It’s New Year, New You time, when health and fitness magazines go into overdrive with ridiculous headlines such as:
‘How to lose two stone in two weeks’
‘Get your 21 yr old body back’
And ‘Get beach ready in a week’
Obviously these headlines are there to grab your attention in order for you to purchase the magazine but I want to be honest with you and say that some things just won’t be achievable in a narrow time frame as these magazines would have you believe.
If you feel as though you’re not in great shape for 2017 bikini season, then please don’t fall for the stories you glance upon in the glossy, photo-shopped pages of health magazines while waiting in line to pay for your groceries.
These articles are not only false advertising but they can actually be quite damaging to your long-term health and body shape…
Ten lies the health and fitness magazine industry tells you
Imagery – take a look at the front cover of any of health and fitness magazine and inside artwork next time you’re at the news stand. They are without fail, decorated with a man or woman in perfect, almost impossible, physical shape. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that most people don’t actually look like that when the photograph is taken – these photos have been Photo-shopped and the magazines are duping you into believing people actually look that good. It creates a false reality, don’t be fooled.
One size fits all – the thing that frustrates me about these magazines is they offer ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Take a look back at the headlines I’ve written above. All of them are ludicrous as it is but they don’t make any allowance for people being DIFFERENT. Just as we all look different on the outside, we all function differently on the inside. Just because Jennifer Aniston looks amazing on the cabbage soup diet, doesn’t mean that you will too!
Quick Fix – Let’s assume ‘Lose two stone in two weeks’ really does work. What then? I’ll admit it is possible to lose a significant amount of weight in such a short period of time BUT there is a HUGE difference between weight loss and fat loss. Losing this much weight in such a short period of time often means losing a lot of body water and muscle mass. For a woman, losing muscle mass may sound like a good thing, but the reality is you need this muscle mass to give you shape and keep your metabolism high, without it you’re actually setting your body up to store more fat.
This is the reason why diets fail, you follow a massively restrictive diet for two weeks, and in doing so you put your body in a worse place, because your body is now less efficient at burning fat because you have less muscle mass as soon as you return to your normal eating pattern you’ll quickly put all of this weight back on and often a little bit more!
You need at least 30 days to make a lasting change. Don’t settle for quick fixes – go for long term sustainability.
Cardio training – There are so many mixed messages out there about cardio training. My belief is that it can be good for you but only if performed correctly. The majority of health magazines will recommend ‘steady state’ cardio in which you perform the relevant exercise for long periods at a very low intensity. Put simply, this type of training doesn’t work and who really has 90 minutes per day to find time to exercise?!
Spot training – Spot training is targeting very specific areas of your body. The scientific community is in basic agreement that there is no such thing as spot fat reduction. And yet, these magazines continue to promote training protocols that offer to ‘shed to belly fat’ ‘lose your bingo wings’ or ‘lose your flabby butt’. Whilst you can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles, your body has a pre-determined order in which it loses body fat, and sadly, you can’t play god. A long term plan with full body training and a continued healthy eating plan will always achieve the results that this type of training simply can’t.
Calorie restriction diet – far too many diets in magazines are focussed on ‘calorie restriction’ rather than focussing on reducing inflammation and increasing ‘good calories’ such as quality proteins carbohydrates and fats. Obviously, you can’t just consume as many good calories as you want. But strict, calorie counting, diets have been done to death. They’ll leave you feeling tired and worn out and you’ll eventually give in to cravings. Eat a diet of real clean food that energises you and follow a progressive training programme in order to change your body shape.
‘Easy’ – a lot of these magazines suggest their programmes are ‘easy’: such as ‘try these 3 simple steps’, ‘learn the big secret to losing belly fat’. Nothing is ‘easy’ if it’s worth having. It doesn’t have to be crushingly difficult but let’s be honest, if you really want to make a change, it will not be easy.
‘Fad’ diets – the reason that magazines advertise fad diets is because they sell well. Usually, it’s the same old diet with a few simple tweaks here and there – rebranded, perhaps with a celebrity endorsement to gain a few extra sales! Don’t believe the hype of a new fad diet.
Experts – be careful when these magazines talk about any kind of quote ‘expert’, sure: they’re called a ‘health and fitness expert’ but what has this person actually done to get that title? Usually nothing, they just like the idea of getting their name in a magazine! Only trust people that can back up their claims with qualifications and give their real name.
No motivation to continue – A classic problem is starting a diet in a bubble of motivation and enthusiasm and then the bubble bursts, leaving the individual depleted and feeling like a failure. Most people think that motivation leads to action but it’s the other way round. Do one thing first, get motivated by your own mini successes and pretty soon you’ll have great momentum towards your goals.
I don’t believe in the promises of health and fitness magazines, what I do believe in is steady progress towards your dream physique. If you want to discover a nutrition programme that guarantees results and works for your specific needs in a safe and effective manner whilst really looking after your body, grab a copy of my new book, Perform – out in February 2020.