Michael Applebaum, MD, JD, FCLM
past week, I received a number of inquiries about a series of workouts that
appeared on one of the Big 4 broadcast television networks.
the segments, “The (insert name of program) fitness expert” was
demonstrating how in only 5 minutes per day, by following the offered routine,
one can lose fat and get fit.
expert is only partially correct. Following
the routine will not get you “F-I-T”. It
will actually get you only the “I-T” preceded by two different letters, one
of which is an “S.”
answer to the inquiries, “After viewing the broadcasts of 4 of the 5 segments
and reading about all of the routines on the show’s Website, in my opinion,
the advice is worse than worthless. It
is harmful. Why?
You will not only be harmed through wasted time and effort, you will also
be harmed from being mislead into believing that any of that tripe works.
Those are my opinions. Thank
you for asking.”
brief digression. I am glad to have
been asked to evaluate this material. For
years I’d wondered, “Why do clouds manufacture toilet paper?”
Advertisements for White Cloud brand toilet paper showed industrious
clouds producing TP. If from clouds
feces fell, then they would need toilet paper.
I get that, assuming clouds were hygienic and wanted to remain clean.
But that does not explain why we have such weenie windshield wipers.
I mean, if clouds precipitated solid waste wouldn’t we need stronger
windshield wipers? Not to mention
fortified umbrellas. Or why the air
smells fresh after a rainfall. So
clouds must not storm stool. Then
why do they make the stuff? Responding
to these queries provided the answer. Clouds
need to manufacture toilet paper to clean themselves of all the crap we send up
via the air waves in the broadcast band. They
just sell us their overstock.
was not the first time I have been requested to render an opinion about the
fitness-related trash provided courtesy of the media outlets.
To help people determine on their own if the information they are
receiving is useless or worse, I am suggesting the following guidelines. By the way, the following lists are non-exhaustive.
Ask yourself, “Who’s your ‘guru’?”
If the answer is:
overfat talk show host, especially one who is so rich as to have their own
chef, trainer, support team, etc. and is still overfat
overfat psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, etc., especially one who
claims to have helped people with weight problems but can’t help a rich
benefactor television personality lose the fat
overfat psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, etc., afraid or unwilling to
show his/her body (i.e., the results of his/her program)
personal trainer of a celebrity, whose client, the celebrity, is overfat
overfat anybody selling a “diet” product
with weird “facts”: like the stomach growls or hunger strikes when the
body switches from burning carbs to burning fat; the best exercise to lose
weight, build muscle and prevent cancer is (for example) jumping up and
down; someone who is a proponent of a “toxic organ” diet without proving
overfat “diet expert” or “fitness expert”
“infotainment” show host whose job is to entertain you, not to tell you
who is selling “what works” and will profit from its sale
person with a really great body who “never” would have achieved their
results without Product X
who looks good to you and did not achieve their results using the system or
product being promoted
fitness model hawking a product
famous person (celebrity, athlete, etc.)
A weight loss supplement
you consume that “burns fat”
“strength trainer” that results in weight loss
“aerobic trainer” that builds muscle
“mat routine” that burns fat, builds muscle, gives you washboard abs and
tones your body—even if it comes with a DVD
exercise machine that will get you the body you have always dreamed of and
it will be EASY!
piece of home exercise equipment that lets you do you a “gym-full” of
exercise equipment that is “club quality”
mail order diet kit, diet book, etc.
muscle-building pill, powder, beverage, etc.
you ingest that is consumed by a particular people who live longer,
used by an ancient and wise culture (even if instructions are included)
you rub on or apply to your body
that intentionally give you an electric shock
“weight loss” product
loss of greater than one pound in a week
all you want and still lose weight
weight and eat all the fatty foods you want or can
product you ingest that “takes the weight off and keeps it off”
product whose claims have not been reviewed by the FDA
results you want in X weeks (usually 6)
results in 30 days or your money back
loss and improved endurance from exercising less than 20 minutes per day
loss and improved endurance from exercising 3 or fewer days per week
“Detoxifies” an organ
Works together with or as part of a "sensible diet"
Works together with or as part of an "exercise program"
I hope that these suggestions will be helpful to you. Good luck.