Fitness myths debunked. In all my years of working in the fitness industry, I’ve come across some amazingly popular misconceptions. Some were odd, some funny and others a little scary. One great example is a friend who, with a straight face, was trying to convince me that eating pasta al- dente was better because it had less calories than its softer counterpart. Just the other day I was watching tv and the announcers on a very popular morning show were seriously pushing eating a grapefruit before every meal, because it would make you loose weight. WHAT?! Oh, but those myths are out there. So I’ve made an attempt to bring up some of my favourites.
FITNESS MYTHS DEBUNKED
Do Pilates or Yoga for long lean muscles.
Truth. While I’m a huge fan of both Pilates and Yoga, this statement is simply not true. Your muscles are pre-determined and by the time you are finished growing that won’t change. What the exercises can do, is focus on your alignment and posture which gives the illusion of height and length. They also teach you to move more elegantly.
Lifting weights will make you bulky.
Truth. Women don’t have enough testosterone to get bulky. Lifting weights has so many benefits (think speeding up your metabolism) that you don’t want to eliminate it from your fitness routine. In fact, women should be lifting weights regularly.
One “cheat” day a week will help you stay on your diet plan.
Truth. We see this advice a lot, but in truth one cheat day can completely throw you off your game. Also, if you are struggling with weight loss then it won’t do you any favours. The better way to look at it is to have that snack or eat that slightly bigger meal if you really need it and then get back on track for the next one. Unless you are training for a specific competition (like a body building or fitness competition) where your diet is very restricted, one meal likely won’t matter but a whole day probably will.
Eliminate carbs if you want to lose weight.
Truth. I’m not sure that you can eliminate carbs completely, as they are present in fruits and vegetables, but for the purpose of this post, perhaps the most important point is that they won’t make you gain weight. It’s all about balance. Eating the type of complex carbohydrate found in grains is a necessary component of a healthy diet. They improve digestion, give you energy and help with brain function. Unless you have an allergy or a specific medical condition, it’s never a good idea to eliminate any food group from a healthy diet.
Eating late at night will make you fat.
Truth. I’m living proof that this is just a myth. I used to get home from dance late at night and eat my dinner, which usually consisted of pasta, at around 9 or 10pm and I was very fit. Calories can’t actually tell what time it is. While you may not want to eat a huge meal right before bed, as long as you are making wise food choices and it works with your schedule, you can eat when you need to.
Do crunches for a flat stomach.
Truth. I think we already debunked this myth in the 5 Best Abdominal Workouts. The truth is that a flat stomach begins in the kitchen, because it’s all about eating clean. Add a variety of abdominal exercises that will work your whole core and that will go a long way to a nicely toned midsection.
Cut back drastically on calories if you want to lose weight.
Truth. Sure, it’s important to cut back on calories, but if you eat too little the weight loss won’t be permanent and you will do greater damage to your body than good. In fact, you may wind up gaining weight in the long run. Losing weight is all about the balance of eating enough healthy foods in contrast to the energy you burn everyday.
You can eat as much healthy food as you want.
Truth. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie, period. If you eat too much you will gain weight.
Low fat foods will help you lose weight.
Truth. As a consumer, you always need to be vigilant and blindly trusting labels is never a good idea. Oftentimes these “low fat” foods aren’t necessarily low in calories and are packed with chemicals, preservatives and artificial sweeteners that will do your body more harm than good. Sometimes it’s better to eat something that is full fat, but more natural and in a smaller amount than its low fat counterpart.
The more you sweat the better the workout.
Truth. Everyone is different and how much you sweat is dependent on your physiology and maybe the conditions in which you are working out (you will probably sweat more outside in the summer than in the winter). Your muscles expend a certain amount of energy and the more they expend the harder you are working out.
Doing lots of cardio is best for burning fat.
Truth. Absolutely, cardio is good for you and it will help with fat burn, but doing just cardio is not enough. In fact, interval training will increase fat burn more than a steady cardio session.
Exercise in the morning for the best workout.
Truth. It doesn’t really matter what time you workout. I find that my body performs best mid morning but others might like exercising in the evening or first thing in the morning. Although remember that doing a high impact workout right before bed might impact your sleep patterns.
There are so many myths and misconceptions out there when it comes to fitness and really it’s no wonder, because we are all just trying to figure out what works best. If in doubt, the best thing to do is eat healthy and stick to a regular workout routine.
What are some of the best fitness myths you’ve heard?