If you watch TV, read newspapers or just browse the internet you will be faced with many fitness and health claims to grab your attention. These are mostly made by companies or celebrities promoting a product or a brand. Their best interest is to make you believe them and buy their stuff may that be supplements, big pharma products, food items, magic weight loss pills and so on.
In some cases, we can’t even trace back where the myth has come from, but once it’s been picked up by someone famous, it can go viral and very few would make an effort to research the topic and find out if it’s true or not.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many dedicated to help people get fitter and are spreading the word in a way so they get talked about thus can help more people. Novelty is always much preferred by humanity than confirming what we have known for decades.
So, let’s dig in and discuss 7 fitness myths that I think need to be clarified. There is a short video version you can watch too!
1. You Can Spot Reduce Fat
No, you can’t spot reduce fat (except by surgical methods). Results of a small study were published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2013 and they confirm previous research results that spot reducing fat by exercising a localised area of the body is not possible.
Calorie deficit over time however with a goal specific workout plan will make you lose fat. What areas of your body will react first or last will depend on your age, gender, hormonal balance and to an extent on genetics too. Stay consistent, plan for the long term, build some muscle in the area and results will follow.
2. You Must Eat Salads to Lose Weight
Short reaction: No. Yes, you need vegetables for nutrients and fiber and for that reason you should aim to have some with each of your main meals, and by vegetable I mostly mean the green stuff: broccoli, green beans, leafy greens and so on. Weight loss however, happens when you’re in a calorie deficit.
As long as you stick to this, you can have pasta, bread and potato or anything you like. Note that vegetables are higher in quality nutrients and lower in calories, so you can eat more of them, but it doesn’t mean you have salad for lunch, for dinner and for dessert.
3. Girls get big and bulky by lifting weights
Honestly, I don’t know who came up with the idea, but it’s simply not true. Feel free to research what female bodybuilders have to say about how they achieved their big muscles.
Likely it will involve 10+ years, very religious nutrition plan with lots of protein and carbs on high calories, very religious training plan with sessions 2-3 times a day and in some cases hormones.
Fitness models on the other side achieve their nicely toned bodies by keeping a variety of workouts, including weight lifting and strict nutrition plan too.
4. Cardio Is Good for Toning
It may help you to lose weight by helping you get into or maintain a calorie deficit combined with a carefully planned diet and even help you shed some body fat to make already existent muscles visible, but if you haven’t got much muscles you will look more like a marathon runner.
Massive respect for them for what they achieve but that’s not how most people would define “toned muscles”. If you’d like to achieve nice round shape shoulders, butt and some definition on your abs, you will need to strengthen and build those muscles by including resistance training into your exercise routine 2-3 times a week.
5. Fat Turns into Muscle
Fat and muscle are two different types of tissues, you can lose or gain them both separately but in the strict sense you can’t turn one into the other. You can lose fat while gaining muscle, which is how our Supermums and Superdads are transforming their bodies via a mixture of high intensity and resistance training group sessions.
6. Carbs Make You Fat
No. You need good quality carbs from vegetables, but you can also eat pasta and bread so long they fit in with your daily calorie intake. (see point 2 on salads) To lose weight you want to stay in calorie deficit, if your carbs push you over that, they’ll make you fat regardless what they’re from. Equally if you overshoot protein or fats you also gain weight.
7. Muscle weighs more than fat
What weighs more: a ton of feathers or a ton of brick? Feathers are big and voluminous, whilst brick takes up less space. Same with fat and muscles. The latter is denser which means 1kg of muscle will look smaller than 1kg of fat but they still weigh the same. Enough of the confusing claims. Truth to be told, everybody would like to have majority of their weight in muscle.
There are three keywords to take home from this article: calorie deficit, variety and balance. If you’d like to lose weight, you should be in a calorie deficit but eat a variety of meals for balance.
If you’d like to make sure most of the weight loss happens from body fat, you should keep your workouts varied too and balance it well with recovery.
Do you have a question on any of the above points? Contact our team!
David Knowles is the owner, lead Coach & trainer, Dad x 5 & wannabe singer songwriter!