The fitness industry is chock full of people giving false information that makes you less effective and in some cases can even harm you. It pains me to see mistakes made over and over and to see people with amazing motivation and a willingness to change end up with terrible results and quitting because of something someone told them.
These 11 myths will open your eyes, help you train smarter, eat better and get results faster.
Women Will Get Bulky Weight Lifting
I thought this was already common knowledge but I still get a lot of emails from women telling me they want to lose fat and get toned, but please give them some exercises that will make sure they won’t get bulky. Every time I hear it I patiently answer, but I am starting to lose patience. Not with the individuals but with the fitness industry for churning out crap over and over.
Lifting weights will not turn you into the female version of the incredible hulk. It will help you build muscle and get that toned look you want. When you start to do ‘girly’ weights with high repetitions and low weights you are just wasting your time. You are not going to adapt as much as you can and you are not going to burn enough calories. Women don’t have the hormones that men do and we don’t adapt the same way men do. The growth that you can get does have a limit, but the strength adaptations don’t.
Strength training (whether it be with your body or with weights) is absolutely the most effective exercise you can do to help you get the perfect body. Without it you will just be skinny fat, unhealthy and not toned. Those women that look ridiculously bulky have very likely either taken something not overly legal, have pumped full of supplements or are simply genetic freaks.
You Can Spot Reduce
Spot reducing is one of the biggest myths in fitness, and unfortunately people are still running with it. The reality is you cannot reduce fat from one particular area by exercising it. I see countless women wanting to lose the fat on their thighs working on the adductor machine and doing little high repetition exercises, hoping to burn more fat off the area. You won’t burn more calories in that specific area by working on it more, and you certainly won’t burn more fat. It just won’t happen.
Fortunately or unfortunately, your body is predisposed to carrying fat in certain areas. Some people carry most of their fat around the stomach, and no amount of ab work will reduce it. If you are predisposed to keeping your fat on your booty, that is where you are going to put it first and lose it last.
For those tough areas you really want to reduce, you need to be patient. Often these spots are the last place you will lose fat from and you just need to keep doing what you are doing. If you start to try to spot reduce with high repetition exercises, you will you be wasting your time as you are not putting your body under enough stimulus to actually change and grow. If you want to see your abs, you need to lose fat over your whole body and get stronger. Ab exercises with lower repetitions and full body exercises like squats, pushups and chair presses will help this and be more effective at burning calories as well.
Keep working hard on your nutrition strategy and keep exercising using full body weight lifting or body weight work. We have spoken about it before and nothing has changed. The most effective way to reduce fat across your body is to have sound nutrition strategies and exercise smart. You can sign up to grab three free workouts you can do at home to help you get started exercising correctly.
You Gotta Eat Every Few Hours
Eating every few hours is a tactic that works for a lot of people, but not everyone. I will go into this more in a future post about nutrition, but the reality is that there is no one best way. At the end of the day, until science unequivocally proves otherwise I still believe you need to be in a caloric deficit if you want to burn the fat off your body. Some people find that eating every few hours and eating small meals is a way to control their caloric intake, others will find following something like the Paleo diet helps them to cut the crap and lose a whole lot of fat, those who like to eat late will find some form of intermittent fasting will work for them and others will find simply counting calories will help them drop the bulge.
You have to find what works for you, what fits your lifestyle and what helps you drop fat and maintain your weight consistently. In an upcoming post I will outline my nutrition ideas and run through a lot of different diets and who they will apply too.
No Pain No Gain
This is the most annoying myth for me personally. I see a very large number of newbies getting put through their paces and having to push through things that are actually detrimental to their health. Pain in your body is not a good sign. It means something is hurt. You don’t need to train to the point of pain and injury to get results, in fact you don’t need to train at all, it just helps.
It is however important to distinguish very early what pain actually is. When you begin to work your body and you haven’t done much before you will feel discomfort after the workout. You feel tight, sore and discomfort in the area you worked out. This is OK and it gets better quickly. Your body adapts and you very quickly will not feel this after workouts.
What concerns me is the fact that the general thought is that you need to push yourself beyond the limits simply to get a body transformation. If you are being told to work through pain you are being advised badly. The best results come from training and exercising intelligently. You can workout 3 times a week for 30 minutes, get your nutrition right and get a good body transformation. If someone tells you that you need to hurt yourself and work through pain exercising to get where you want to be, they are wrong. Start being smart. Sign up to the blog to find out how, I’ll throw in some free workouts for you.
Working In The Fat Burning Zone Will Help You Burn Fat
This is not true. For those walking on the treadmill and keeping yourself in the so called fat burning zone are not doing any better than working out of it. Weight loss comes mostly from what you eat, exercises can help change the way you metabolise food and influence what you can eat. It is super important for a complete healthy body and transformation if only for this. You can eat more carbs, you become less insulin sensitive and you get stronger and a better looking body.
The reality is if you train harder and do some high intensity work, you burn more calories and have more chance of burning fat. However that amount is still pretty insignificant when you compare it to the food you consume. You can easily ruin your good work exercising with food.
Low Fat Diets Help You Lose Fat
Fat is not the devil. Sure it is higher calorie but it serves a whole lot of great purposes too. If you eat low in fat you aren’t necessarily going to lose weight. Again it all comes back to how many calories you take in during the day. Low fat foods are often high in sugar and carbs and consequently calories you probably don’t need, so keep an eye out for that. Low fat diets can often lead to adrenal fatigue, low energy and extreme crankiness. Plus fat is simply more satiating and will help you stay full longer.
Eating a low fat diet within your calorie range will help you lose weight, but you will often feel hungry and tired and this is no fun for anyone. If you are eating a good amount of high quality animal foods like fish, beef, chicken and eggs then you are probably getting all the healthy fats you need. I recommend getting at least 0.2- 0.3 grams per pound of body weight in. This will help support your hormone production and that is vital to a healthy body.
Exercise Is Essential To Lose Weight
As much as I advocate working out, it is not essential for weight loss. Exercise is great because it changes the way you metabolize food and enables you to eat a little more and often have a greater carbohydrate intake, but it is not the be all end all of weight loss. What you eat accounts for a greater percentage of your weight loss. You can easily eat too many calories that it makes even the toughest exercise irrelevant. If you are looking to transform your body, get your nutrition right. Exercise often encourages healthy eating, so I prefer to prescribe it. It also helps you build muscle, look better and lead a better quality life. Focus on eating high quality foods 90% of the time, keep a sensible calorie intake and enjoy life!
Weight Training Turns Fat Into Muscle
No matter what you do those fat cells are always gonna be fat cells and those muscle cells are always gonna be muscle cells. You can burn the fat in the fat cells and you can grow and expand the muscles cells, but they will never change. That’s all.
Squats Are Bad For Your Knees
Squats are not bad for your knees, your technique is bad for your knees. Some of us have knee problems (me included) but I sure as heck know that didn’t come from squatting. Although it takes a while after suffering from knee pain to be able to get back to your best squat, they are not the cause of your knee pain. If you are struggling during squatting, you need to get back to the old box squat. This ensures you are really engaging your glutes, makes sure your knees stay in a great line without placing any additional pressure on them and also helps your posture. Get a box, a couch or a step and squat back onto it until your bum touches it. Push your knees out as you stand back up. make sure your first movement is always with the butt, not the knees.
Jogging Is The Best Exercise To Lose Weight
When most people want to start a fitness kick, which is usually started because they want to lose weight they will often start jogging. I hate to tell you, but this is absolutely not the most effective use of your time. If you like to run, then go ahead and enjoy it, but if your goal is a physique transformation then you can be spending your time more wisely.
I have mentioned several times in this article alone that strength training is the most effective way to get a better looking body. Second to that is high intensity cardio work. Jogging doesn’t burn as many calories as either of these, won’t put enough stimulus on your body to get your adaptations you need to look toned and will also place enormous stress through your ankles, knees and hips. If you jog because you can’t get to a gym, check out these 41 exercises you can do in your living room and spend your time working out more effectively.
If You Wanna Lose Fat, You Gotta Workout Harder
This is very similar to the no pain no gain point, and is a basic summary of the whole article. As I mentioned earlier working out isn’t even essential to losing fat. It helps a lot and I recommend it, but you can get results without it. Working out harder will burn a few more calories, but it’s still insignificant in terms of what you are eating during the day.
Working out smarter is much more important. You get better results from three times a week smart and effective strength training than 5 times a week ineffective and unplanned hard exercise. I really believe that less is more and we can spend our time on more important things. if your goal is to increase strength and muscle, you will need to progress, but that doesn’t mean working out harder… it means progressing and upping the weight you are lifting. If you are stuck in a weight loss rut, the best way out of it is not necessarily working out harder, it’s simply finding the next progression to challenge your body and working on changing your nutrition around to suit your new body.
A lot of these fitness myths lead us to waste our time, and consequently not get results. This is super demotivating and often means we quit and stop. It’s a shame because 90% of the time the failures come from a lack of knowledge, not from a lack of willpower. Be smarter with your training and food, get educated about what works and what doesnt and get some real results.