11 fitness ‘truths’ that are doing more harm than good


workoutFlickr/Nathan Rupert

Whether you want to tone up, slim down, or give yourself a mood boost, you’ve likely taken a stab at tweaking your fitness routine.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of “fitness” advice out there that won’t help you meet your goals and could actually be doing you more harm than good.

For example, which matters more for weight loss: exercise or diet?

Are marathons the best way to get fit?

The answers to these questions might surprise you.

Exercise is all that matters when it comes to losing weight fast.


In the short-term, the bulk of research shows us that diet is far more important than simply upping your workout regimen if you want to start shedding pounds.

“Studies tend to show that in terms of weight loss, diet plays a much bigger role than exercise,” Philip Stanforth, an exercise scientist at the University of Texas and the executive director of the Fitness Institute of Texas, told us.

Over the long-term, though, research suggests that regular workouts do become more important for staying fit. “When you look at people who’ve lost weight and are also managing to keep it off, exercise is important,” said Stanforth.

Weight training will turn fat into muscle.

Nope. Lifting weights won’t magically make your flab lean. Unfortunately, body fat cannot become muscle. But weight training will help you build muscle tissue, which will thicken underneath any fat above it.

Early morning is the only time you should work out.

The afternoons or evenings are likely nearly as good for you as early-morning workouts, according to several studies.

But some research suggests that working out first thing each day helps speed weight loss and boost energy levels by priming the body for an all-day fat burn.

Plus, getting more daylight may play an important role in shedding pounds. By making sure we align our internal clocks, or circadian rhythms, with the natural world, we may help give our metabolisms a boost. One recent study showed that people who basked in bright sunlight within two hours after waking tended to be thinner and better able to manage their weight than people who didn’t get any natural light, regardless of what they ate throughout the day.



Women shouldn’t weight train because they’ll bulk up like a man.

In a recent poll by fitness-equipment company Nautilus Inc., just 13% of respondents said they thought women could weight train without “bulking up like a man.”

Guess what? It is perfectly safe for everyone to lift weights — and it’s also a really great way to strengthen your muscles. The ability to build large muscles is directly dependent on the amount of testosterone we have, and women on average produce far less testosterone than men. So if you’re a woman, the chances that you’ll “bulk up” are incredibly slim — pun intended.

A few minutes on the treadmill will jump-start your fat burn.

You have to burn 3,500 calories — far more than the equivalent of the total amount of calories an average adult (male or female) should eat in an entire day — to burn or lose a pound of fat. For some perspective, the average American adult male would burn roughly 330 calories from running at a moderate pace (i.e. a nine-minute mile) for 20 minutes.

Keeping a food diary is a reliable way of monitoring what you eat.

Not quite. 

Even when we’re making an effort to be more conscious of what we’re putting into our bodies and how active we are, we tend to give ourselves more credit than we deserve.

“People tend to overestimate their physical activity and underestimate how much food they eat,” Stanforth recently told us. “They consistently think they’ve worked out more and consistently think they’ve eaten less.”

You have to cut carbs or sugar in order to lose weight.

The problem with fad diets is simple: They’re temporary. In order to lose weight and keep it off, you have to find an eating regimen that you can stick with for life.

You know we tend to say you go on a diet, but that also implies you’re going to go off of it. And that’s not how we should be looking at this,” Philip Stanforth of the University of Texas and the Fitness Institute of Texas recently told us

“Sometimes people are looking for the latest fad, but oftentimes it’s the fundamentals that are the most important and that make the biggest difference.”

Running a marathon is the best way to get fit.

Good news: You can stop feeling guilty about not signing up for that marathon everyone’s talking about. As it turns out, you can get some of the same benefits of long-distance running without ever passing the 5-mile mark.

Running fast and hard for just five to 10 minutes a day can provide some of the same health benefits as running for hours can. In fact, people who run for less than an hour a week — so long as they get in those few minutes each day — get similar benefits in terms of heart health compared with those who run more than three hours a week.

Plus, years of recent research suggest that short bursts of intense exercise can provide some of the same health benefits as long, endurance-style workouts — and they also tend to be more fun.

Working out for one or two days a week is enough to stay in shape.

If you’re already in decent shape, exercising for just a couple days a week likely won’t benefit you too much.

“A minimum of three days per week, for a structured exercise program [is best],” Shawn Arent, an exercise scientist at Rutgers University, told Tech Insider. “Technically, you should do something every day, and by something I mean physical activity — just move. Because we’re finding more and more that the act of sitting counteracts any of the activity you do.”

Sports drinks are the best thing to have on-hand after a workout.

Sorry, Gatorade lovers: This “power beverage” is mostly just sugar and water.

After a workout, experts recommended refueling the body with about 20 grams of protein (which can be from any source) and by drinking lots of water. “Protein ingestion during and/or immediately after exercise has been suggested to facilitate the … adaptive response to each exercise session, resulting in more effective muscle reconditioning,” writes the author of a recent paper from the Nestle Nutrition Institute workshop series.

It takes at least a couple weeks to get out of shape once you stop working out.

Sadly, all those brawny muscles you worked so hard to build this summer will likely start to break down a few days after you cut back in the fall.

In most people, muscle can start to break down within a week without regular exercise. “If you stop training, you actually do get noticeable deconditioning, or the beginnings of deconditioning, with as little as seven days of complete rest,” Arent said. “It very much is an issue of use it or lose it.”

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Your 2017 Marketing To-Do List [Infographic]


Now that we’re well into 2017, are you checking items off your marketing to-do list? Or, like many of us procrastinators, do you have a to-do list that consists of just one item: “Make 2017 marketing to-do list”?

If the latter is the case, IBM has you covered.

The software company has put together an infographic guide to help marketers prioritize their efforts this year, and it also explains the benefits that each idea can have on your program.

For example, stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts or figures alone, the infographic claims, and it gives tips on how to captivate your audience with better stories this year.

To start your own marketing to-do list, click or tap on the infographic to see a larger version:

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

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Alexa gets meta, finds you the latest AI research


AI research is so hot right now, it’s hard for even scientists in the field to keep up. To stay on top of the 300-plus papers submitted per day to Arxiv.org, machine-learning researcher Amine Ben Khalifa naturally turned to … machine learning. He taught Amazon’s AI-powered Alexa bot to find the latest AI research papers for the day, read the titles and give a summary of specific projects, all via voice control.

"Alexa changed the way I get my daily flash briefings," Khalifa said. "With the arxivML Alexa skill, I intend to skip paper browsing altogether, and instead get paper briefings while getting ready to go to work."

After it’s asked, as shown in the video below, Alexa reads the top 50 papers of the day related to machine learning, AI and similar topics. If you want to know more about one of them, it’ll then read the abstract, and you can stop it anytime, or say "Alexa, next" to skip to the next title. The app also shows titles and abstracts in the Alexa app to help you keep track of where it is.

Staying on top of the latest work is a must for machine learning researchers, Khalifa notes, and using Alexa is a pretty apt way to do that. (If you’d rather read about the latest AI work, there’s also the "Arxiv Sanity Preserver" from AI researcher Andrej Karpathy.) The arxivML Alexa skill is available to anyone who wants it on Amazon’s Skill Store, and in the spirit of the field, Khalifa also posted the code on GitHub for anyone who wants to tweak it.

Source: Medium

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