When it comes to health and fitness, there is SO MUCH conflicting information out there.
And most of this conflicting info is really a myth or fad. You’ve heard them from your friends, magazine headlines … or even on popular TV shows. From the magic “lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes” pill, to the shake weight to the spot reductions … I can go on and on. Unfortunately, people are always engaging in the quick fix solutions, which ultimately create wishful thinking that someone can transform their body with very minimal effort.
So let’s debunk some of these myths and quick fixes, shall we!
Myth #1: Lifting Weights Bulk You Up
Ugh. I used to be one who believed this. This myth is especially a fear-factor among women. First, most women don’t have the testosterone levels men do!!! The truth of the matter is that resistance training is essential for toning our bodies. Do you think Jennifer Aniston looks bulky? What about Maria Menuenos? Nope! They look amazing, right?! To get a tight, toned body we need to use weights. For us to bulk up, it requires CRAZY INTENSE training (and supplements) that overload the muscles … most people won’t do this. So GO LIFT my friends! 🙂
Myth #2: The Scale Increasing = Getting Fatter
Well, this depends if the pounds are coming from fat or muscle. This also ties in with myth #1 above. The main difference between fat and muscle is density. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. So as you’re losing fat and gaining muscle your body composition is changing and it’s possible to become leaner and healthier while at the same time gain weight. This is why I don’t allow the scale to rule over me. It’s just ONE tool to guide me through my journey. My favorite tools are the tape measure and taking photos. I’d rather lose inches than weight!
Myth #3: Spot Reducing is Possible
You can do crunches all day long, but if you have a higher percentage of body fat, guess what your abs will be covered with? Yup … you guessed it: fat. Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick one body part or the other — otherwise we’ll all be running around with flat stomachs and amazing legs, right? If you want to get nice abs, or get rid of saddle bags, you have to FIRST reduce your overall body fat, which means plenty of cardio, coupled with resistance training for best results.
Myth #4: Lots and Lots and Lots of Cardio … is the Best Way to Lose Fat
Some people (especially women) do cardio for as long as 90 minutes or longer. The problem with this strategy is it’s completely ineffective and a real time waster.
Generally speaking, the harder you work, the more fat you burn. But, before you can work at those intense levels you have to build it up, progressively. Unless you’re training for something specific, like a marathon, I wouldn’t do cardio for more than 60 minutes. I actually prefer staying at around 30-45 minutes, pick up my pace and intensity so I knock it out and also have time for my resistance training!
The shorter, more-intense sessions burn more overall calories and preserve muscle, which will make you look tight and lean when you get to your scale weight goal. Who doesn’t want that?
Myth #5: Stretching BEFORE Exercise Improves Performance
The need for stretching is very individual, but stretching before a workout actually doesn’t really increase range of motion. Some studies even suggest that stretching destabilizes muscles, making them less prepared for strenuous exercise. Instead, do a warm-up to get your blood pumping and keep the stretching for after your workout where your muscles are warmed up and more receptive to lengthening.
Myth #6: You Can Eat Whatever You Want as Long as You Exercise
Why workout to eat? Think about that question. If you’re not changing your eating habits, then all you’re doing is working out to eat (more). You’re not seeing real results.
Our metabolism determines how many calories we burn at rest and while we exercise. But if we eat more than we burn on a regular basis, our bodies will store these extra calories as fat no matter how much we’re exercising.
A slight caloric deficit (less than maintenance) must be adhered to, as well as eating small healthy meals and snacks every two to three hours. This helps to control blood sugar, which in turn helps you lose fat.
Myth #7: Eating Less – Or Going on a Crash Diet – Will Get You Results
This myth is the stark opposite of #6. And this frame of mind became really popular in the 1980s. Some of the fads of this decade have even made a sneaky comeback in the 21st century.
With these crazy, unhealthy crash diets, like the grapefruit diet, people do lose weight, but it really means they’re losing muscle and fat. They assumed just eating less would take care of everything. But,they typically gain all the weight back … and more in many cases. Crash diets are not only nutritionally dangerous, but they also never teach people how to break bad habits and create new, healthy ones!
Today, we know total calories are important, but even more important are the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the diet.
Myth #8: If You Don’t Sweat, You’re Not Getting a Good Workout
Sweat isn’t only determined by how hard you’re working out … it’s also based on your genes. Sweat is the body’s way to regulate body temperature. Some of us just run hotter than others. So don’t judge your workout merely on how much you’re sweating. This can also be true for soreness. Some people just get more sore than others.
Myth #9: Gluten-Free Diets Help You Lose Weight
Unless you have celiac disease or have an allergy to gluten, you don’t need to have a gluten-free diet.
There are many natural foods that are already gluten free like veggies, fruits, sweet potatoes, fish. So don’t start buying a bunch of processed foods and desserts just because it says “gluten-free” on the box. They won’t help you to lose weight. And again, if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, don’t entertain this diet in the first place. Why go through the hassle.
Myth #10: Carbs Make You Fat
I’m SO HAPPY this is a myth. I love my carbs! But I’m talking about the good carbs like quinoa, beans/legume, fruits and veggies. The “bad” carbs have too many empty calories and can make you feel fat and fluffy such as white bread, white pasta, cake and cookies.
Healthy carbs are a must. They give you energy and nutrients. Do watch your portions, but don’t cut them out!