I have to be honest: I didn't really want to read this article, much less comment on it. I posted at Rosstraining.com's forum that this article wasn't worth the time to comment on. I said that I didn't have the inclination. The problem is that I just can't get away from this article. It's popping up all over the place in blogesphere. It's Time Magazine's cover story: "Why Exercise Won't Make you Thin."
I'll be honest: this was irritating as hell to read. There is so much misinformation and bullshit in it that I still cringe as I punch these keys (maybe that's why my "down" arrow is broken). Apparently, the notion of rigorous, intense exercise doesn't really amount to nearly as much as eating right and keeping moderately active. Eating right is the key. This John Cloud found studies to support his notion that more intense exercise bouts of exercise only serves to make you hungrier, forcing you to eat more. Therefore, the whole notion of a dedicated period of exercise is just counter-productive.
There are a lot of guys out there dissecting Mr head-in-the-Cloud's arguments and breaking apart the idiocy of them (Chip Conrad does a pretty good job at it). So, I see no need to attack head-in-the-Cloud's article yet again. What I would like to do is take the time to look at the deeper problems that I see. To me, this piece of shit article is a sum-total of what's keeping Americans fat.
1. IGNORANCE! This may not be the most obvious one but it's the first that comes to mind. I can't comprehend why people think that they have to work out for an hour and a half to get a good workout in. If you think that you have to spend 8 hours, or more, a week training, then you're just shooting yourself in the foot and wasting a lot of time. I rarely train for more than one hour a day and I daresay that I'm in way better shape than head-in-the-Cloud.
As annoying as this is, the WILLFUL ignorance is even more irritating. It's obvious that this guy cherry-picked the scientific studies that he wanted to prove the point about exercise that he has in his head. This is a major problem that I see far too often. If your ideas and notions about how to eat right and exercise aren't geting you where you need to go, then obviously you need to look at things differently. Indeed, Head-in-the-Cloud just went out and found validation of his faulty thinking.
2. LAZINESS! So, we got the average guy who busts ass (incorrectly and improperly) on exericse, gets nowhere, and then finds a bunch of bullshit validation of his ignorance, how hard is it to arrive at the slothful, screw-it approach to exercise? For way too many, not hard at all. The lazy will always find a reason to not work out. Frankly, this article is full of reasons why you shouldn't. Well, maybe he advocates the "moderate" amount of physical activity throughout the day is the best way to lose weight but let's be honest: that leaves a lot of room for interpretation as to what constitutes moderate, doesn't it? That's just going to evolve into avoiding anything resembling activity that might break a sweat.
3. NEGATIVITY! Here's another message that was shouted loud and clear: we're screwed. We can't get into shape, no matter how hard we try. I couldn't believe that he used the words "pathetic" to describe our lack of magical brown fat to burn our calories up for us! I just shake my head when he makes it seem like a human is incapable of working hard without jonesing for a sugary, soft drink afterwards. Getting into shape and staying there is hard enough. I just don't get how bombarding everyone with "can't do it" words in the cover of a mainstream magazine is going to help the situation out.
Frankly, that's what annoys me about this whole, damn article. It's exactly what American's didn't need to see and read. It's just a pile of drivel that, in a big way, validates the lousy thinking that goes into people's efforts, or non-efforts, to get into shape. People don't get sabotaged from exercise. People get sabotaged by getting the wrong ideas and insights about exercise. This is one HUGE and HORRIBLE insight about the issue.
Oh, and one last thing... Head-in-the-Cloud did get one thing right: nutrition is just as important (maybe more-so) as exercise for getting in shape. On the other hand, the notion of a brief, intense workout period not working, well, just remember this guy... He worked out for 45 minutes a day. 'nuff said.