Top 9 Myths and Misconceptions in Fitness
- Muscles don’t actually turn into fat as they are very different body tissues and it is not physically possible from one to change into the other.
- However, if you stop exercising, your muscles mass will reduce.
- A reduction in activity, and a reduced muscle mass, which means a reduction in your metabolic rate, which can lead to weight gain and fat storage.
- If you stop exercising and continue to eat the same amount you will put on fat. Simple science.
2. Muscle weighs more than fat
- This is not true. 1g of fat and 1g of muscle both weigh 1g! It is just that muscle is denser. Many women freak out as they actually put on weight when they start doing exercise as their muscle mass increases, their bone density increases and their body starts to produce more blood. All of this is positive as your body is becoming strong and more efficient. (This is why number 3 is also a myth). Once you have a base layer of muscle your metabolism will increase and you will start to burn more calories even when not exercising.
3. Weighing yourself is the best way to measure your progress
- Why do we really care how much we weigh? I take my clients weight measurements as it is always important to them, but the best way to see progress is from your body circumference measurements. Wouldn’t you prefer to lose inches from your waist and hips and physically see the difference in your body shape than be able to say how many kgs you have lost. As stated in point number 2, at the beginning you may actually start to weigh a little more, but you need to muscle mass to help burn the calories. In the long run you will weigh less but this is not always the best method to judge your efforts.
4. Sweating = Fat loss
- It is sometimes perceived that the more you sweat the more calories you are burning or even the more unfit you are. Both of these facts are false. Sweating is just your body’s way of regulating your temperature. If you do sweat a lot during exercise make sure you drink a lot of water afterwards to replace the water lost and prevent dehydration.
5. Spot reduction
- Unfortunately this is not true! If you do a lot of exercise for one part of your body you will not lose fat specifically from this area. The majority of women want to lose weight from their waist and hips and men from their bellies, but to lose fat we just need to do a mix of resistance and cardio training plus eating right. No short cuts unfortunately!
6. You will bulk up with resistance training
- If you pick up a men’s magazine it is full of articles on how to bulk up. This does not just happen overnight, it takes a lot of specific work and a strict high protein diet to build large muscles. You would need to constantly tax and fatigue your muscles, while spending many hours in the gym focusing on this goal. This is one of the biggest fears of women when they start weight training, but unless you have high levels of testosterone streaming through your body, which we don’t, this will not happen! So there is no way to accidently bulk up.
7. You have to count calories for weight loss
- There are so many horrible diets out there. It doesn’t need to be as exhausting and mundane as counting calories. As soon as you start to count the exact amount you are eating you will start to crave things you can’t have. Just eat sensibly, which means
- Eating natural foods from scratch such as fruit, veg and QUALITY meat.
- Don’t eat processed food. If it has been altered by man then its not as good for you.
- Low GI foods (see the newsletter from 2 weeks ago)
- Drink plenty of water
- Cut out fizzy drinks
- Do regular exercise
8. Cardio is the most important exercise for fat loss
No No No! You will see so many people in gym week after week pounding the treadmill, then moving onto the cross trainer and finishing off on the bike and never seeing them look or perform differently. This is because excessive cardio will strip muscle and body fat. This is definitely not the most efficient method to lose body fat. Once you begin stripping muscle tissue, your body becomes less efficient at burning body fat. Muscle is metabolically active, which simply means it stimulates the metabolism.
- For each pound of muscle you put on your body, you will burn up to 50 additional calories per day. If you strip muscle tissue, all you accomplish is sabotaging your efforts to efficiently reduce body fat. The benefits of resistance training are huge when it comes to fat loss.
9. You can get a 6 pack from doing loads of sit ups
- No matter how many sit ups you do in a day you will not get a 6 pack if you have a layer of fat covering the muscles! Plus, just doing sit ups will not strengthen and build all your core muscles, remember your abdominals only make up one of the muscles in the three layers of the core muscles. Last week I sent out a document on core strength which contained various core exercises that can be done at home. You need variety in your workout to build and push your muscles to develop.