Linda Melone
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3 Exercises that don’t do what you think they do

Let me start by saying we all do the best we can with the knowledge we have. This means, unless you’re a trained professional in every aspect of life, you likely have gaps in the information you possess.

So, hence, you rely on info provided by other people.

First, let’s take a quick look at how this information gathering process has evolved…. (imagine an hourglass floating background in space here).  

Back in the day we waited for weeks to find out what was happening in the world. We’d look for the Pony Express, seek out messages carved in stone, and, eventually had access to newspapers.

Then the 90s happened. The Internet came into being and information began flying at us from all angles at lightening speed.

Headlines scream: “Don’t do this!” “Always eat that!” “Do this and you’ll die before you finish reading this sent…!” Clearly, it wasn’t/isn’t always pretty. 

Today, anyone with a computer can post whatever tiny thoughts, rants, or opinions pops into their head.

Worse yet, social networks provide the ability to rally thousands of people instantly to believe whatever hype gets tossed out into the world, typically without question. 

It makes some of us (yes, me) long for the days of chiseling thoughts into stone. At least by the time you finished a single sentence you had time to reconsider and break it up into gravel and pave your driveway with it before anyone read it. 

People read these things and, because it’s in some manner of print, believe these rantings to be true. 

Sadly, much of the ranting and carrying on found online is:

  1. Bogus
  2. BS
  3. Made up
  4. Someone’s opinion without facts to back it up
  5. Science (< .00005%)

I am specifically talking about the worst offenders: info on fitness, weight loss and nutrition.

So many people want to be lean, fit and in shape right here right now that they’re willing to hop on any bandwagon to do it. No matter what it takes, who says it or whether or not it even makes sense. 

How else can you explain the advent of diets that involve eating cotton balls, ingesting tapeworms or cutting calories by consuming baby food?

So let’s all take a collective deep breath for a second (ewww! tapeworms!) as I put to rest some of the most popular beliefs that can stop you from seeing results if you fall for them:

1. Lots of planks and crunches give you a flat stomach

Yes, planks and crunches strengthen your abdominal and core muscles. The here’s the kicker: You STILL must get your diet in order if you want a flatter stomach. In addition, these exercises themselves don’t burn many calories. 

Plus, although you’re using your abdominal muscles the fat doesn’t miraculously burn off from that area.

If only.

You can crunch until the cows come home and you’ll never see that wonderfully strong abdominal area until you lift your spoon out of the Chunky Monkey.

Cut calories, do cardio on top of ab work and you will see results.

2. Pilates/yoga/the Barre method help create a long, lean dancer’s body

First, let me be clear: I am not bashing any of these exercise forms. Each provides numerous benefits, including increased core strength, balance and inner peace, in the case of yoga.

However, you physiologically cannot increase a muscle’s length no matter how much you stretch or twist yourself into a double helix contortion or a balloon animal.

That’s right: You’re limited by the “insertion” points of your muscles, where they begin and end. An exception may be if you break a bone and that bone is no longer in its original place. But that’s an extreme workout by any standard.

Stretch, fire up your inner peace and do 100s of Hundreds, but don’t expect to create dancer’s legs if you’re built like a fire hydrant.

3. Cycling/bootcamp/[xyz] classes are the best bet to lose weight fast

Here’s the thing: You can cheat at anything, even Spin class. Ditto for the elliptical trainer or any other piece of cardio equipment.

Yes, do it with vigor and you will burn a lot of calories, but the exact amount depends on your fitness level, your body weight and other factors.

But it’s largely about the amount of effort you put into your workout and… you know what I’m going to say, right?

Yes, you still have to watch your diet.

One thing that does speed up the process a bit: interval training (see link below).

There’s simply no shortcut if you want real results that last.

YOUR TURN… What have YOU heard that sends up red flags in the common sense part of your brain? Let me know in the comments section below…    

Other posts you may enjoy:

Fat burning intervals anyone can do (including beginners)

8 FAQs about cardio and resistance training for an ageless body

7 Fat-Burning Walking Workouts (plus survey results!)

P.S. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to hop on the Waitlist for my soon-to-be Ageless Army Monthly Program. Click HERE for details and to be first in line! 

Your Ageless Body Coach,


About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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