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6 Fitness Tips Everyone's Heard (That Don't Work at All)

So this last year, I've been trying to do the old lose-weight-get-strong thing, so I can fit into a bikini and smash through walls. You know, the same thing millions of other Americans are striving for.


Deep down, we all want to be She-Hulk.

When I started out, I thought, naively, that different things work for different people and I should look around and try different ideas to see what works for me. I was a fool to have thought that. According to countless self-proclaimed fitness experts, there is only one way to avoid obesity and early death: their way. Among the tips you'll have screamed at -- from website and magazine headlines -- are ...

#6.
You MUST Eat Breakfast

This advice comes with one or more all-capped words most of the time, for some reason, as if implying that if you DON'T eat BREAKFAST you might DIE.

Why is breakfast so LIFE and DEATH? Well, for one thing, breakfast supposedly will "jump-start your metabolism" and make you burn calories at a faster rate throughout the day. This is silly and jump starting your metabolism by eating is not a real thing. In fact, for one group (male athletes), not eating breakfast really jump-starts their system.

The other reason given for the supreme importance of breakfast is that if you wait until lunch, you'll be so hungry you'll eat the entire buffet, heat lamps and all, and end up taking in more total calories over the course of the day than if you'd just eaten your crappy toast and fruit at breakfast.

Via Spencer195
The trays aren't bad, if crunchy. I wouldn't recommend the tongs though.

Unfortunately, studies show that's not the case. When subjects were asked to skip breakfast, and even both breakfast and lunch, they actually ended up eating the same or fewer calories than when they'd been eating breakfast.

My point isn't that you should skip breakfast. Maybe you are starving at 7 a.m. and feel like crap if you don't eat something. Maybe you do shove your face into the salad bar at lunch and suck everything up like a vacuum if you don't get your morning cereal. Maybe you can't eat when you get up, but you like a snack at 9 a.m. when you get to work. Whatever. All I'm saying is science has proven breakfast will not solve all or any of your major life problems.

#5.
You Must Get Your BMI Down

If you've ever tried to get fit, you've probably been introduced to the concept of BMI, or Body Mass Index. The concept is over 100-years old, and is totally showing it. BMI is more or less weight divided by height. If it's above a certain number, you're obese.

You can probably already see what the problem with that is. By that extremely oversimplified metric, Reggie Bush (pictured here) ...

... is a big old fatty. You could be 200 pounds of muscle or 200 pounds of fat (give or take some bones and blood or something) and BMI wouldn't know the difference.

That would be bad enough if BMI was just like an astrological sign or penis measurement that you use to brag groundlessly to other people. But it's not just a frivolous vanity stat, it's something that's being used to judge pretty important things, like whether you can apply for a job as a cop or firefighter, certain military jobs, or whether you can undergo surgery.

It might not be exactly the same as evaluating job applicants by reading the length of their lifeline on their palm, but it's pretty close. And do you really want anything to do with a system that has no place for guys like this?

#4.
Barefoot Running is Best

One of the hot trends nowadays is barefoot running, which is exactly what it sounds like. (Although some people do it with super-thin sandals or goofy-looking foot protectors.)

Via Brett L.

The reasoning goes that we evolved to run without shoes. Some dude won the 1960 Olympic marathon barefoot, and there's a tribe in Mexico that's been running hundreds of miles for years wearing only simple thin sandals.

So the theory goes that shoes are just a clunky modern invention that cage the mysterious physics tricks our feet are capable of.

But first of all, not everyone's feet are the magical mechanical machines evolution built. About 20 percent of adults have flat feet, so we don't even have that bio-mechanical springy arch that our athletic shoes are allegedly repressing.

Via BruceMcAdam
My feet, more or less.

You'd think people would go, "OK, I'm not talking about you then," but barefoot running advocates are extremely preachy, or to be fair, the ones you hear the most from are extremely preachy and (ironically) inflexible. So if you have normal feet? Barefoot running is the answer. Flat feet? Barefoot running is also the answer because it will "strengthen the muscles" that support your arch. That you don't have.

Other things they'll tell you is that everyone against barefoot running has a "vested interest" so you shouldn't listen to your podiatrist because they just want to sell you foot products, and top professional runners only wear shoes because they are in bed with dirty shoe company money.


Look at those money-grubbing sellouts.

Could you overdo it and get hurt? Nonsense. It's impossible to over-train or over-stride because "your feet will stop you."

That's interesting because sports injury clinics claim to be seeing a lot of injuries you can only get by barefoot running.

Via AndryFrench

It can get filtered out in the enthusiasm, because a lot of barefoot runners tend to excuse barefoot running pain as "getting used to it" after years of running wrong, or even see it as a good sign that they're really working out their foot muscles while framing any pain from running in shoes as signs of damage and wrong running.

How can people be so stubbornly sure that barefoot running is the only way for humans to run? There must be a lot of really good research on it, I guess. Except there isn't. Even one of the biggest researchers of barefoot running has this to say at the bottom of his website dedicated to barefoot running:

"Please note that we present no data on how people should run, whether shoes cause some injuries, or whether barefoot running causes other kinds of injuries. We believe there is a strong need for controlled, prospective studies on these issues."

Seems like a really weird basis for people to base a "this will work for everybody" level of faith in.

Oh, that guy that won the 1960 Olympic marathon barefoot? He ran it again in 1964 and set a new record ... while totally wearing shoes.

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