Does Fitness Need to be so Complicated?

I wrote this comment in response to a CBC radio interview with a journalist Daniel Duane.

This interview was embarrassing - Daniel Duane has some reasonable arguments and grievances with the fitness industry, but unfortunately his reasonable statements are intertwined with many unreasonable ones.

The large body of science that supports the health benefits of exercise, refers to the types of exercise that get your heart rate up, and keep it up for extended periods. Lifting heavy weights with high risk exercises like deadlifts, bench press and overhead squats, not only puts people's joints at risk but also doesn't emphasize the component of fitness that matters the most - Cardiorespiratory fitness. And yes, you don't need a trainer to go for run and experience these benefits, fair enough. You do however need a good physio/ doctor/ trainer to make sure you are ready for exercise to begin with - someone to make sure your heart isn't at risk, and to help uncover limitations in flexibility, balance, joint stability and posture that also make a difference for your overall physical health.

Perhaps Duane chose poor advisors, or perhaps Duane just didn't 'get it'. Either way, I thought his arguments were weak and I didn't understand why the CBC aired him. My feeling was that he used his notoriety (NYT and Men's Journal Contributor) to simply complain about a bad fitness experience he had.

After thinking on it, I understand why Duane's ideas are popular - he is right that fitness professionals are often trying to be too fancy, and they are failing to keep their clients best interests in perspective.  However, his ideas that doing overhead presses and deadlifts in your basement is a better way to go is ludicrous, and his assessment of current scientific evidence for exercise was irresponsible and not at all helpful for promoting public health.