When it comes to fitness and nutrition, losing weight, and gaining muscle, there are many, many false beliefs and lies spouted and perpetuated by the misinformed and even magazines (don’t believe everything you read), but here are couple of classic myths…
1. Eating fat makes you fat.
No! Calories make you fat, more accurately, eating over your daily calorie allowance makes you fat. We’re supposed to eat fats. Good fats that is. Eating the correct kinds of fats actually helps our bodies let go of the fat it’s holding on to. So if you think you should avoid fats whilst eating healthy, or if you’re trying to lose fat, think again. Go to the post called Grocery Shopping List to find a list of healthy fats to include in your diet.
2. Women who lift heavy weights become huge muscle-bearing body builders.
The media can be very deceiving. We see a huge muscle bound woman and we immediately assume it’s because she lifts heavy weights. It is IMPOSSIBLE for women to look like body-builders by lifting heavy weights, and THAT you can take to the bank. Yes, impossible. The women you see in those conditions have, and how do I say this delicately, well, they have used ‘enhancing’ products to be able to build those kinds of muscles. Yes, they still have to lift heavy weights to get those gains, but without the help of ‘enhancement products’, they would NEVER reach those results. Women only have 5 to 10 percent levels of testosterone compared to men, so ladies, lift those weights. Ever heard the word ‘Tone’? Well, you’re not going to get toned by doing cardio. There’s no such thing as toned, you’re either losing fat, or building muscle, you can’t ‘tone’ what isn’t there in the first place.
3. You must do copious amounts of abdominal exercises to carve out a 6 pack.
You already have a 6 pack! We’re all born with them. If you don’t see them it’s because they’re underneath a layer of fat. You might have heard this before but six packs are built in the kitchen, not in the gym. Sure, you can grow your abdominal muscles further like any other muscle in your body, but until your body fat drops low enough, you won’t see them. In fact, if you build your abs and don’t take care of your nutrition, your gut will look even larger. To build your abs, forget about doing thousands of sit-ups, resistance is the key to grow them. Add weight to some of your abdominal exercises.
4. Doing targeted exercises to lose fat in specific areas of the body.
A classic example of this I’ve seen time and time again is people doing sit-ups so that they can reduce their belly fat. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Our bodies lose body fat as an over-all percentage. When you are on the quest to drop your body fat you cannot make body fat disappear from certain parts of your body first. In fact, as you get older, the last place your body fat will start reducing will be those typical stubborn places, like the gut for men and the butt for women. Remember this, ‘last place out, first place in’. When you’ve finally reached that body fat level you wanted, and for whatever reason you go off track with your nutrition, the last place you lost the fat, will be the first place it goes back to.
5. You have to do endless cardiovascular exercises to lose body fat.
Boy is this one of the most misunderstood theories of the masses. In the past we were lead to believe that repetitive type exercises was the way to go to get lean and ripped. The proof is in the pudding ladies and gentlemen. All you’re left with is looking limp, skinny and having weak muscles. Lifting light weights for many reps leaves you no better. Correct nutrition and challenging yourself with heavy weights is the proven way to go. Forget this misconception that jogging for hours on end will help you get lean and firm. Read this for further info if you’re a jogger. Stop Jogging, Start Running.
6. Genetics is everything.
This little word ‘genetics’ held me back most of my life, and I see it’s still being used by many of you. I’ve even noticed bad habits that are brought down from generation to generation confused for ‘genetics’. Our parents, their parents and their parents before them all had their habits and lifestyles, and they influence our lifestyles. We assume our parents and elders taught us correctly about exercise and nutrition but this isn’t the case majority of the time. So we ‘think’ we’re doing everything right but we just can’t seem to get lean, or grow muscle, or be strong, or get fit … so it must be genetics. Wrong. One of your parents may have been overweight, and your weight issues will be linked to their habits. Genetics may dictate how hard or how easy it may be for you to achieve what ever goals you set out for, but none of those goals are impossible. For some it will take longer, some will achieve it quicker, for some it’s easier than others, BUT, what you must never do is give up. It doesn’t matter if it takes two years, or five years, this is your health, your well being, your life! Invest in it, keep working at it no matter what. Educate yourself about correct nutrition and exercise … You will be AMAZED. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to achieve it. That time will pass anyway.
7. All supplements are a waste of time and money.
I would say this probably applies to most supplements on the market right now. They are marketed very well so mostly quite convincing, and I’m not going to name any brands, but there are a few that are beneficial. The best advice I could give you is to stick to the basics. Don’t go for the all-in-one type products, they’re supposed to make it easier for you but you’re better off actually learning about the different types of supplements you get and which ones will work for your goals. Then with that knowledge you can make much better choices. The basics I would always recommend is: a good multivitamin (there just aren’t enough vitamins in our food sources any more), a fat supplement (omegas and fish oils), L-Glutamine (for the immune system), an extra vitamin D3 supplement (for healthy bones, especially if you don’t get enough sunlight), and of course a clean whey protein. Avoid the kinds with flavours, they are full of bad ingredients. Those are the basics. I would NEVER recommend any kind of fat burner EVER. Don’t do it. Don’t … Don’t. I know what you’re thinking, … don’t. Don’t be desperate, do it well, do it clean, take your time and make it happen naturally.
8. Exercise will fix any bad diet habits.
Quit fooling yourself. Nutrition is first, exercise comes second, then comes rest. Without those three you’ll never reach your potential. Sorry, that might sound harsh but it’s the absolute truth. Exercise is not an excuse to eat and drink what you want, perhaps you’ll manage to keep the fat level low, but your health will go down the toilet instead. Nothing wrong with using exercise to maintain a certain lifestyle, but everything in moderation I say.
9. Turn fat into muscle.
Hahahahahaha! No. Biologically impossible. Unless you’re the Son of God and can turn water into wine, No. When you read somewhere that you can ‘turn your fat into muscle’, essentially what they are saying is that you can lose body fat and then grow muscle mass. Not literally turn fat into muscle. Muscle also does not turn into fat, no. Muscle may become less firm from lack of exercise, but it will NEVER turn into fat. Savvy?
10. Squats give you a massive butt.
I don’t even know where these things come from! Really??!! You’ll think of any excuse not to do anything difficult! Squats DO NOT make your butt huge. Eating too much food makes your butt huge. Squats will lift your ass off the floor and give it life! The false conception of the majority is that if I lose all the fat then I’m going to have a nice tight and shapely body. Wrong. Your muscles need to be challenged for them to get the look you have in mind. That’s why some people just seem to keep trying to lose more and more fat, because they think that it is fat that is making them look limp and soft. Keep an eye on your fat levels, have them measured occasionally, but don’t mistake that for an un-firm bum, and don’t be scared to do squats, you will eventually learn it is the only way to get back your shape.