Whenever I click on an article that’s attempting to debunk weight loss or exercise myths I skim through it and think, “Tell me something I didn’t already know.” Many of these myths are common knowledge because they’ve been written about over and over.
For example, did you know that it’s a myth that if you’re a woman and lift weights you’ll bulk up like a man? How about that doing 100 crunches a day isn’t the secret to flat abs or that a steady state cardio workout isn’t the best way to burn the most calories?
Yes. We know.
Yet, there are plenty of untruths that circulate in the world of diet and fitness that no one seems to care much about. Many of these myths are being perpetuated – some even endorsed – by fitness and weight loss experts.
Here are the five myths that I wish people were talking about.
1. You Can Get The Body You Want – Usually this myth is accompanied by six or seven tips that tell you what you need to do to get your dream body. (Google it. You’ll see what I mean.) Then the secrets to getting the body you want are things like drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, and move more. While these are good for your health, they won’t give the body you want.
LOTS of hard work in the gym and getting ridiculously strict about what you eat is what will give you that body. Now add to that the role that genetics plays in your physiological make up. Getting the body you want might not just be unrealistic. It might be impossible. It’s unfair to tell people they can have the body they want by making a few simple changes. The picture (above) is from Pinterest. It is on a page full of hard-core bodies with captions that say “get the body you want without giving up the foods you like”. That’s more than a myth. It’s a lie.
2. I Can Undo What I Ate With Exercise –The fitness phone apps and trackers are fueling this myth. They let you put in and subtract calories based on what you’re eating and how much you’re burning through exercise. Unfortunately, no tracking mechanism that you wear on your belt can tell you how many calories you’ve burned during an hour of interval training, Zumba or other physical activity.
Your metabolism and the way you burn calories is as individual as your fingerprint. Even the best tracker can only give you an estimate of how many calories you’ve burned based on your age and weight. That will get you in trouble with the scale if its guess is too high.
3. Drinking A Lot Of Water Will Help You Lose Weight – Drinking a lot of water is good. Water helps every organ in the body function properly. Staying hydrated keeps us cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and can prevent chronic low-level fatigue. However, to date, there is not one scientific study that shows that drinking a lot of water leads to weight loss.
If you replace the high calorie beverages you typically drink in a day (sweet tea, soda, energy drinks and fruit juices) with water, that will help you lose weight.
4. Jumpstart Your Weight Loss With A Diet Cleanse – We have Dr. Oz and Oprah to thank for perpetuating this myth. Both have promoted detoxing and cleanses as a way to kick off a weight loss program. Most physicians and nutritionist will tell you that there is no need to spend money on detox products.
Not only do you lose a lot of precious vitamins and minerals when you undergo an extended detox, but the weight that you lose is almost all water and will come back once you start eating again. The human body is a wonderful, complex system that has its own built in detoxification system that isn’t enhanced by modern day fasting and cleansing systems.
5. The Myth that Isn’t A Myth: No Pain, No Gain – A writer for Philly.com writes, “No Pain. No Gain. Whoever came up with this horrific adage deserves to be punched square in their six-pack, oiled up gut”. (The best thing about this article is the picture of the shirtless, ripped guy getting ready to do a bench press that I am absolutely certain has endured some pain in order to look that way.) She goes on to say the idea that someone has to endure pain in order to benefit from exercise is wrong because it demotivates people. I get that, but there is some truth to the no pain, no gain adage.
People that haven’t exercised for a long time are going to experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness [pain]) when they get started. Those of us that work out on a regular basis experience pain when we do something different, new or more difficult. Not down on our knees, excruciating, debilitating pain but there’s definitely some ouchiness that makes us aware that we’ve done something we’re not used to. It’s not a bad thing. It’s part of getting and staying in good shape like the guy in the picture is. We’re lying to people if we tell them otherwise
These are just a few of my myth pet peeves. What fitness myths bug you?
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