Youth Fitness Industry: How to Send The Wrong Message



Youth Fitness Industry

If you haven’t already, the recent Time Magazine cover story about
the Myth of Exercise is a must read for you.


You can access the article here –




Here’s the one sentence that caught my attention most:


"I have exercised like this — obsessively, a bit grimly — for years,
but recently I began to wonder: Why am I doing this? Except for a two-year
period at the end of an unhappy relationship — a period when I self-medicated
with lots of Italian desserts — I have never been overweight"




Because, of course, in our aesthetic culture, getting "skinny" is the only
reason one would have to engage in physical activity.


If you haven’t yet, please read this article.


Then, click on the link below, head over to my blog, and tell me
what you think.


To me, this is mismanaged information to the highest degree.


And I’m dying to know what you think.


Leave your comments below…


Tired of the same misinformation floating around about exercise and
the youth fitness industry?


Time to take a stand.


Click on the link below to find out how…




28 Responses

  1. Bruce Kelly says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. As if weight loss/maintenance is the only reason to exercise. How about mobility, quality of life, enjoying the meditation time if you do it alone, the company if you do it with others, etc. They missed the point entirely; it was all about creating a sensational headline and grabbing people’s attention.
    In addition, eating well wasn’t even mentioned until the very last paragraph almost as an aside. Shoddy, sensational journalism at it’s finest/worst!

  2. TJ Byxbee says:

    Exercise has been part of many ancient cultures-both Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, and a Greek physcian Herodicus,viewde exercise as therapeutic-necessary for the health and well being of the common man to the athlete. In the late 19th, and early 20th century “health” and “medicine” were synonomous terms. Everyone has their own definition of what being fit and healthy means to them. Movement is life-you stop moving and your quality of life goes down. I would encourage this person to seek other forms of fitness outside of the gym. All of my group training sessions occur in parks, beaches and fields-we have athletic, higher intesity based programs for those who enjoy it, and we have a mindful blend of martial arts, Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates fusion traingings to develop the other side of fitness-mindful movement. The outdoors boosts the experience for every participant.

  3. RJ says:

    Exactly dude. Yet another reason the media tries to control us with their swishy washy ways. One minute they love the idea, the next they don’t. They are just trying to move papers.

    I think that great fitness professionals such as us know the true value of being fit. And Bruce Kelly above nailed it. Quality of Life. Period.

  4. Elizabeth Miller says:

    Wow! That is really sad. Exercise is for you and all about you. It should be as simple and regular as putting on your socks. I mean, doing is “grimly” as portrayed in the message hurts my heart. This person needs to know that the mundane ordinary methods of exercise are not for them. He/she needs to find the fun and exhilaration of moving and thinking and breathing all at the same time while creating a healthier body and an attitude for life that he/she did not have before. I have seen a 70 year old widow come back to life with simple movements and just the pleasure of someone to talk to while peddling a stationary bike. Life is full of surprises, even after the end of a relationship. Because that widow experienced the END of a relationship, but moving and being accountable are just the spark that makes a whole new life.

  5. Ken Finley says:

    Another example of playing the victim. “I eat more on days I exercise… I can’t help it…it’s not my fault.” What happened to having fun doing something physical. Why do you have to go to the gym to exercise? Why not find some friends or family members and play frisbee football, or bike or whatever. Exercise is about having fun, getting the physical benefits, connecting with others or recharging your emotional being. Just like working with kids we need to develop the physical side, the mental side and the emotional side of ourselves in order to be our very best. Stop compartmentalizing everything. I’ll step of my soap box now. BG keep up the good work.

  6. LJH says:

    I think you might want to take a step back when looking at this article. The objective of the article is clearly stated in the title – “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin”. Supporting evidence is given by way of research articles published in peer-reviewed journals and interviews with prominent researchers. The author’s intent is NOT to discredit the benefits of exercise, as stated on the very first page:

    “Today doctors encourage even their oldest patients to exercise, which is sound advice for many reasons: People who regularly exercise are at significantly lower risk for all manner of diseases — those of the heart in particular. They less often develop cancer, diabetes and many other illnesses.”

    I believe the author wanted to explore why, in his own experience, he was not losing his spare tire even though he was doing what he thought was “right”. He discovered that his experience was not unique and that the scientific research community was also taking a look at some of our past assumptions regarding fat/weight loss. What was revealed through this examination was a body of information that showed in stark detail that exercise is not the be-all, end-all of fat and weight loss.

    Brian, when you labeled this mismanaged information and, later, misinformation, you diminished yourself, in my view. Be careful, your bias is showing. I think a better approach is to learn everything we can and keep an open mind, especially when we are confronted with well-documented, contrarian views. This kind of information can be beneficial to all in the fitness industry if it allows us to be better educated as to how the body really functions, no matter what we have believed to be true in the past.

  7. arlen zamula says:

    Fundamentally, what John Cloud is saying is true—exercise won’t make you thin.
    However, I do disagree with the context of article and his lack of experts that don’t fall inline with his agenda. Cloud is using his job as a writer to voice the frustration that many Americans feel—going to the gym for 30 minutes a day, while working a desk job and grabbing all meals on the go, isn’t working. Nor should it. Humans were designed to move constantly, so how can we really expect shorter bursts of exercise to really be as effective as an active lifestyle? Unfortunately, he missed an opportunity to be a more informed exercise consumer by asking his trainer and other fitness experts why his current exercise methodology wasn’t working. But he isn’t the only one.

    The obesity problem isn’t going to be solved with just exercise, just diet, or just bashing the media; it is an issue that has saturated our culture and we are not serving anyone by just condemning the messenger of this article.

    Writing to the editors of TIME or their blog with a clear and concise rebuttal is a more effective method of reaching the same audience you are trying to convert.

  8. Mike Howard says:

    Yup, the article is rife with misinterpretation, cherry-picking and half-truths.

    I wrote a detailed rebuttal which has garnered both cheers and jeers.


  9. Liz Donnelly says:

    Okay, I should be prepping my house to go on the market (in five days!!), but could not resist this one. Here’s the clincher for me:
    “In short, it’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned: fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain.” Why is food the only real solution for Mr. Cloud? Does there exist no other research favoring exercise AND proper nutrition for weight loss? And what kind of weight does he want to lose, really -fat or muscle? Because his trainer might not be doing him any favors if he’s not being advised of using proper resistance workouts in tandem with a good eating repertoire. If you are uneducated or in denial about how to eat properly, then this statement could be true. If you’re not feeding yourself enough protein, then of course you’ll be wolfing down starches and sugars post-workout. Painting a very broad brush on the topic of exercise is a dangerous thing. Moving like a gerbil in a wheel to lose weight is also a dangerous thing. Perhaps Mr. Cloud ought to shed the vain goal of weight loss (if that is indeed his main reason to move his body) and find activities that he will enjoy. I guarantee that he will have fun and also lose his belly fat. He might also need to resolve those issue that cause him to justify his hated workouts. Overall, there is a lot of misinformation in this article that Mike Howard does a nice job of refuting. Time could use letters to the editor on this one. Thanks for sharing, Brian!

  10. I have to be honest. I didn’t read the entire article. I don’t think I need to. I can’t wait for them to find a pill or vaccine that stops this whole obesity problem because we all know exercise and eating right is not the answer. Hopefully you can sense my sarcasm. Until doctors and the media stop pushing “genetics” or new drugs down our throats, and start telling people to exercise, de-stress, and eat right, we may be in for a long uphill battle even more than we already are.
    As far as exercising to lose weight…first, educate and motivate people to exercise so they don’t have to lose weight in the first place. We just launched our fitness challenge and the winner is not based on weight loss, it’s based on participation. Take a look and let me know what you think: http://www.totalhealthfitnesschallenge.com

  11. Liz Donnelly says:

    P.S. Something positive: I gave BG & YOS a mention in an article I wrote for a local paper. I wish I had room to expound more on YOS (The article is also on my http://FamilyFitnessGuru.com blog in the articles section). Here’s the link:


    Scroll down to find “Okay, If We’re So Fat, What do We Do Now?

  12. Chika says:

    Ugh, I’m with Ryan. I didn’t read the entire article because several paragraphs in I realized it was making me frustrated. The article forgot to mention all of the other benefits of exercise (cardiovascular, hormone regulation, increased endorphins, reducing depression …I could go on). It sounds like the writer needs to switch up the workouts and like a previous person stated….watch what they eat. I agree that exercise won’t make you thin if you burn 300 kcal and eat horribly (consuming thousands of calories). I just hope people don’t take that article seriously! This person like many others in our society are looking for a quick fix instead a tried and true solution (the combination of fitness and healthy diet). What a horrifying message to send to the country that is >30% obese!

  13. Qaiser says:

    Sensationalized writing and headlining to create a response and sell more magazines.

  14. Lori says:

    wow! how frustrating it is to be a personal trainer with articles and mindsets like this one! Exercise should not be ‘doom and gloom’, it should be fun, rewarding, inspiring, energizing, empowering…find something you love, something that you’re passionate about; and, do it…if you can’t find something on your own, find someone who is passionate about fitness; and, allow them to inspire you!

  15. Tom Sadowski says:

    The only things I want to ingest after training or cutting my lawn is cold green tea, roasted barley tea or water in a glass container. Organic blue corn tortilla chips will give me the sea salt my body is craving and a banana or a tomato will give me the potassium I need. If I lift heavy weights I crave chicken or a albacore tuna sandwich for the protein. I don’t eat these foods as a reward, I eat them because these are micro and macro nutrients that my body needs and they taste good.
    “Turning fat into muscle”? It’s almost 2010. Stop it with the 30 year old myths and the references to evolution.
    I’m also tired of hearing the person 50-100lbs. overweight telling me “I can’t understand why I can’t lose weight, I eat salad for lunch.”
    And another thing, my kids aren’t obese because I don’t give them anything with high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring in it. Okay, dinner is ready, I have to go.

  16. Tom Sadowski says:

    Okay, I’m back from eating my broiled salmon with spinach and tomato salad. I’m hungry because earlier today I swing snatched my 53lb. kettlebell 132 times in 10 minutes. I chose that exercise over spending an hour doing useless isolation exercises with chrome or vinyl covered multi-color dumbbells. I also didn’t spend an hour on an aerobic piece of equipment moving as slow as is humanly possible.
    Oh, by the way, I didn’t start exercising at age 12 to get skinny. I started exercising because I was skinny. Strong, but skinny. I exercise to build myself up physically and mentally, not to look gaunt or to fit into clothes and certainly not to try recapture what I looked like in high school or college. I exercise so at age 60, my 20 year old daughter or 17 year old son won’t have to waste their time pushing my wheelchair.
    As a wise man once said, “Long Term Athletic Development”.

  17. Tom Sadowski says:

    It isn’t simple math and it isn’t expend more calories than you take in. Don’t forget the thermic effect of food, transit time of food, malabsorption and possible food allergies. Some people eat and eliminate it 24 hours later, others 6 hours later. There could be inflammation in the colon or in other organs. Is the thyroid functioning properly? Has the person been on a prednisone cycle? What about bloating? How about someone whose lumbar and thoracic discs have dessicated and/or has excessive lumbar lordosis? Their rib cage will be closer to their pelvis and they will have a pot belly. There are those that will eat right, exercise and still not lose weight because of some underlying factor that may come up in the health screener or later.
    Nothing about exercise or weight loss (or weight gain for hard gainers) is simple and for every point brought up in any article, there is always a more detailed explanation that the general public usually never hears about.

  18. Sandie Lahra says:

    Hi Brian,
    John Cloud looks like he enjoys sensationalism. Pity he hasn’t used it positively!
    Having just spent a weekend with a professor, a psychologist and a dietition educating 200 doctors on Diabetes and weight management this is not the information our global community needs.
    Irrespective of John Clouds sensationalism he represents an audience who live with this dilemma and have his attitude.
    As professionals we can’t fight it or boo it. Rather we must continue to equip ourselves with the knowledge, skills and resources to help those who want it.

  19. Doc Wood says:

    The Times article was one of the worst and potentially dangerous ones I’ve read in a long time. I rank it right along with one I read in my local paper about a family with 7 wolves (I’m pretty sure they are dogs that look a little like wolves) who protect their daughter and recommending people buy their 6 puppies for the same purpose. I have less confidence in our media every day.

  20. Davey C says:

    I am just mind blown at this article Brian. While it’s true that excercise is not the answer to weight loss, it’s a combination of excercise and a nutritional diet. I think that whoever has been training Mr. Cloud has given him a wrong impression somewhere along the line.

  21. Chad Eisner says:

    opening argument can be debunked with general adaptation. The guy is doing the same crap for years and wondering why it isn’t working.

    Also, anyone notice that he says he has a gut AND he has never been overwieght?

    Really, What is so hard about this equation: eat less calories+ burn more calories= fat loss. Now, Mr. Cloud how exactly do we burn those calories if we dont exercise?

  22. Frederick Smith says:

    They goes to a gym or Heaith centre to get advice This is a lovely article because at times people are given the wrong Information and they used it because they dont know any better all they talk about is how many times they trains for the week and cant see any result.And they dont take the other aspect serious,such as diet and rest.

  23. Dan Demas says:

    Hey Brian

    this article is just like all the other crap out there. Here’s a person who has no real knowledge about exercise, diet, nutrition, health, obesity, social attitudes etc but gets to write an article that just perpetuates all the absurdities that have been out there for far too long.

    And what makes it worse is they quote a study or two which are usually misleading and don’t put things into proper perspective and into relative terms.

    Unfortunately this is the kind of stuff we have to deal with and then work with our clients first in answering this misinformation before we can work in a more positive direction to help our clients. And even when we do re-educate them in what’s right they are still bombarded with propaganda from the uneducated.

  24. Craig says:

    Its about lifestyle and the choices one makes. Obvioulsly, this guy has made many of the wrong choices. All in all he is pretty pathetic. He is trying to be a victim rather than understanding what is necessary. If you are not willing to do what is necessary, it will never happen.

  25. Chris Olmstead says:

    This is misinformation at a criminal level. Sending the message that exercise is a useless activity is hardly the correct message.
    True, people didn’t need gyms 50 years ago, but we don’t live 50 years ago. To encourage people to stop exercising is stupidity at the simplest level.
    The author seems to twist articles he has read (perhaps partially)to fit his own agenda and his own unhappiness. Again, just incredibly floored that a poorly researched article could be published in a magazine like “Time”. But, maybe I shouldn’t be so dumbstruck…

  26. SteveH says:

    “Exercise contributing to obesity…”

    I did read the entire article, and I’ll concede that it was somewhat cleverly written, because it has just the right spin on carefully selected facts to present a catchy set of images to a mainstream audience.

    In other words, it will probably help sell a bunch of magazines.

    But is it a helpful and truly informative article? Not by a very wide margin.

    It has long been known that if you want to lose weight, you have to address diet and exercise together. This point is actually conceded as a throwaway comment at the end of the article, where it probably doesn’t even get noticed, let alone get the attention it should in the main body of the article.

    The problem is that the exercise and diet combination isn’t news anymore, and it isn’t a “magic bullet,” so mainstream publications need to manipulate information and manipulate the context to create a “newsworthy” article. Sad to say, any new study that can be given a spin that somehow hints that you don’t have to exercise is going to be front page news.

    Does exercise contribute to obesity? No, it’s the 300+ calorie muffin afterwards!!!

  27. Mel says:

    I know, this kind of information is misleading at best. Just today on the radio I heard John Tesh give out health and fitness tips. His advice? “Based on new reserach, cola is actually better for you than lemonmade” A statement like that is just plain stupid and damaging…his third bit of “intelligence” was that pizza is healthier than chicken and broccoli. Yes, there are ways that pizza can be very healhful, but to the avaerage person hearing this, it’s like giving them the green light to drink Coke, eat pizza, and avoid chicken and broccoli. It’s just plain wrong.

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