Bad Supplements – Causing More Problems Than Solutions.

iStock_000005673431XSmallHave you ever seen those late night TV ads that tell you “Lose weight quickly with this easy pill”? They always have the animated shot of fat disappearing, the bogus infographics, and the customer reaction shots telling you that this pill works. Some ads even get someone dressed as a doctor on the screen telling you they recommend it for all of their patients. And it’s for the low low low cost of four payments of $29.99!

What a deal, right?

I cannot help but laugh when I see these commercials, but it worries me that so many people take these commercials for truth. People want to lose weight, but they don’t think they are capable of the hard work that is involved. Other people not only want to lose weight, but gain tons of muscle mass in a short amount of time. They want to believe in the miracle pill that can solve all of their problems.

If you know me, you know what I’m going to say next: there are no short cuts to fitness. While we might be able to cut corners in other parts of our lives, you get exactly what you put in to your personal fitness regime.

Some body builders use steroids and testosterone boosters to help themselves build muscle mass, but please do not confuse that with fitness. That’s unnatural body building, and while they might look good on the surface, there are always side effects.

Take a look at some of the worst offenders in the world of bad supplements that I have seen:

Unregulated Carbohydrate Blockers – Carb Blockers keeps Amylase, a natural chemical that helps your body digest carbs, from doing its job. As a result, carbs will pass through your body without being absorbed. While prescription carbohydrate blockers are safe and effective at their job, unregulated carb blockers sometimes have unlisted ingredients that can cause harm to your body. On top of that, you don’t necessarily want your body to stop absorbing carbs, since carbohydrates are a natural form of energy your body needs.

Testosterone Boosters – These boosters can be safe when prescribed by a doctor, but I have seen many “miracle pills” out there that claim they can boost your testosterone levels, giving you more energy, zeal, and muscle mass. In the end, these pills are more dangerous than they are helpful. Testosterone boosters can raise blood pressure, elevate blood cell counts leading to blood clots, and even liver damage.

Believe it or not, many doctors posit that simple lifestyle changes, like regular visits to the gym and a change in diet, can give you the kind of boost that testosterone treatment claim to give you.

Too Many Vitamins – Many of us take a multivitamin pill every day. After all, we want to get a natural amount of vitamins in our system, right? It turns out, there is truth to the idea of too much of a good thing. Getting an overdose of vitamin C, for example, could lead to nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Having too many vitamins can be just as bad as not getting enough.

Even if you’re taking regular doses of vitamins, it’s important to be aware that many multivitamins on the market include fillers that make the pill more appealing. This can include hydrogenated oils, artifical colors, and other fillers that are unhealthy at high levels. Make sure you check what’s really in your multivitamin before you take them.

Please, before you do anything else, talk to your doctor about using these “as seen on TV” drugs and miracle cures. These scams are worse than sugar pills; they will change your body chemistry and lead to more problems than solutions.

Routine, and Why We Break it Up.

iStock_000004151784XSmallRoutine is something we all have. We all get up in the morning, shower, brush our teeth, grab some breakfast, and proceed to our daily lives. It’s the easy path. It keeps us on track through our busy schedules.

So as you head to the gym, you might have your own routine you go through. You spend 20 minutes doing cardio, work the same three or four exercises at the free weights, maybe 10 minutes on the row machine, and then stretch out and cool down. Day in and day out.

Let me share something that might change your perspective on personal fitness. The more you do something over and over again, such as riding that bike machine during spin class, the more efficient your body becomes in performing the activity. In other words, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Sounds good, right?

Well, not exactly. The more efficient your body gets at doing the same activity over and over again, the less energy you’re going to be expending while doing it. You’re going to be getting faster and faster the more times you hop on the bike machine, but your body is going to be doing less and less work.

To use an analogy, think of your body as a river. When you’re working out, your body, like a river, wants to take the path of least resistance. Your body will try to go around excessive burning of energy like a river flows around a rock. Your body isn’t trying to sabotage your fitness; it’s just trained to do things the easiest way possible.

Think about what that means for your body. When you’re expending less energy, you’re getting less out of your workout. Your body is going to be able to store more energy because you’re expending less. And even more importantly, you’re only going to be working out a few different sets of muscles if you only do the same six exercises. What about the other 650 muscles we neglect?

If you want a routine, there are several corporate gyms in the area that can set you up with their one-size-fits-all classes. You will get your spin class, your row of treadmills and ellipticals, and a generalized fitness plan that can be applied whether you’re 16 or 60. But we both know a one-size-fits-all plan is not the way to get results.

So why don’t I have spin class? Because I’m here to help you reach your fitness goals, not to train you in becoming a master cycle-machine user! Routine isn’t what we do at Boomer Fitness because routine doesn’t work.

This Thursday, check in with my blog, where I’ll tell you about how we escape routine, force the river to change its direction, and how we do fitness the right way.