Linda Melone
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3 ways to tell fitness fact from fiction

Few things really upset me these days. I’ve weathered a lot of storms: two divorces, an abusive relationship, a serious eating disorder, and a host of other not-so-fun events I’ve filed away under “note to self: let’s not do that ever again.”        Businesswoman standing with umbrella and little storm cloud

I’ve somehow managed to keep my sense of humor, which I can only attribute to some bizarre survival mechanism.

I’m convinced my ability to find the funny in less-than-favorable conditions has saved me from teetering on a ledge somewhere or drinking my lunch out of a paper bag.

But some things seriously pull my trigger.

Can you guess which one out of these choices sets off my anger meter?

A. The moment I realize the shade of polish I just applied looks completely different in the bottle than it does on my nails. sketch-of-colorful-nail-polish-vector-illustration_Gy0KgMu_ (1)

B. The last person to use the squat rack left 1,500 lbs. of plates on each side.

C. Bogus fitness “gurus” who make up stuff when they have no clue about anything, but they talk a real good game and have a staff of marketing people who get them on every TV show so people actually listen to them.

D. All of the above

Trick question! Of course, it’s D, but “C” is by far the runaway winner (although “A” is a close contender for the #2 spot).

Now I’m not one to name names, so let’s speak in hypotheticals for a moment.

Imagine a trainer named Bacy Banderson. Let’s say she’s a skinny blonde known as a trainer to the big celebs like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Among the fitness pros of world, she’s known more widely as the “trainer” (in quotes because she has no fitness credentials) slinging the biggest slices of BS you’ll ever see on the face of this planet.

The worst part: People believe her. Yet, she has no fitness credentials to speak of.

Fortunately, it’s never stopped her from making up stuff.

Case in point: She was recently quoted as saying she drives a convertible because it “burns more calories” than driving a traditional car since you’re “using more of your senses.”


So if this holds true, than standing near a smelly dumpster burns more calories, since you’re using your sense of smell, right?

And eye strain from trying to see something in the distance should also be counted as a calorie burner.

You don’t need a degree in physiology to know that makes ZERO sense.

What’s worse? She touts many more fitness and nutrition ideas that belong in The Onion or Mad Magazine – not in any real fitness publication. Unfortunately, she’s in all of them.

I don’t mean to pick on Tracy Anderson (except maybe a little), since she’s certainly made a name for herself. I’m writing about her, right? But she could’ve done the same thing without making up a load of crap in the process.

However, I’m using her as a cautionary tale. Before you try any diet plan or follow the advice of any exercise “guru,” be sure to vet your experts.

With reams of fitness information floating around the Internet it’s no wonder we’re willing to grasp on to any floating log in the river that even remotely sounds like it might work.

Here are 3 ways to ensure your information is probably legit:

1. The information makes sense on its face

If you’re smart enough to read this you’re also smart enough to know when a statement doesn’t make a lot of sense. For example, logically, how would you expect to burn more calories driving a convertible versus a traditional car? You wouldn’t.

2. It can be backed by a study

Granted, sometimes looking up info online makes the situation worse, since you can find a lot of false information Googling for facts. However, some sites offer legit info. As a writer, I use these to back up what I read:, (National Institutes of Health), and for studies. Generally, government sites post the most legit research.

3. The person relaying the info has (real) credentials

Just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean they got in that shape using healthy tactics. If a person at the gym offers you advice, for example, ask them if they’re a certified trainer (ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA are tops in the industry). Ninety-nine percent of the time they’re not, because a professional usually doesn’t like to give away free advice. Reading a lot of books or training for years on their own does not count. (For the record, I hold four certifications and a B.S. in nutrition + 25 years in the field.)

Of course these are not foolproof methods, either. Certified trainers can offer up some whacky ideas of their own, so keep #1 in mind at all times.


What kind of advice have you heard that sounded bogus or questionable?

Did you follow it or not?

Let me know in the comments section below! I’d love to know. And please share this with your Ageless friends! They will be so grateful they may even watch your pet goldfish the next time you’re away.

Got questions? Comments? Email me at

You may also enjoy these posts:

The #1 fear you must overcome to achieve your fittest body

5 of my favorite ageless body exercises

The key to weight loss success no one talks about

Until next time…

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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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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Julia says

Thank you Linda! Great reminder especially for some of us who at times get frustrated in our goals see these much more flexible bodies bobbing up and down, contorting their backs and legs in positions we all know will “hurt us” hoping that they offer a glimmer of light. Some movements I have seen involve sitting on the ground with legs up in V position, arms straight up then pulling legs in and out hovering over the ground. Another is doing downward dog going not quite flat down and doing 2 push ups and back up to downward dog then standing straight. And lets not forget the burpies with ankle weights! Those trainers don’t usually address anyone over 50 and as you know its important for us girls to keep moving, keep exercising and keep feeding ourselves healthy heart foods. I find most information unsuitable for myself and thats why I was so happy to find you giving truthful, solid advice. Right on about the polish colors! Thanks, Julia

Linda Melone says

Thanks so much for your comment, Julia! You’re absolutely right. A small group of friends of people at the gym have been trying to get me to join their interval workout routine. It’s a decent workout but there are several moves I know would wreck me. They’re young whippersnappers, so they wouldn’t know :).

Colleen says

Linda, just today I saw part of a crazy infomercial on “tummy tuck”… You put some kind of lotion on your stomach and then a compression garment for 10 minutes a day and just like that you lose your belly fat. Seriously?! and they are probably selling swamp land in Florida for three easy payments of…

    Linda Melone says

    lol! Exactly, Colleen. If ONLY it was that easy we’d all have abs of steel. 🙂

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