Trust me, exercise won’t make you fat.

I almost titled this post “If you’re reading Time Magazine, you already have a problem.” That’s how much I despise that rag.

Last week they released a story about how exercising makes you fatter. Or something like that. By the time I finally felt compelled to see what the hell was going on, I was so disgusted with it all I could do was skim through.  There are two really important points that we should get out of the way up front.

  1. Why are you reading Time Magazine unless you are trapped in a doctor’s waiting room and it’s the only thing available?  Seriously.  There is nothing good in Time Magazine. Stop it.
  2. Why is anyone paying attention to what Time Magazine is saying about nutrition and exercise? Their nutrition articles are as watered down as the rest of the garbage they print. It’s a tabloid magazine for national news. It’s written at a 6th grade reading level.  It’s not making anyone smarter.

I could end this post right there, but I’ll expand a little becuase it seems like a good opportunity to review the basics.

Common sense, right?

Don’t overeat.  Do exercise because it makes you feel good.  Eat vegetables because they’re full of vitamins and fiber and crap that’s going to help you live a long time.  Enjoy your food. Enjoy your life. If you want to take it further, read John Berardi’s Ten Rules for Good Nutrition. Or someone else.

There are so many people out there sending good messages about food and exercise. You know it when you see it.  But if they’re telling you you’re going tlose 11 pounds in 7 days, they’re pedaling bullshit.  It’s not hard to sift through.

You know what you’re doing. Stick to your guns, get through the garbage, and do what you need to do.

The Compensation Factor

The one thing that I did find interesting in Cloud’s article, was the bit about compensation which has been my number one complaint about cycling.  When I get home from a long ride in the cold winter weather, I am filled with the sense that I can EAT THE ENTIRE WORLD.  Really.  I’ve written exactly that way before.

It’s a hunger beyond all hungers.

This doesn’t happen to me after a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session or a good, brisk run (even a long one).  There’s something about cycling that brings out the Eating Monster in me and it’s baffled me from the beginning.

There’s nothing quite like a big, delicious burger after a 4.5 hour ride in the rain, right? Right. Every once in a while, that’s ok. Every day?  That’s a problem.

It comes back to common sense (which is not always so common, eh?)  Just be smart.

Enjoy your rides. Enjoy your burgers.

More information from people who are smarter than me

I was prompted to (finally) weigh in on this Time Magazine because Tom Venuto finally did.  He may be overly orange and scarily muscly, but he knows his nutrition and he’s articulate.

Read Tom Venuto’s rebuttal here: “Why Time Magazine Owes the Fitness Industry a Big Fat Apology

Jonathan Ross also had a pretty thorough dissection of the piece over at Discovery Health, though you’ll have to deal with looking at an ugly page (I hate ugly pages!)

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  1. John Hall

    This is Time’s version of the tabloid’s Angelina/Brad break-up article. It’s obviously all about marketing. An article like the one in question has instant appeal for about 90% of their readership. The 90% who are looking for ANY excuse not to exercise. Self-justification is a popular attribute, but not always an effective one.

  2. Yeah, common sense should be named something else because it isn’t common.

    Eating McDonalds every day for lunch and dinner makes you fat. The coffee labeled “Caution! Hot coffee!” is, indeed, hot. Applying mascara while driving in a traffic jam is a dumb stupido idea. And so on.

    +1 John Hall, that’s absolutely correct. Most people don’t want to exercise, it’s too hard. Plus, it takes too much time to get results.

  3. Here’s my favorite quote so far on the first page of the Times “article”:

    “In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless,” says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher.


    It’s all about self control, people. Let’s all get on that train.

  4. Weird, all the cycling I’ve added to my life in the past 2 years resulted in losing 40 pounds. I guess I was supposed to get fat instead.

  5. The article sounds ripe for an audience such as the woman behind the My First Mile blog, who writes of trying to lose weight by exercising while not restraining her dietary intake…”fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mushy green beans, and two of the doughiest raised dinner rolls I have ever eaten with a pat of butter each.” As I read her blog I want to cheer on her baby steps at an exercise program but shake her when she describes her food intake. She seems convinced she can do it without dieting.

  6. Man, there IS something about a few hours on the bike that awakens the inner “feed me cheeseburger” voice. But like you say, Heidi… live life. Do a few things you know you shouldn’t. Just because. Y’know, I think I’m gonna sit down on the couch with a 6-pack after my ride tonight. Oh wait, I always do that.

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