So, you’re at work and you overhear your colleagues talking about how they are going to ‘get super fit’. They go on to explain that they haven’t exercised since school, but they are going to make this massive change because they have a reunion coming up. Hmmm, sounding familiar?! Then they say they’re going to bust their butt getting into shape, but there is no way they are doing weights or changing what they eat – they will just exercise it off.
What are your thoughts?
How successful do you think they will be?
How healthy do you think they will become?
We have our doubts about them. Mainly because they’ve already mentioned at least 4 fitness myths that will sabotage their efforts before they even start! Save yourself (and your colleagues) from the same trap and learn the 7 Fitness Myths that are leading many down the wrong path…
1.Fitness Myth: You need to make HUGE changes
This myth does the most damage to the fitness industry…and to your fitness self-esteem! Making huge changes to your fitness regime, for example the sort of ‘all or nothing’ approach we see at the start of a new year usually leave you with an ongoing gym debt that never gets used instead of a regular fitness regime.
Think for a moment about an Olympic athlete.
They didn’t start as elite athletes – they took many small steps, over time, that added up to success. It is no different for you, says Olympian Jeremy Rolleston. “If you want to achieve the toned body you’ve always dreamed of, or any type of body transformation for that matter, then don’t expect perfection straight away – change is a work in progress. Start by making micro changes that are so easy to achieve, you just can’t say no. By having small wins over and over, you nudge your behaviour towards change that will lead to lasting success. Small changes add up. Like building a house one brick at a time.”
2. Fitness Myth: Lifting Weights will make you bulky
Doing weights and resistance training is one of the most misunderstood fitness essentials. It’s both wrong and damaging as it deters people, especially women (who need it most) away from beneficial exercise. There is a simple equation to achieving the lean, toned look.
Build (some) muscle + Lose Fat = Tone!
Women don’t tend to achieve the ‘toned’ look they desire because they neglect an important part of the equation – the building muscle part! Women… don’t worry – weights WILL NOT make you bulky! Women don’t have the testosterone levels to easily achieve this, plus you need to be lifting heavy weights in focused weight sessions…not something we are suggesting!
Remember, if you are only focusing on reducing the number on the scale, you will often lose water and muscle weight. This leaves you weighing less but still flabby, or ‘ skinny fat’.
3. Fitness Myth: No pain, no gain
We’ve all felt that ‘burn’ in our muscles during exercise AND then there is the next day where you can barely walk. But, if you don’t feel that, have you even benefited your body?
The answer is YES but with conditions! The reason you feel Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the result of micro damage to the muscle fibres. This is not necessarily a bad thing and is associated with muscles becoming familiar with the exercise stress, adapting and reacting accordingly, meaning you will get stronger.
While it may be a little badge of exercise honour to feel DOMS, it is not necessary to push your body to that point every single workout. Also, once your muscles become accustomed to the new exercises, they will work more efficiently to achieve the same movements. That’s why it’s a good idea to mix up your workouts with a variety of intensity and type of exercises.
4. Fitness Myth: Losing weight, getting in shape and looking good is all about exercise
This is simply not true. Up to 80% of fat loss will come from nutritional changes. This doesn’t mean exercise has nothing to do with it, but you can’t out-exercise a bad diet! Losing weight (effectively) comes from being in calorie deficit.
Weight loss = Calories In < Calories burned
By monitoring your calorie intake AND burning plenty of calories through exercise and active living you can achieve weight loss, getting in shape and looking good. Plus, the bonus of feeling great too!
5. Fitness Myth: Your weight determines how healthy you are
As much as it’s becoming hip to be fit and healthy, unfortunately there still lurks the mistaken notion that this means being “skinny”.
Looking skinny, doesn’t always mean you are fit and healthy.
‘Skinny fat’ is a popular term used to describe a real medical condition known as Metabolically Obese Normal Weight (MONW). MONW or being ‘skinny fat’ is about having what appears to be a heathy weight, but in fact you have a high percentage of body fat, low muscle mass and the metabolic profile of a morbidly obese person.
Conversely, on traditional Body Mass Index scales an elite athlete may appear to be obese because of the bulk of their muscle weight in proportion to their height.
We use weight as just one parameter to see if you’re making progress in a body transformation, mainly because it’s easily accessible. But other measurements need to be considered, such as your actual body fat, to make more accurate assumptions of health. Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet with a regular exercise routine will determine your actual health.
Oh, wouldn’t it be so great if we could just order fat reduction like we were going through a fast-fat- removal drive thru?!
Where you deposit excess fat (from overeating) will be determined by your sex, age, hormones and unique physiological make-up. That’s why we all look different! So even though your body tends to deposit fat in certain areas, burning it off doesn’t work the same way.
The fact is, the human body is only capable of losing fat from the entire body as a whole. When you do a bench press or push-ups, the fat cells in your chest and arms don’t automatically give up their fat. The body will just mobilise its energy from wherever it needs to. It isn’t picky where it takes stored fat from. That’s also why when you start to lose fat you may notice your face looks drawn or your breasts are smaller while you still have a big gut or butt.
7. Longer workouts are better for fitness and weight loss
Long, boring workouts of never-ending treadmill sessions are what gives exercise a bad reputation! It is true that long, slow cardio workouts will call on your fat reserves as energy, so your body effectively starts to burn fat. However, whilst a higher percentage of fat is burned during the longer workouts, this does not equate to as much total fat burned compared to higher intensity exercise. This is because higher intensity workouts can help you burn more total calories over the day because of the “afterburn” effect.
That’s why varying the time and intensity of your workouts is important to overcome your body’s tendency to become efficient, meaning it gets used to the same-same exercise and uses less energy to do it.
Your Fitness myths mission…
There you have it…7 fitness myths busted with real life facts. Your task for today – spread the word and speak the truth. If you hear one of friends or colleagues talking about one of these fitness myths as if they are true, then call them out! If you need further back-up share this article.