I don’t know if other occupations are like this, but there is a lot of nonsense in health and fitness.




So many things taught as ‘fact’ that make little sense when questioned.


We understand why people are confused about what to do to lose weight and get fit and healthy.


Because there’s so many different ideas and recommendations out there.


Thankfully, Matt and I have always had a questioning mind set.


Not just taking things at face value, but delving a little further.


Here’s a few things that never really made sense when we first heard them.


And that we now have the knowledge to explain away.


Low intensity exercise is great for loss


Picture the scene.


The Cambridge YMCA.


Second week in February, 2002.


The (for another week anyway) 21 year old me studying for his Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification.


And learning about the ‘fat burning zone’.


Where you get your heart beating at about 65% of it’s maximum and maintain to burn lots of body fat.


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I raise my hand.


“Yeah – I was wondering. I’m sure it’s true that at a lower intensity, a higher percentage of the energy you’re using comes from fat stores. But wouldn’t you be better working at a higher intensity, so that not only did you burn more energy from fat, but more energy overall?”


“What I mean, is that wouldn’t you be better burning a total of 1,000 calories, 500 from fat stores than 400 calories, 300 from fat stores?”


Didn’t get a good answer, never have since.


And that was before I understood the hormonal impact of different types of exercise too.


And while we’re on ‘fat burning zones’, does it make sense that everyone at the same age will have exactly the same maximum heart rate and that everyone’s drops by one beat per minute per year?


Weight loss just being about calories in vs. calories out


Same course.


Me again.


“So, if it is just calories in vs. calories out, why do some people seem to be able to eat anything, not do much exercise and never gain weight and others really struggle to lose it?”


Answer: “Different genetics I suppose”


Me: “But, what happens to those calories?”


Answer: “Not sure”


Awkward wasn’t / aren’t I?


Before anyone comments, we’re aware that you can’t create or destroy energy.


And that in a body which is losing weight there must be more energy coming out.


And if you’re gaining weight, there must be more energy going in.


It just never made sense that it was JUST the calorie balance (and not quality and type of food and other factors) that were also big parts of the equation.



It’s best to start exercising on resistance machines


It’s better to use a machine to work our bodies in ways they don’t usually work than to replicate everyday movements using additional resistance from weights, etc.





Warm up on the treadmill or cross trainer


Why would we warm up only our legs in just one dimension (forwards and backwards) when our workout might involve upper body and multi directional movements?


Surely lower intensity movements that work the body in a similar way to the proper exercise that is about to be performed makes more sense?



Doing an exercise on a fitball or BOSU will add a core workout in


Will it?


Or will it mean that neither the core nor the primary target area (arms, chest, legs, etc) are worked at a suitable intensity to actually cause any change.


Nothing wrong with the fitball or BOSU – but one thing at a time.


Pick what is to be challenged with an exercise (core, arms, legs, etc) and concentrate on that.




There’s probably more.


If you can think of something health and fitnessey that doesn’t seem to make sense, then let us know 🙂






Much love,


Jon ‘Looking forward to the RISE Spa Day tomorrow’ Hall and Matt ‘And the night out’ Nicholson

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Jon Hall
Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at myrise.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.