Health and wellness has become a very popular topic these days. While it is incredible to see so many people having interest in improving their well-being, it unfortunately has caused a lot of mixed information out there about fitness and how to achieve optimal results. Here are five fitness myths to stop believing immediately!
Myth #1: Lifting weights makes women bulky.
Truth: Factors like hormones and diet play a significant role in muscle gain, prohibiting women from putting on the same type of muscle mass that a man does.
A healthy male on average produces twenty times the amount of testosterone as a female. In adults androgynous effects of testosterone increase protein synthesis, stimulating muscle growth, and also increases the number of fat-burning beta-adrenergic receptors. In short, this can make it relatively easier for a man to put on muscle and lose fat at a quicker rate when diet and exercise are optimal.
Additionally, to actually gain muscle at a rapid rate or “bulk up”, your diet would have to be at an extreme caloric surplus. According to the World Health Organization, based on several factors such as height, build and activity level, the average 30 year old women is burning approximately 2,186 calories a day. An extreme surplus would look like 3,000-3,500+ calories a day, as opposed to the recommended diet that is typically between 1,600-2,000 calories a day.
Myth #2 Crunches are the best way to get abs.
Truth: Working out your transversus abdominis is much more important than working superficial muscles like the rectus abdominis. This makes your waist smaller, your tummy tighter, and your back stronger.
Poor crunch form leads to:
- Back pain.
- Bulged discs.
Safer and more effect
Three exercises for getting killer abs:
- Farmers carries
- Bird dogs
Myth #3 Steady state cardio is the only way to burn fat.
Truth: High intensity interval training is just as effective as steady state cardio. In fact, many people would argue that it is more effective.
While steady state cardio is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, studies have shown that its effects on fat loss are minimal. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, has been shown to be more beneficial for producing fat loss results per unit of time. Although the times may vary from person to person, HIIT cardio consists of high intensity, all out exercise for one minute followed by a slower paced exercise from 20 seconds to one minute. This process is repeated for 20 to 30 minutes.
Myth #4 The heavier you lift, the better the workout you are getting.
Truth: Lifting heavy with improper form will cause far more problems than benefits. Lifting with light weights to learn proper movement patterns has endless benefits including:
- Increases metabolic stress in the muscle cell.
- Increases the ability of the muscle cell to buffer acid allowing you to train longer.
- Allows you to have greater time under mechanical tension.
- Prevents injuries and allows for motor learning.
Myth #5 Weight lifting turns fat into muscle.
Truth: Weight lifting builds muscle, increasing your metabolic rate, which in turn burns fat.
Fat turning into anything other than fat is just plain silly! Fat is liberated in our bodies for its high energy content. Fat is arguably the main energy source of the body, so the best way to get rid of stored fat is to use more energy. Of course lifting weights and cardio are great ways to burn a few hundred calories, but the bulk of our caloric output is from everyday movements and activities, and keeping your body in homeostasis. Your metabolic rate is how many calories your body burns just to have enough energy to get through the day. Studies have shown that by increasing your muscle mass, you also speed up your metabolism causing you to burn more fat.
Clearly there is a lot of misleading information out there and although we were able to bust these five myths, there are countless more out there. Some things you can do to make sure you are getting the most accurate information are:
- Check the information you are getting through multiple sources. See if other studies or trusted individuals in your life are giving similar information and that it isn’t coming strictly from one source.
- Check the sources of the articles and books you read, as well as the people you talk to. All articles should include references as studies, books, etc. indicating from where they got their information. Be weary if it all seems to be coming from their opinion alone.
- Ask the experts! Checking with your trainer or nutritionist about new information you see, especially if you are considering making changes to your diet or exercise regimen because of it. Often times the latest fads are repeat trends of the past so there is research they might already be privy to. For example, the keto diet and atkins diet are very close is principles.
It is always encouraged to expand your knowledge and to work towards being the healthiest you! Just be sure to do it wisely!