Libby Norris: Debunking infomercial claims
Published Monday, January 20, 2014 7:18AM EST Last Updated Monday, January 20, 2014 9:46AM EST
Don't let these red flags of fitness ruin your resolve!
Fitness and weight loss always hit the top 5 for resolutions made at New Year's but are often ditched before decorations come down.
We start Jan. 1 with the best of intentions and then get further inspired by the barrage of infomercials promising amazing results in just minutes a day or the new and special programs out at clubs that will help us be our best for 2014!
The greatest value of ANY of these is sparking or adding to the motivation and inspiration to move and make change. The tough part, though is sticking with it! So often, by week 3 of any program, people can get discouraged because they don't see results they were promised.
SMART goal planning includes "A" for attainable. Keep your resolve by tempering your expectations - make them realistic and put those promotions in perspective! Falling for crazy fitness claims will set you up for disappointment when we know it takes time to achieve long term fitness and weight loss results.
Watch for these common red flags with fitness claims that might make you feel like you've fallen short!
"Results in just minutes a day"
- Response: It just doesn't happen that way.
- Reality: Unfortunately, you can eat 500 calories way more quickly than you can burn them off! Although you CAN realize health benefits with as little as 5 minutes of activity a day, it's not going to get you that six pack that you may have seen on an infomercial. How quickly you get results is directly related to the balance of changes you may need to make in a variety of areas related to weight and fitness - eating, activity, body composition, health, sleep and stress. Quick results are most often short-lived!
- Response: Show me the study!
- Reality: Unless it's a study from a reputable and recognized research facility, it likely doesn't have legs to stand on. Most often these claims are anchored with a grain of truth to make it sound like there is solid evidence. Ads will also promote topics and trends in the news - talking about high intensity interval training, heart rates, metabolism, circuit training - so we assume these programs include sound training principles and are simple solutions that will be one-stop results for everyone!
- Response: This, unfortunately, preys on insecurities, desperation and hope!
- Reality: Like food labels, these claims are meant to capture your attention and are so misleading. However, lots of intelligent people have ordered products from late-night TV hoping THIS is the tool that will just give them that quick-start they need to get going. But if you're trying to firm thighs or uncover abs, one exercise or one machine just won't do it! If you're trying to shed fat, that comes over time, from a combination of eating AND exercise and will drop evenly across your body. On a positive note, if you start to include resistance training, you can end up feeling more firm and "toned" and work on balancing your shape.
"You can lose weight without ANY exercise"
- Response: At best, misleading; but overall, unhealthy!
- Reality: Yes, you can lose weight without exercise but you will end up sacrificing you're your health, energy and metabolism. The number one reason we gain weight as we age is loss of lean tissue. Not using and losing your muscle mass as you age reduces your resting metabolic rate (RMR or the rate you burn calories 24 hrs/day) which is your fat-burning furnace! Any time you lose weight, you will lose some fat and some muscle tissue. When you lose weight without working on maintaining muscle mass, you lose a higher percentage of muscle mass. Bottom line - your metabolism then slows down, you burn fewer calories daily and become far more susceptible to yo-yo dieting.
"You can burn over 1,000 calories in just one workout!"
- Response: This is a HUGE stretch!
- Reality: If you looked closely, you might end up seeing some fine print attached to this claim noting these results aren't typical or are estimated based on a projections. The number of calories you burn in any activity is affected by several variables - age, gender, body weight and composition along with the intensity of activity and the efficiency of your body. For example, calorie burned per minute walking at 3 mph ranges from 4.5/min at 130, 6/min for 180 lbs and 7/min at 220 lbs. A similar range would apply for all activities and that's only factoring in body weight! Realistically, you can expect to burn from 5-15 cal/min for any given exercise. That top end would be for high-intensity activity like sprinting, martial arts or competitive sports - not typical and definitely require specific training! And, when you see those infomercials, they make it look a lot easier and they're not all shot in one take!
Some additional tips to keep you on track:
- Find exercises you enjoy - obviously, it's easier to do and stick with a program, but it will also be easier to keep up intensity and reach results sooner.
- Expect set-backs - they're part of the process! So when they happen, don't give up but hand in there and identify ways you can manage, get over or around them.
- Make life LESS convenient and exercise MORE convenient - find ANY excuse to take more steps during the day - park further, stairs, etc. AND, make working out MORE convenient by setting your clothes out, find exercise close by and things that motivate you.
- Find your WHY - the deeper you dig for the internal motivation, the stronger your resolve will be to work through the challenges and set-backs.
It's not too late to join us to help with your resolutions!
Whether you have 5 or 50 lbs to lose or want help carving out an ideal exercise or activity program, we've set up an amazing discount for our Canada AM viewers to access our online training site. You can start ANY time and join our journey!
If you have any questions on how and where to get started with your workouts, contact Libby at www.libbynorris.com. We love your feedback, questions and suggestions for segments.