The lies of the fitness industry are too numerous to mention them all, but the two biggest lies have led both men and women in the opposite direction of what leads to optimal health, fitness and disease prevention.
The lies of the fitness industry are just like the lies of any other industry and are motivated purely by money and what sells, not on what is actually best for you. Why? Because the best fitness advice is usually unprofitable or can't be monopolized.
Here are the 2 Biggest Lies of the Fitness Industry
Lie #1: Bodybuilders Get Big By Drinking Massive Amounts of Protein Powders
Bodybuilders get big for two reasons: steroids and genetics. That's it. It is not the "Mass Builder 2000" they tell you to drink 5 times a day.
The truth is, very few people have the genetic capacity to build massive gee-whiz muscles. Our ability to build muscle is limited by the type of muscle fibers we have, bone density, etc. No amount of training or protein powder is going to change that.
However, that fact is ignored by the fitness industry and they (the majority of fitness companies) still try to sell the belief that in order to build muscle you have to do the complex body part split routines they promote along with drinking protein 5 times a day.
Not only does this advice absolutely not work, but it is making a lot of people, guys specifically, very sick and fat from bad diets consisting primarily of cheap shakes containing large amounts of sugar, chemicals and artificial flavors.
The truth is, the key to building muscle is consistency, heavy weight and time under tension. It is true that you need sufficient protein and calories to grow, but you don't have to drink mass gainer shakes to get there.
Putting on muscle and getting strong are noble pursuits and we don't discourage you from doing it. Just be realistic about your body's limitations, focus on real food, and remember that ultimately, acheiving optimal health should always be the primary goal.
Lie #2: Steady State Cardio Is The Best Way For Women to Train
This lie is mostly directed at women, but is also directed at men too. This lie of the fitness industry is also bad for two reasons: 1) it ignores the fact that strength and mobility are key to robust health; and, 2) it too sells its followers bad diet advice.
From a purely fitness perspective, too much steady state cardio can be bad for you and is an inefficient way to workout. You can actually burn just as many calories, if not more, and stimulate a larger portion of the nervous system with high intensity weight training.
Studies have shown that cardio over 20 minutes also causes cortisol levels in the blood to spike. These stress hormones are bad for the heart and disrupt hormone function.
Long distance runners get exposed to these hormones non-stop, which is one of the primary reason steady state cardio may actually do more harm than good long term.
Too much cardio can also cause the body to cannibalize muscle, which causes the skinny-fat and/or overly lean physique of most runners.
The irony is, that body type is not what most women or men desire. What most women we've worked with say, is that they want the body of a figure model, which steady state cardio will not produce.
Fitness models, which are very strong, tone and lean looking, get that way by spending most of their time lifting, not running for hours on end. Again, this advice is for selling running shoes, shorts and Fitbitz, not because it is what's best for over all health.
The second reason the "steady state cardio" lie of the fitness industry is an issue, is because of the "carb-loading" and hyper sugar consumption myth it also encourages.
Though it is getting better, the running industry has convinced millions of runners that they need to load up on carbohydrates and gel packs in order to perform on race day or in the gym.
Again, not only is this bad advice, but it is another reason that so many runners end up "skinny-fat".
Additionally, science has proven that excessive consumption of carbohydrates and sugar are the primary cause of diabetes and insulin resistance, making this problematic health advice.
Obviously, both of these lies of the fitness industry could be the subject of multiple posts and we have barely scratched the surface of them. We encourage you to do additional research in these areas and try to avoid into falling into either of these traps.
Both bodybuilding and running can be great tools for getting in shape and neither are bad when balanced properly with a superfood diet, mobility work, etc.
The ultimate point here is that they represent extremes and that the true path to optimal health and fitness requires balanced training and a diet rich in superfoods and greens. Not only will that give you the best results, it will likely save you thousands of dollars.
Don't believe the lies of the fitness industry and the extremes they promote. Most often any extreme in training and health is likely motivated more by greed and less by actual results.