eat like crap and don't train hard, you'll become a fat-ass.
- If you eat like crap and train reasonably, it's like kissing your sister. You'll be treading water.
- If you shore up your eating and don't train hard, you will see some improvement, but not as optimal as it could be.
- If you shore up your eating and bust your ass in training, you'll maximize your genetic potential and look as good as you can. Whatever that is, it will happen. Be proud of it.
I've never had anyone say to me, "Hey, Coach Kelso, I've been busting my butt and eating like a champion, yet I've seen minimal results."
Here is what that television program should have included:
- If you eat like crap and don't exercise, expect to accumulate body fat and possess a sub-par physique.
- A demonstration of effective calorie-burning and muscle-building exercises without the perpetuation of the mid-section spot-reduction myth.
- Tips for making small, yet positive changes in food intake and increasing activity level. Believe it or not, eating better and initiating some type of activity is a huge step for many.
Better yet, I’d love to see somebody create an entire TV episode that explains how to completely over-haul poor food intake habits and how to add proper exercise to assist in countering fat accumulation. And state up-front that you must work within your genetic make-up.
So, buyer beware on financially-driven television programs that promote diet and fitness programs. Most of them are simply embarrassing.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.