Being fit and healthy is hugely important to your quality of life, but unfortunately, many aspects of the fitness industry are still misunderstood by both the general public and those who train regularly. These fitness myths are widespread and can prevent people from becoming the best version of themselves. This article discusses some of the main fitness myths and gives some handy advice on what you should do instead for the best possible results.
The fitness industry can be a bit of a mystery. Even people who go to the gym regularly might be guilty of believing some of these myths. Whether it’s because of misleading ads, or just a lack of research, many damaging theories still manage to stick around. The good news is that it’s easy to learn more and start doing things the right way. Here are some of the biggest health and fitness myths—after reading this, you’ll have no excuse.
Doing a Particular Exercise Will Burn Fat in That Area
This is one of the most prevalent fitness myths, but it’s understandable how many people might think it’s true. After all, people are often encouraged to do these exercises without having the effects adequately explained to them. For example, you may think that doing sit-ups will help you get rid of abdominal fat and give you that toned torso. Unfortunately, you can’t choose which part of your body will lose that fat. It’s mostly down to genetics where you store excess fat, and the best way to get rid of it is to do exercises that burn the most calories, coupled with a healthy diet. Sit-ups on their own won’t burn that many calories compared to other exercises. So, believe it or not, doing an intense set of heavy squats will help you get those abs a lot more quickly.
You Can “Tone” a Muscle
This is another one that many people fall for, but the fitness industry is mostly to blame for this. Advertisements on TV, people at the gym, or even less educated personal trainers might tell you that a set of bicep curls with a low weight will be great for toning. Muscles can’t be toned—they can only grow or shrink. In fact, being “toned” is a combination of having good muscle growth combined with, most importantly, low body fat. Having a lower body-fat percentage makes your muscles stand out a lot more, giving the illusion that you’ve gained muscle.
If you’re trying to build muscle, you’re going to struggle to do so without gaining a little bit of fat as well, unless you’re a beginner. Unfortunately, that’s the way the body works—trying to lose weight and gain muscle is going to be an uphill task. That’s why it’s essential to have a clear goal at the start of your training and stick to it.
Diet is Secondary
While time training in the gym is obviously well spent, it’s what you do outside the gym that will have the most significant effect on your results. The main part of this is diet. First, you need to have a clear plan regarding your goals. Trying to lose fat? Build muscle? Your diet is going to vary based on your individual needs. For building muscle, you need to give your body more energy than you’re losing (a calorific surplus). For losing weight, it’s the opposite—taking in less energy than you’re burning off (calorific deficit). You can work your heart out for an hour in the gym but, if you stuff yourself with pizza afterward, you’re going to undo all the good work. In moderation though, you can eat almost anything—as long as you’re keeping your calorie intake where it needs to be. Try an online calorie calculator to see how many calories you should be consuming in your diet based on your age, gender, and lifestyle.
It’s Easy to Build Muscle
When people look at pictures of professional bodybuilders, they get a false idea of what’s possible. Of course, many of these figures will be promoting certain supplements, such as protein powder, creatine, and much more. The trouble is, these supplements are, almost certainly, not the only thing they used (if they used them at all). Steroids are something not generally understood by the general public—while you might know Arnold Schwarzenegger was using them, you might be surprised to hear that even Instagram personalities or recreational bodybuilders at your gym are also most likely using them. When you train naturally and don’t see the same results, it’s understandable that you might get disheartened. Take a look at more strictly drug-tested bodybuilding competitions—you’ll notice a significant difference between these and Mr. Olympia contestants, for example. As long as your physique is improving, you shouldn’t worry about what anyone else looks like or compare yourself negatively.
Weights Make Women “Bulky”
On the flip side, maybe you’re scared you’ll build too much muscle? Women mainly seem to be concerned about being too “bulky” if they lift weights. For good or bad though, women can’t build as much muscle as men, in general, since they don’t have the same levels of testosterone. If you’re trying to look lean and fit, then lifting weights is going to be a great option, which can also help you burn calories and lose weight. It takes a lot of hard work, even for men, to build a decent amount of muscle; so, imagine how much harder it is for women. One set of bicep curls won’t turn you into the Hulk. So, try incorporating some free weights into your workout regimen for a great, feminine body.
Put Your Knowledge into Practice
If you’ve read through this article, you’ve already become more knowledgeable than the majority of the population. For whatever reason, these fitness myths keep getting spread, although this is probably related to companies trying to make money off misinformation. If you have a realistic idea of what’s possible and how best to lose weight, build muscle, or whatever else, then you’re much more likely to succeed. Take this information into account, do some more research on your own, and you will be well on your way to that body you’ve always wanted. If you hear anyone spreading these myths, now you can correct them.