When Fitness Experts are Wrong

Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you’re on the run.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when well-intentioned individuals have their fitness goals derailed by a constant stream of misleading information from so-called fitness “professionals.”

I spend a great deal of time listening to friends and family in desperate need of some form of physical exercise tell me why they won’t exercise or how they simply quit after a short time. The culprit was usually a report on TV or the newspaper undermining their efforts by essentially stating that whatever form of exercise they had chosen was just useless.

They were not doing it long enough, or strong enough, or not wearing the right shoes, or using the right equipment. What’s the effect on a person who already had a tenuous, newbie’s relationship with fitness? It typically sidelines their efforts and possibly prevents them from ever trying to become healthy and fit.

When approached with this challenge I’ve learned to be sensitive and supportive. I am mindful that change of any kind is difficult, so it should be approached as an evolutionary process. My goal is to encourage people to begin by adopting healthy eating and fitness habits slowly, bit by bit, and take it from there.

When I made the switch to a healthier lifestyle it began by just watching my daily caloric intake. Eventually I introduced healthier foods and added walking into my routine, and that later evolved into running. But had I stopped to listen to everything I was supposedly doing wrong, I never would have started in the first place.

We need to understand that for beginners, as we have all been at some point, it is about taking that first step and then evolving into more challenging routines. But most people will not begin a fitness program if they feel defeated by it before even starting.

So if you are just getting started, or know someone who is, let the experts argue what the best systems and techniques are while you stay focused and follow this old motto: “When it comes to exercise: More is better than less, faster is better than slower, and something is better than nothing. But when it comes to food: Less is better than more, slower is better than faster, nothing is better than something.”

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