Everything You Know about Fitness Is a Lie

Gym machines are boring, CrossFit is sadistic, and dieting sucks. Luckily, none of them is essential to being truly fit. Through years of trial and error—and humiliation at the hands of some of the world’s top trainers—the author discovered the secrets to real health.

  • Editors' Pick
  1. I hate the gym. At least, I hate “the gym” as imagined by the modern American health club: the mindless repetitions on the weight machines, halfhearted crunches, daytime TV during the treadmill. Such a sad, unimaginative excuse for a life, when I could be out rock-climbing, surfing, or, hell, even just scrubbing the bathroom floor. But I love working out the way I’ve come to understand it, and two big discoveries made all the difference.

    First, I realized that we all live in a kind of Fitness Fog, a miasma of lies and misinformation that we mistake for common sense, and that makes most of our gym time a complete waste. Second, and by far the bigger news, I finally figured out what gyms good for and exactly how a man can use them to make himself healthy and fit in the truest sense: strong, capable, and durable in the long-lasting way that doesn’t just ward off chronic disease but actually lets a 35-year-old desk drone carry both of his laughing children up a mountain, simultaneously, and take on serious skiing at age 40, trusting his knees to bend deep and firm.

    Muscle withers away if you’re not constantly building it, and muscle withers faster as a man ages. Fading muscle mass gives way to fat gain, stiff joints, stumbling-old-man balance, and a serious drop-off in weekend fun, not to mention self-esteem. But if you fight back right, it can all go the other way. And this means getting strong. The bottom line is that not only can lifting weights do as much for your heart hea...