Diet or Exercise?

Is this even a serious debate anymore?

I did sports in high school. I was a college athlete. I was a gym rat for decades. I know all about getting caught up in our country’s obsession with exercise.

The biggest craze these days seems to be marathons. You just aren’t cool unless you have run at least 27 of them. 

I recently started going to the gym again after a seven year sabbatical. I joined for the tennis but I’ve been taking advantage of the indoor walking track all winter. I used to mock people who thought walking was exercise. For one thing I exercised so I could look decent while eating a horrible diet. I also had foot problems. I could run for miles but walking hurt my feet. I was foolish and uneducated.

Since then I have learned that walking is actually the best form of movement humans can consume. I eat real nutrition now so I’m not obsessed with burning calories. And Katy Bowman’s program has fixed many of my alignment problems so my feet don’t hurt anymore. I can stand and walk all day long.

Now my biggest fitness problem is my arms. Do you remember how excited I was to finally be able to do one pull-up?  I was so happy that I started doing push-ups and pull-ups several times a day. That lasted a couple weeks until I  gave myself a bad case of tennis elbow. Two months ago I had to completely stop everything including tennis and my elbow still isn’t any better in spite of my best efforts. Who knows when I will be back to playing tennis again.

So I have some advice for you. Don’t exercise.

Don’t exercise if you are out of your twenties. Don’t exercise if you are out of shape. Don’t exercise if you aren’t getting enough nutrition. And certainly, what ever you do, don’t exercise if you are overweight. Last night at the gym I watched a girl run on a treadmill. She was overweight and her feet were turned out. That is nothing but an injury waiting to happen.

I know we’re all in a hurry. We’ve been sick and overweight for years and we want to get healthy right NOW but exercise isn’t going to do you any good, and will actually hurt you if you are out of shape. Walking will hurt you if you don’t know how to walk and most people don’t. Pull-ups will definitely hurt you if you have tight shoulders and weak triceps, (Just ask me) and it can take months or years to heal.

It’s not worth it.

If you are overweight or having health problems what should you do instead of exercise?  I’m not a doctor or an expert so don’t listen to me but here is what I did three years ago when I was too sick to exercise. I started studying. I read and read until I found people who knew what they were talking about and then I kept reading.

Nutritious Movement by Katy Bowman – is my favorite resource.

I slowly worked on Katy’s program. I did her stretches, I learned how to stand correctly, I learned how to walk, I learned how to sit and how to sleep. I slowly made changes and I slowly got better. I drastically changed my diet and I improved even faster.

Now I can “exercise” if I want and I have even started running a little but I am taking it very slow because I don’t want to hurt myself like I did with the pull-ups.

And I’ve learned that

Nutrition always comes first.

That’s all there is to it.


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