Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 19 September 2021

Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
  • "I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies"
  • Fitness myth-busters come out fighting

JEDDAH: With interest in sport surging in the Kingdom, Saudis embarking on gym and exercise regimes have been warned to beware of self-appointed “experts” peddling fitness myths that can ruin workouts and even damage health.

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms.

Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, they warn.

Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, told Arab News that she has had many such experiences at her gym but has finally learned how to deal with them.




Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, experts warn

“Someone once told me that the more she sweats, the more fat she will lose, and that if she is not sweating heavily, her workout will not work. I said nothing but sympathized with the woman since she was working out wearing a hoodie in the scorching heat of Jeddah.”

Khalid said that people “should just listen to their bodies” to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, said that people ‘should just listen to their bodies’ to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.

• Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said ‘the problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. ‘They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.’

• Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, said ‘one of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science.’

“The body has a way of telling you. Do the workout that makes you feel good during and afterwards. If a workout or a diet feels wrong then just don’t do it. Listen to your body and you will be set.”

She added: “But listen to it when it is being reasonable and not at 3 a.m. when you want to eat eight donuts and a tub of ice cream.”

Casey Ho, a YouTuber who has been uploading home workout videos since 2009, was subjected to a wave of hate after announcing that she wanted to lose weight and get in the best shape of her life.

In her video, titled “How I lost 17.5 pounds in 12 weeks — My 90-Day Journey,” she said: “No, I don’t have an eating disorder. No, I don’t have a body image disorder. No, I don’t hate myself and, no, this journey wasn’t for you — it was for me.”

In a podcast called Off the Pills, Ho said that the body positive movement has grown so much over the years that now if someone wants to lose weight and look a certain way, they are labeled “anti-body positive” and kicked out of the community.

Returning to unhealthy habits is not the answer, she said. “It is a commitment of a lifetime.”




The trainer urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful. (Shutterstock)

Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said: “The problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.”

According to Hamdallah, the best way to deal with such people is to ask: “What is the source of the information?”

She added: “They will think back on what they have said and if they do have a genuine source, you can take their advice.”

The trainer also urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful.

Hamdallah said that a healthy lifestyle is about changing habits little by little, and is not about following a particular diet. “People tend to get the two mixed.

For a healthy life, it’s just a caloric deficit, physical activity and enough sleep. It’s very simple.”

The trainer defined her personal experience as a series of trial and error, and said that still tries new approaches and methods in her diet and during her workouts.

She also said that her schedules are flexible, and she will not force herself to do something that does not feel right.

Depending on body type, results can take up to a year to show, while sometimes it is just three months, Hamdallah added.

I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.

Suliman Abduljawad, Guinness world record holder in fitness

However, according to Khalid, adopting a healthier lifestyle is not as tricky as it sometimes appears.

“I promise you, a healthy lifestyle isn’t just boiled chicken breast and white rice or a sad piece of bread. Now, more than ever, you can find delicious foods on the internet that is so good that you won’t even miss the sugar-filled or fried foods that you crave.”

Khalid said that she was discouraged because people kept telling her that she was eating, drinking and exercising the wrong way, and she was not seeing results in fitness. She later discovered that it takes time to change.

“That is OK. I have my own pace and I am happy with that,” she said.

Adding to the warnings, a Saudi champ has joined the fight against fitness myths

Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, joined social media to campaign for better messaging around fitness and exercise.

“I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies,” he told Arab News.

Abduljawad said that he decided to step in and educate people about the “rights and wrongs” of training.

The fitness champ said that he receives messages every day from followers asking him about information they read online.

Female personal trainers in Saudi Arabia are expensive compared with other countries because of the myths, he said.

“One of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science,” Abduljawad said.

He also rejects the claim that training is bad for children. “I have a son, I cannot wait until he is 3 years old to train him. People say that children should not train, which is wrong. Their training is fun and they will enjoy it.”

Abduljawad said that he read Guinness World Records books as a child and wondered why there were no Saudi record-holders. It was then that he decided to work hard on himself.

He eventually broke two world records after a long journey — one in side jump push-up and one in archer push-up in 2020.

“I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.”

Abduljawad offers online training and dreams of having his own gym one day. “I’m aiming break 10 more world records.”


Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
Updated 18 min 10 sec ago

Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) and the US Navy on Sunday launched a mixed joint naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet, the ministry of defense announced.
The “Indigo Defender — 21” exercise was launched in the presence of Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, the Assistant commander of the Western Fleet and commander of the exercise, Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, and Col. Daniel Bailey of the US Navy.
The exercise’s commander said the 10-day maneuvers aim to strengthen relations and military cooperation, raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between the RSNF and the US Navy.
It also aims to exchange expertise in the field of port protection, clearing land and underwater mines, and contribute to developing security capabilities by protecting and securing the regional and international waterways to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.


Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon
Updated 9 sec ago

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia warned its citizens not to travel to Lebanon “especially in light of the current circumstances in the country,” the foreign ministry said on Sunday.
“In view of the current security events in Lebanon, and based on a decision by the Ministry of Interior to prevent direct and indirect travel of citizens to a number of countries without obtaining prior permission from the concerned authorities, including Lebanon,” it said.
The ministry called on citizens to follow instructions issued by relevant authorities, and on those in Lebanon to take precaution and stay away from gatherings, due to their potential threat to citizens’ security and safety.
On Thursday, seven people were killed in violence in Beirut as crowds headed for a protest called by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its Shiite ally Amal.
(With Reuters)


Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Sunday made a phone call to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
During the call, aspects of Saudi-Chinese relations and areas of cooperation between the two countries were reviewed, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
The two sides also discussed regional and international developments and efforts made to enhance security and stability, in addition to discussing the most prominent issues of common interest.


Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan
  • The offices will aim to capitalize on the advantages that each of the three regions have to offer
  • They are part of the crown prince’s vision to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development in all regions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's crown prince announced on Sunday the launch of strategic offices to develop the areas of Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan.
The offices will form the basis for the establishment of development authorities in the regions. They will aim to capitalize on the advantages that each of the three areas have to offer, Saudi Press Agency reported.
They will also ensure the development of a strong investment environment attracting private sector engagement.
The announcement of the strategic offices comes as part of the government’s strategy to extend development to all regions and cities of the Kingdom.
Prince Mohammed said that other strategic offices would be established in areas where there are not yet any development agencies.
These strategic offices will focus on investing in the distinct features and advantages of each region to transform them into sustainable and permanent economic drivers.
The offices will include the private sector in the development plans.
They are part of the crown prince’s vision to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development in all regions of the Kingdom, expanding job opportunities, and improving living standards by upgrading basic services and infrastructure. 
Al-Baha is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kingdom. The region includes a large number of forests and is home to many ancient villages and forts.
Al-Jouf is known as the “food basket of the Kingdom” as it contains fertile land with abundant water resources. It is responsible for about 67 percent of the Kingdom’s olive oil production.
Jazan is home to the Farasan Islands and Jazan Port which is considered to be the third largest port on the Red Sea Coast.


OIC human rights commission says international community must mobilize efforts to end poverty 

OIC human rights commission says international community must mobilize efforts to end poverty 
Updated 17 October 2021

OIC human rights commission says international community must mobilize efforts to end poverty 

OIC human rights commission says international community must mobilize efforts to end poverty 
  • The IPHRC emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of extreme poverty as a top priority
  • The principle of “leaving no one behind” must guide efforts to eradicate poverty, the commission said

LONDON: The world should recognize abject poverty as a human rights violation, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission said on Sunday.

In a statement released to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2021, the IPHRC said the world has a “shared responsibility to mobilize all possible efforts to end poverty.” 

It said the fact that 689 million people still live in extreme poverty with less than $1.90 a day to live on is a “moral outrage.”

The commission added that the effects of the Coronavirus disease pandemic reversed many years of progress in the fight against poverty, and that between 88 and 115 million people are being pushed into poverty.

The majority of the new extreme poor live in south Asian and sub-saharan countries where poverty rates were already high, the commission added.

The IPHRC emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of extreme poverty as a top priority for the international community.

Despite the global focus on fostering development and eradicating poverty, the pandemic has clearly proven that the world needs structural changes to efficiently eradicate poverty beyond the ambitious political narratives that fail to inspire real action, it said. 

The human rights commission called upon the international community to translate the global focus on human rights protection and sustainable development goals into concrete, measurable actions on the ground to effectively address the core issue of poverty. 

The principle of “leaving no one behind” must guide efforts to eradicate poverty at the national and global levels, the commission added.

It urged all governments to strengthen their legal framework of human rights that places human dignity at the heart of policy and action against existing structural disadvantages and inequalities. 

People living in poverty must be meaningfully engaged in decision-making processes that directly affect their lives, it added.

The commission urged OIC member states to redouble their efforts to devise human rights-based and people-centered socio-development policies.

It highlighted that eradicating poverty is a moral and spiritual imperative of Islam and a strategically beneficial goal for the political, economic, and social progress of all member states.

IPHRC also emphasized the international community’s collective responsibility to create a conducive socio-economic environment for the enjoyment of human rights by everybody around the world.