There are so many fitness myths out there and I feel a need to set the record straight. After my hairdresser asked me what the best way to lose a quick 10 pounds was and then proceeded to tell me, with wide-eyes yearning for encouragement, that she’s drinking a gallon of water a day, I was pushed over the edge.
Now, mind you, I’m no doctor (luckily for you as they usually don’t know much about healthy people) nor do I have a master’s degree in nutrition or exercise science but what I do have is experience. In fact, I have almost 20 years of experience at this point and, most all of the following has come from hard earned lessons in my successes and failures over the years.
Let’s learn together, shall we?
Fitness Myth #1: Calorie Burn
The cardio machine is lying to you. I know you want to believe that your 20-minute walk on the treadmill burned 1,000 calories but we both know that is not true. Cardio machines are usually pre-programmed with the height and weight of the “average” male, meaning somewhere around 5′ 10″ and 180 pounds, so unless you fit those parameters you are SOL.
The only way to get a semi-accurate calorie burn rate is to enter your own height and weight from the start of your workout.
Fitness Myth #2: Spot Training
There is no one exercise or diet that will rid you of the flaps under your arms or the pouch in your stomach. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying and also should not be giving fitness advice. You need to train your entire body to get overall results. No matter how many “crunches” you do, those alone will not achieve a flat stomach. And sometimes only the recommendation of a great plastic surgeon will give you the results you are looking for. Anyone who has ever had a giant baby (or twins) can attest to this.
The very best thing you can do to tighten and tame areas that need it, is an overall strength and cardio program coupled with a healthy diet. The saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is 100 percent accurate.
Fitness Myth #3: Working Out Longer Is Better
For who? No one. Not even marathoners want to prolong workouts, believe me. The best way to torch the most calories and reap the biggest benefits is by doing shorter, more intense workouts (like intervals) and by following the FITT formula.
FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Chose one and mix it up to keep your body guessing. Doing the same workouts over and over do nothing but create muscle memory. You need to keep your very smart body evolving and adapting to different stresses, which is the best way to see results. So, the next time you head to the gym or out for a run think about how you can change one of those factors and go from there.
The best part? If you truly up your intensity or frequency, you can cut your sweat time in half while getting better results. This is especially true for newbies!
Fitness Myth #4: Lifting Heavy Weights Makes You Bulky
For those of you who still think this is true, ask a body builder how long it takes to gain muscle mass. Ok, Google it. It not only takes months of following a rigorous training regimen but also a very strict and insane diet. I’m pretty sure that if you strength train twice per week using heavy weights, you will not bulk up. In fact I’m 100 percent sure.
What you will get it a stronger, leaner, healthier body that is less injury prone. If you run, it’s one of the best things you can do for speed and prolong your running life.
There are thousands of great strength training workouts for every type of fitness program, goal or body. Pick one and then pick up those heavy weights and go for it!
Fitness Myth #5: It’s Easy for You
In this case “you” is anyone you think running, training or racing is easy for. There have been countless times when some good intentioned person has said to me “Oh it’s a just 5K? That’s easy for you!” Wrong. It’s a lung searing 19-21 minute hell fest, but thanks for making me feel as if it should be easy.
No matter who you are or what you train for, it’s all hard. Period. “Hard” is relative yes, and some of us enjoy pain more then others, but I have yet to find someone training for a goal to remark how “easy” it is.
“If it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” – Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
I’ll be doing another post on nutritional myths so let me know what you would like to read about!
What can you add to the list?
Let me know if you disagree…I love a challenge!