Stop Killing Yourself With Exercise!

by Optimum Nutrition Admin

Exercise not always a healthful practice.

We have all seen out-of-shape, overweight people jogging or working out in a fitness center. They spend hours each week exercising and yet they never seem to change. Some people absolutely kill themselves on treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes but never lose a pound and always look miserable. You may even be one of them. Why is this? Your doctor says you need to “exercise regularly.” Why, then, do so many of us never derive any physical or psychological benefit? Exercise is a good thing, right? Not necessarily!

For many, exercise tends to be the proverbial “putting the cart before the horse.”  Not possessing the strength and energy to get through a typical day should be a warning sign that the body lacks the level of health and nutritional foundation necessary to engage in any form of exercise.  If one is in pain, sick, tired or overweight, how could it possibly be beneficial to impose the additional stress and strain of any type of workout – even walking?  Exercise is a wonderful activity for a healthy body; however, exercise in the absence of good health is detrimental.

Most people’s primary motivation for exercising is to lose weight.  Unfortunately, after months or even years of strenuous workouts, most of these people find that they have lost very little weight, remain lethargic and now can add joint pain to their list of maladies.  Exercise and healthful, sustainable body fat reduction are mutually exclusive.  People who realize weight loss as a result of exercise alone usually have not decreased body fat but rather muscle mass and cellular hydration.  Weight gain and body fat, along with thinning hair, wrinkles and all the external signs that we associate with aging, are the direct result of malnutrition and a compromised digestive system, long-term infection(s) and/or a significant toxic burden. 

Exercise is simply not the panacea that many people, including healthcare “experts,” believe it to be. We all hear that strenuous exercise, “cardio” in particular, burns calories and that excessive calorie intake causes weight gain. These routinely parroted beliefs are incorrect on a number of levels. First, and most importantly, a calorie is just an arbitrary unit of measure which has absolutely no relevance to any living organisms (humans or food). Secondly, exercise does not “burn” anything – imaginary calories or actual fat cells. While exercise may increase metabolism in some people, this alone will not result in the elimination of body fat. The people who do realize weight lose upon beginning a exercise program or simply increasing their physical activity, have done so for other reasons. Typically the weight loss achieved is due to a simultaneous change in diet by a person whose digestive system was not critical compromised. All the exercise in the world will not correct a digestive system that is no longer functioning normally and, in most cases, will exacerbate the situation.  The body must be healthy before considering a fitness regimen. Sadly, the vast majority of Americans do not enjoy the level of health necessary to safely engage in, and benefit from, any type of exercise.

If one is healthy which, again, is highly unlikely; there are two key elements to a successful strengthening and conditioning program – the first being variety.  Repeating the same type of workout or exercise day after day is not only ineffective but potentially counter-productive.  For example, spending hours every other day on a treadmill, or some similar routine, week after week is useless.  The body quickly adapts to the repetition.  Although the routine seems to become easier, real improvement in strength and endurance is actually diminished or ceases entirely.  More problematic is that the repetitive movements create unnecessary stress and wear on muscles, joint linings, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

One must constantly challenge the body by keeping the muscles in a state of confusion.  Anyone who has joined a health club will remember that their muscles were extremely sore the first few work-outs.  But after a month or so, soreness is rarely experienced again, if ever.  Many misinterpret the lack of soreness as having become physically fit.  Some make the fatal mistake of increasing the duration of the work-out. Because the same pieces of equipment and exercises are being used, the muscles have grown accustomed to the routine.  That initial muscle soreness was the result of the muscles being forced to perform beyond the familiar level of exertion.

Vary the fitness program as much as possible with weight training, aerobics, jogging, swimming, yoga, non-contact martial arts, walking, mountain climbing, or any active sport.  This does not mean spending hours each day exercising. Over training is as equally counterproductive as repetition. 30 to 60 minutes per day or every other day is sufficient. The list of healthful forms of exercise is endless. The variety will not only be more beneficial, but more enjoyable.

The other key to a healthful, effective exercise program is sufficient rest.  The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts.  Continuous exercise without adequate recovery time can actually weaken the healthiest person.  Rest is physically necessary for muscles to repair, rebuild and strengthen.  Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.  While it is appropriate (although not necessary) to exercise everyday, no single muscle group should be trained more than once a week.  Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will be adversely affected from even moderate exercise.

The body requires a minimum of five hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to recover from the physical drain of the waking hours. Many people mistakenly believe that because they sleep more than five hours, they have received sufficient rest even though they were not asleep the entire time. Waking every couple of hours to use the bathroom, to get a drink or water or some other reason, renders any amount of sleep useless. Without the uninterrupted five hours, the body is incapable of recovering and rejuvenating. The inability to remain asleep for five hours or more is due to any number of conditions.  Deficient levels of melatonin in the pineal gland, deficient levels of serotonin in the brain, tau protein tangles in the neurons of the brain, flukes in the gallbladder, dead flukes blocking the neck of the gallbladder, an energetically weak gallbladder, parasitic damage to the thalamus or hypothalamus, damaged or overactive adrenal glands, an energetically weak hypothalamus, elevated cortisol levels in the liver and gallbladder, damaged pons, central and obstructive apnea, repressed sleep promoting genes and urinary tract infections (to name just a few) can all cause sleeplessness.

For millions of people, exercise is last thing in which they should be engaged.  According to the Institute Medicine (Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem., The National Academies Press, 2006), sleep insufficiency is linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and medical and other occupational errors. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to these hazardous outcomes. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.  The Institute also reports an estimated 50 – 70 million U.S. adults possessing sleep disorders. For all these reasons, we must always remember, a diversified exercise program is tremendously beneficial so long as the body is sufficiently healthy, nutritionally prepared and well rested.


  1. Evelyn Harris December 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    This is a most interesting article. The title got my attention as it will others I’m sure.

  2. SueScioli January 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I was definitely one of those cardio addicts who spent up to two hours a day on an elliptical almost everyday. I lost a few pounds when I first started but that was it. I also thought I was getting better shape until I tried to do different like playing tennis or lifting weights. I had no more strength or endurance than I had before the cardio training. The worst thing was that I always felt exhausted. It was until I started eating mostly raw food that I finally got down to the weight I was when I was very young. It felt better and had way more energy. I think this article is absolutely right, people believe exercise is the answer and it is not.

  3. jon.j April 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I have been a gullible idiot! I listened to friends telling me I needed to do cardio for at least an hour everyday to lose weight. I didn’t lose any weight and I was exhausted every day. I even talked to a trainer at my gym who, by the way, didn’t look much better than me. He said that aerobic or anaerobic exercise was necessary for weight loss. Why do people say this stuff when they have no idea what they are talking about. I started eating raw and lost 45 lbs in less than 3 months without starving myself or even walking into a gym. I feel so good and have tons of energy – not pounds. :)

  4. FRANK P. June 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    If you eat properly, exercise is actually completely unnecessary.

  5. janet31 July 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I made a big mistake thinking cardio would make me lean. I’m a woman and I have always heard that getting your heart rate up every day would give you that long and slender look. I soon found out after a few months of doing cardio to exhaustion every day that it was cuasing more muscle loss than fat loss and even though I was getting thinner I was looking skinny-fat.

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