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The ugly reality of health and fitness misinformation

I was out for a walk near my house the other day, enjoying the cooler fall weather – although in Atlanta, it’ll be November before we “really” leave summer weather behind – when I passed a trio of ladies also getting their steps in.

I nodded politely and kept walking, only to come to a screeching halt when I heard one of the ladies excitedly tell her friends,

“It’s true! It really works! All you have to do to lose your lower belly fat is inclines! Hop on a treadmill and put it on the highest incline at a high speed and it comes right off!”

She continued promoting the “benefits” of the shapewear skirt she had on to further get rid of her lower belly fat.

Dear. God. No.

6 degrees of no.


No, really. Why?

I had to use every ounce of willpower not to turn around and politely, but sternly, ask this woman to stop spreading misinformation.

It’s not often I get this fired up and upset over something so small, let alone upset enough to post about it. I try really hard to focus on positive stories. But this one got to me.

First of all, I wanted to ask her to stop giving “advice” as she wasn’t a trained and certified nutrition or fitness professional.

Professionals put in years of study, annually have to complete dozens of hours of continuing education classes to maintain our licenses, and some of us (like me) who specialize in certain areas have as much schooling as many medical professionals like nurses and physical therapists.

Second, the information she was giving out was just plain dangerous.

Telling someone to go from a leisurely walk to jumping on a treadmill at the highest possible setting is a recipe for a trip to the hospital and several injuries.

Your muscles, ligaments, joints, and other tissues simply can’t take such a sharp increase in challenge so quickly. That’s one of the main reasons why found that about a third of new CrossFit participants were severely injured within their first few months of training.

I’m not hating on CrossFit, for the record. That’s just the method of exercise the study focused on. CrossFit is an incredible way to get into Olympic-style weight lifting, when done slowly, carefully, and with proper coaching and joint mobility work (like we focus on here) to reduce and eliminate injuries.

Third, that’s not how biology works!

I’ve been a health coach and trainer for so long I tend to forget that most people don’t understand the basics of how your metabolism works. It’s no one’s fault – the diet industry really muddied up the waters to the point few people can tell you what gluten is or whether it’s good, bad, healthy, or evil. (For the record, it’s just the protein in wheat and wheat-related grains like oats, rye, and barley. Whole wheat and other whole/minimally processed grains are a fantastically healthy addition to your overall diet in small-ish amounts as long as you’re not sensitive or allergic to it.)

I won’t get into the science of how weight loss works here (mostly because I’m a body positive health coach and strongly believe weight loss does not equal health), but just know that you can’t spot remove fat. If all you needed to do to remove belly fat was do some ab exercises, we’d all have washboard abs by now after being forced to do thousands of sit-ups in grade school gym class.

All hopping on a treadmill at a max incline would’ve done (assuming she didn’t injure herself), was make her calves, shins, and glutes really strong. Like REALLY strong. And made her heart a little stronger from getting her heart rate up. But that’s it. Nothing for her lower abs. That’s just not how that works.

That’s why I hope you can trust the information you get from me and my website as valid and current with the latest science.

I’ve spent over a decade training to be qualified to give nutrition and fitness advice (note: which is not the same thing as medical advice) with confidence. I spend hours every week reading medical and nutrition journals and keeping up to date with the latest science to know what’s safe and what’s not.

And one thing I’m certain of, is that today’s mini-class is MAGIC for lower back pain. There’s a reason why physical therapists everywhere recommend Pilates as a panacea for back pain. Today’s mini-class is a short intro into the magic of using Pilates to reverse chronic back pain, especially for your low back.

Watch the mini-class now to start reversing your lower back pain in just 10 minutes.

Here’s to having a fantastic week filled with lots of sitting outside with good friends and/or a good book,

– Lindsay

P.S. Some other fads I’ve heard over the years that definitely do more harm than good: the cabbage soup diet, “detox” teas, juice cleanses, the carnivore diet, weight lifting while riding a bike (yes, as in simultaneously doing 2 different exercises), getting any advice from social media “health and fitness gurus” without the credentials to back it up, shapewear as a means to lose weight, and any diet that promotes their processed food as being the golden ticket to health. If you ever have a question about anything health, fitness, or nutrition please . That’s what I’m here to do.


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