Ok, so I’m not going to pretend that I have always had this wisdom. I used to be taken in by quick fixes and anecdotal fitness tips. I was that 5 year old that wanted to grow up and be a Disney princess, and later in life, I was taken in by the fitness fairy tales too. Just like the Disney stories, there are fitness myths out there that just aren’t real. Carry on reading for some knowledge bombs and myth busting!
Lifting weights will make you look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The look of absolute fear that comes over the face of many people during a PT session (particularly women), when I say we are going to lift some weights in the free weights or Olympic lifting sections of the gym. It’s like I’ve just told them that we are about to jump off a moving train. I’ve learnt that this stems from the fear of getting “bulky”. THIS IS A MYTH. Building muscles does not happen by accident. You have to be following a specific nutrition and training plan. For starters, you have to be eating more food than you are using to fuel training. And then there is your training plan. It has to be specific and targeted to cause noticeable muscle gain.
Time to let go of the fear, and pick up some weights. Strength training is so beneficial. Never mind anything to do with weight or energy. Strength training reduces your risk of osteoporosis, reduces you risk of injury and helps improve your posture. Not to mention lifting weights is one of the most empowering things you can do! I feel like Wonder Woman every time I train!
You have to drink protein shakes and eat protein bars to build muscles
Protein shakes and protein bars are not magical things that automatically make you a super lean. You will not waste away without them. In fact, there is no need to have them in your diet, regardless of whether you are trying to build muscle, or just up your protein intake. Eating a chicken breast at dinner, for example, will provide you with the same protein fix. The bars and shakes are all about convenience. So if you fancy a protein-rich snack and you are a bit pushed for time, go for it. But remember they are just another high-protein food. No fairy tale endings here.
You have to do [insert ridiculous number of] sit ups to get six pack abs
So having rock hard abs is one of your goals. Step away from the crunches. This relates back to targeting specific areas for fat loss – or rather not being able to. Doing exercises that target your core, (sit ups, crunches etc.) is a great way to build strength that will help your balance and posture. They WILL NOT help you specifically lose fat around your stomach. That isn’t to say don’t do them. Having a strong core is so important for exercise and daily life. But if you want to flatten your stomach, it’s about fat loss which takes time, decent nutrition, efficient exercise, and patience.
Carbs make you fat
This nutrition myth really needs to die! I reckon it all started with popular and trendy diets such as Atkins. Time to put away the plate of 3 steaks…
Carbohydrates are 1 of 3 macro-nutrients. The other 2 are protein and fats. Now repeat after me: CARBS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT. In face, no single one of these 3 macro-nutrients will “make you fat”. Weight gain and weight loss is determined by the a very simple energy equation: Energy in V Energy out. If the energy (food) you put into your body is LESS THAN what goes out (gym workouts, walking, living etc.) then you will lose weight. If the energy (food) you put into your body is MORE THAN what goes out (gym workouts, walking, living etc.) then you will gain weight. It really is as simple as that. Go ahead and eat the bread, pasta, rice and all those delicious carbs that you love. There is no need to fear them. Your overall energy input and output is what matters.
There are lots more fitness fairy tales out there but these are 4 that I hear from clients and gym members regularly. If in doubt – ask someone with qualifications! Know that your information is coming from a place of knowledge and expertise, not coming from someone who is trying to sell you the latest dieting product or trend.
Love Becky xxx