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Being a personal trainer, I’ve learned quickly you are not only responsible in knowing about fitness in terms of exercise. To be an informed and educated trainer, it has also been beneficial to learn about other facets of wellness such as nutrition. Through years of my clients asking me a number of questions or reading hundreds of online articles, I’ve come to think I’m fairly well versed on a number of conversations in health. What is some of the most cringeworthy things I see, however, are the “trends” of fitness and the latest health crazes and diet methodologies. WIthout being long winded and going into the stories of the good, bad, and downright awful things I’ve seen trials and tribulations of, I’ve compiled a list of myths of fitness I hear of frequently.

 

Myth #1: “I just want to tone my (insert given body part here)”

While it would be great to hone in on one particular body part and tone it up to make it look fantastic, the reality is that overall strength training coupled with fat loss will provide the best results to making certain body parts appear more tone. The “squat challenges” you see all over Facebook and Instagram doesn’t give you a Kardashian booty just like doing 100 sit-ups a day won’t give you superhero abs. The more time you spend lifting weights that work a muscle group, like legs, will obviously give you strong legs. Through that you will see stronger muscles throughout your legs. If you’re constantly lifting one muscle group and notice that part of your body is improving, it is because your overall fat percentage is decreasing. Fat is distributed throughout your whole body. So when you lose weight, it doesn’t just lose fat from one area; it will decrease in an overall fashion.

 

Myth #2: “If I lift weights, I’ll get bulky”

My eyes rolled just typing that sentence. I hear it all the time from women both in person and through online forums. No, picking up a weight won’t suddenly turn you into Arnold. Also, picking up heavy weights won’t suddenly make you the Hulk. Many times people fear heavy weights because they think it will make them appear “manly” when really it is just the opposite. Women that are actual bodybuilders or trained athletes like the pros of Crossfit have spent years and years building their muscles to grow to the caliber in which they are. Exercisers that want to improve their health through weight lifting will never grow to that amount of muscle mass overnight. Heavy weight lifting improves bone density, as well as total muscle composition in your body. One of my favorite deals about that is, the more muscle you have, the higher your BMR. Guess what that means? You get to eat more food! This is due to the fact your body takes more energy to maintain muscles than it does to store fat. Never fear the heavy weights! Strong is sexy, people!

 

Myth #3: “I need to lose weight. So I’m just going to give up (insert a delicious food here that most definitely shouldn’t be given up)”

I get it. Dieting is hard. Busting your butt in the gym without results is frustrating. I’ve been there, I live it almost daily. But I am sick and tired of the diet industry pitching crazy new ideas all the time that make people believe an unsustainable diet will be effective long term. Let’s take the ultra low carb diets, for example. For some medical conditions, low carb is both effective and safe to use. However, a diet that insists on low carbs but high fat and protein just is not sustainable for years. Also, diets that want you to take out other whole food groups such as all sugars, or caffeine, etc are set up for failure. Why take something out of your diet completely when there is room to fit it in (within moderation). At the end of the day, no matter what diet you pick, if you burn more calories than you eat- you WILL lose weight. So, if you can find a way to live in moderation while still being able to have your favorite foods, why not stick to that? I never trust any diets that take out whole food groups, use the word “detox” and emphasize “shakes” as majority of your meals.

 

Myth #4: You need to do cardio every day

While I love a good run or to take a cruise on the row machines, cardio workouts are not necessary every single day. Especially when it comes to people trying to work off dieting woes and weekend shenanigans, many get it in their head they need to bust their ass doing cardio to break even. While this mentally may make you feel better and will definitely increase your overall caloric deficit, it is not necessary to do every day. What is most important is self care. They say 80% of weight loss and success in seeing physical results is through nutrition. So if you can find the right mix of calories to intake, exercise will immediately become something more ‘fun’ than ‘punishing’ (well unless of course you train with Stacy like I do… because her workouts will never stop invoking fear from deep within my soul). Ideally, I like to see people use a combination of tough cardio workouts (like many we offer at FITT-RX) and challenging strength workouts (coincidentally also offered at FITT-RX) to make the most out of their “fitness week”. With that, find time to STRETCH or take active rest days where even going on walks or participating in yoga classes refreshes the body as well as the mind. Exercise should be fun! You should not dread it.

Want more? I found another great article from self.com that covers these and similar myths about fitness I also hear a ton. https://www.self.com/story/12-workout-myths-that-just-need-to-die

 

–Submitted by Megan Sandilands, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor at FITT-RX

 
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