Much of what many people believe is common knowledge about fitness and exercise is actually nothing more than a myth.
There are many myths and misconceptions about fitness and it’s good to be aware of them. The right knowledge will all help in your path to achieving your fitness goals.
Fat turning into muscle and muscle into fat
This is one of the most common fitness myths I have heard. When I was first starting out the most common piece of advice I received was to eat a lot of junk food to increase the amount of body fat I had, then start lifting weights to turn that fat into muscle. The other thing people would say was that if you stopped lifting weights that muscle would turn into fat. Fat and Muscle are two different types of tissue, one cannot transform into the other. Muscle can grow or shrink and the same with fat cells, they don’t transform.
This is the one about trying to burn fat from a specific area of your body by exercising that specific area. An example of spot training would be somebody trying to lose belly fat by doing lots of sit ups or ab crunches, unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. You can’t pick and choose an area of your body to lose fat, that is decided by our genetics. If somebody wanted to lose fat from their belly, the best way to do this is to lower their overall body fat percentage by regular exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet.
If you can’t work out long enough you may as well not bother
Some people have the idea that they need to exercise 5 times a week for at least an hour to get any results, and if they can’t commit that much time they might as well not bother. This is not the case, you can have a very productive workout in less than 30 minutes it just depends how hard you work in those 30 minutes. Short exercise sessions are better than none at all, just going for a short walk is beneficial.
The six pack fitness myth
Some think the best way to get a six pack is to do loads of stomach exercises, this will only strengthen and make your abdominals slightly larger. If you have a few layers of fat on your stomach your abs will be hidden. Doing something that burns more calories, like jogging or even walking would be a better first step in getting that six pack.
I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get too big
One of my favorite fitness myths, I hear this often. Sometimes I advise people to do some weight training with high repetitions because it can be effective for burning calories/body fat. Sometimes they reply with, “I don’t want to do weight training because I will get too big or muscular”. What they don’t understand is, it’s not easy to gain large amounts of muscle mass, it’s not in everybody’s genetic makeup to look like a bodybuilder. They don’t understand that weight training has many benefits.
Cutting out carbohydrates
You should not cut out carbohydrates, your body including your brain needs carbohydrates for energy and to stay healthy. About two thirds of your diet should actually consist of complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates are full of nutrients, foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains. It’s simple carbohydrates that should be mostly avoided, foods such as cakes, biscuits, chips, fries and fizzy drinks, they offer plenty of calories and little nutritional value.
Cutting out all fat
Your body actually needs some fat to function properly, about a quarter of your diet should be made up from fats. However there are different types of fats, the one you should cut out completely, or at least limit is (trans fat) which is a chemically modified fat.