How many of these myths have you heard recently? They’re everywhere, infecting pseudo fitness sites and well-meaning blogs. Every industry has its rumours and misinformation, but the walls of our health clubs witness so much more, standing silent as members start no-carb kicks and fat burner detoxes. Maybe you’re guilty of our top 20, maybe you know somebody who is…set the record straight now and press reset on weight loss, diet and training.
1. Say No to Carbs – Made famous by the Atkins Diet sometime in the 90s, the no-carb approach may deliver fast results in a matter of months initially, but comprehensive research has found that weight is more likely to come back. Unless you’re keen to give away pasta for the rest of your life, never taste a burger again or skip the occasional potato bake indefinitely, cutting carbs won’t help you lose weight.
2. I’m Not Unhealthy if I’m Skinny – This is a big porky. “Healthy” on the outside does not equal healthy on the inside; if you’re eating rubbish, your body is still a junk yard.
3. Cut Out Fat Completely – Elimination diets never work. They aren’t sustainable. The short term losses will come back with fiery vengeance given the opportunity; instead, research good fats and control portion sizes. Once you’ve reached your goal, concentrate on maintenance, earning those treat meals as the weekend rolls around.
4. Lots of Calories Make You Fat – Calories on their own don’t make you fat. Calories are a biological fuel, not a poisonous substance, provided you maintain a caloric deficit – energy in, energy out.
5. Bigger Muscles, Stronger Body – Not so! Muscles can be big without being super strong, and solid muscles can be on the smaller side. No matter what you see on Pay TV, those big, bulgy biceps are part of the show; they are strong, definitely, but take a look at internationally acclaimed weight lifters next to shiny show ponies – bigger isn’t by any means stronger.
6. I Can Eat What I Want…Provided I train hard and dose up on fat burners. No. You may lose a little weight, but your body needs nutritious foods to perform at its peak and build muscle – not to mention the adverse effects of a bad diet combined with fat burners!
7. Heavy Equals Fat – This is where BMI burns as a measurement of overall heath. The weight you see on the scales is composed of more than fat – muscle, tendons, bones, water, vital organs, what you ate for dinner last night and perhaps the one before, all play a part in that final number. A ripped, 90kg gym goer will look fitter than a sedentary, 70kg office worker.
8. 6 Days On, 1 Day Off – Somehow, the treat meal became the cheat day. Treats are important, they’re pleasant, they allow you to go out with your friends and have a beer without feeling guilty. When one or two beers becomes a six pack, one pizza, a three AM kebab and some hot chips, well, you’ve just blown 6 days of hard work. Don’t confuse treating yourself with spoiling your goals.
9. Salt is Bad For You – Processed and takeaway foods are bad for you; jarred sauces and mass produced labels are equally detrimental. Contrary to what you may believe, salt or sodium is not bad for you, as your body needs it to regulate nerve impulses, control muscles and maintain biological fluids. Instead of cutting salt from your diet entirely, take the time to read nutrition labels before you buy and opt for low sodium options. Extra points for visiting an organic butcher and sodium treated meats!
10. Calorie Free? Open Season! – Calorie free, fat free, sugar free…so many promises line supermarket shelves, but the truth is often starker than you’d think. No food should be unlimited or unmoderated. Would you fill your car with free fuel, even if the tank was overflowing? No? Stick to your eating plan and don’t overindulge, no matter how healthy you think a dish or snack may be.
11.Gluten Free Foods Will Help You Lose Weight – Let’s get something straight, gluten does not make you fat. If you’re not allergic or intolerant to Gluten then swapping to Gluten Free may hinder your weight loss journey. Gluten free foods can be just as sugary and workout blowing as any gluten loaded alternative.
12. Protein Bars are Meals, Right? – We know, protein bars are often marketed as meal replacements but let’s face it, there’s no way a bar of artificially flavoured sludge can equal the goodness of vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Too inconvenient? Plan ahead and pack small packs of unsalted nuts or chopped vegetables for an appetite fix.
13. Longer Sessions Equal Harder Workouts – Quantity never equals quality. You could pace out 45 minutes on the treadmill, strolling along at a comfortable 5km an hour, chatting to a friend or you could burn 20 minutes in weights room, pushing a personal best – which of these do you think is more effective? Time on the clock doesn’t lead to high muscle gains or steady weights losses.
14.You Need to Sweat to Lose Weight – Sweating is a side effect of cardio activity, as our body rushes to cool itself down. If you’re not sweating and you worked hard, you’re still losing weight. Why? Because sweat means nothing to weight loss. Movement is the key, a 30 minute walk can be just what your body needs.
15.Weight Training Will Make You Bulky – Ladies, this isn’t true. Weight training will not turn you into She-Hulk – instead, you’ll build strong, lean, cut muscle and burn through calories without spending hours on the cross trainer.
16. If You’re Not Sore, You Haven’t Worked Hard Enough – Some enjoy the “burn” that comes from a good, punishing workout. While it’s understandable, you don’t need to be sore post-workout to know it was worth it or that you’ve worked hard.
17. 30 is the Death of Metabolism – Metabolism can take a downward turn after 30, if you sit on the couch and accept your “fate”. Or you could get up, get going and stay active, working out and eating healthier foods to counteract those lower hormone levels.
18. Cardio Before Weights = Heavenly Body – This is a bad formula. If you thrash the cardio equipment before lifting, you’ll be too tired to really chase your PV and leave your best effort behind on the spin bike.
19. Spot Reduction Works – No, no it doesn’t. When you lose weight, fat disappears from all areas of your body; you may be predisposed to shift kilos in certain zones first, but there’s no way you can target them with shaping exercises.
20. Cardio is the King of Weight Loss – Cardio is important in any regime but it’s not the be all and end all of weight loss. Drop kilos faster by combining a cardio program with a weights plan, eat well and control portion sizes.
This article was proudly provided by the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, who support Genesis Fitness and help our members achieve their fitness goals.