While most of my clients are women, I’d have to say that I hear a lot of these ‘myths’ from my male clients as well. The best one is, “I eat really well during the week but I need to have my ___________ on the weekends”. People want results and the ‘perfect’ program but they don’t want to make any changes to their current lifestyle….sorry, not gonna happen! If you are 100% dedicated to your goals, then you must be dedicated 100% (which means all the time) to put in the time and effort it takes to get there, if not, well you simply aren’t ready yet!
Here are a few myths I most commonly hear….
Lifting weights will make me look bulky: I have lost count of the number of times I have heard this! LADIES LISTEN UP! Women have nothing to worry about in terms of bulking up. It requires very intensive training that most people won’t do and more importantly women lack the testosterone levels to build bulging muscles. Unless you start taking steroids you will NOT become bulky from lifting weights. Weight training builds muscle and with proper nutrition you can see muscle definition, which is something many women want. Therefore, resistance training is essential for ‘toning’ as it helps to increase a person’s metabolism.. So ladies, stop being scared to lift weights!!!
Hours of cardio will help you to lose weight: Yes, to a certain point but generally, the harder you work, the more fat you burn. But before you can work at the most intense levels — i.e. sprints or interval training— you have to build up to it. It’s progressive. You have to build some aerobic endurance before you can start working at high-intensity levels. In other words, walk before you run and run before you sprint — pushing the body progressively. It is also much better for your confidence and sticking to your plan if you start slow and build progressively instead of going all out all at once.
Doing crunches will get me abs: While the devices they sell on late night infomercials may promise to “help strengthen the muscles around your midsection and improve your posture,” being able to “see” your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat. If you don’t lose the belly fat, you won’t see your ab muscles. So how do you lose the belly fat? Not by doing crunches! The best way to burn fat in ALL areas of your body though is to follow a workout routine that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content, including the area around your mid section. On top of lifting weights you must also eat clean (for more than 2 weeks! It takes months and months!), reduce your stress, avoid sugar, control your hormone levels, get plenty of sleep…the list goes on! There is no secret to getting a 6 pack…it just takes hard work and serious dedication! Even when I am at my leanest (on stage when I did a fitness competition) I don’t have deep abs showing, and to be honest, I don’t really care! All the women and men you see in magazines are usually extremely dehydrated or photo shopped to have abs. Besides, don’t strive for perfection or you’ll never be happy!
If you put your time in the gym and the kitchen you will achieve your goals aka losing weight is easy: There is more to it than just the training and nutrition! Especially women! We are complex creatures and many times I have had clients follow through on everything I tell them to do and their progress is very slow. This is when hormones, stress, thyroid function and lack of sleep can affect a person’s results. Many times I can only help a person so much, and when it gets to this point I usually refer my clients to a hormone or naturopathic doctor or holistic nutritionist. Losing weight is so hard and involves so much more than eating healthy and exercising. Your emotional fitness can affect your progress (see my previous blog post) Most importantly, everyone is different so what works for one person might no necessarily work for another. It is crucial to find out what works best for you and don’t forget to switch things up, don’t always eat the same thing or do the same workout as that leads to boredom which can lead to skipping the gym. I find that on days I eat better I feel better, therefore I want to eat nothing but healthy food, which also helps me feel better, and I always sleep better and am less stressed when I eat clean and exercise which leads to a better night’s sleep. It’s a cycle that is so easy to break but also easy to keep continuous! The main thing to remember here is to be patient…it takes time to overcome bad habits and to develop new (and healthy) ones.
Fat will make you fat: Sort of true, if you eat the WRONG fats and too many of them but healthy fats are ESSENTIAL for weight loss, proper brain function, healthy skin, nails and hair, bowel function, energy and they taste good! You can get fats from fish oil supplements (1ml per % body fat), nuts, seeds, coconut oil, animal fat and fish, nut butters, egg yolks and avocado. If you are they type of person who requires less carbs to lose weight then you should definitely substitute your carbs with fats and vice versa (if you are eating more carbs, reduce your fats). Check out the serving size for each source of fat before you go and eat an entire bag of nuts or devour a whole avocado!
Once you reach your goal weight/body fat you don’t have to do as much training or watch what you eat as you’ll just have to maintain what you’ve worked for: Ummmmm no, don’t think so! Fitness is a lifestyle, not a destination (cliché I know) and it never stops! Once you reach your goal, set new ones! And when you reach that goal you set more! Personally, working out and eating clean and living a happy and productive life is an ongoing process for me and is one that I thoroughly enjoy, why would I ever want to stop improving myself and helping to inspire others?
These are just a few of the most common fitness misconceptions I have heard but trust me, there are WAY more! If you still don’t believe me after reading this post, feel free to ask a few of my clients who have implemented most, if not all of these ‘rules’ and they will surely convince you to think otherwise!
Please comment below if you have any questions or comments or maybe you have your own myths you would like be to debunk!