Health & Fitness Myths…….And Why They Are Damaging You.
In today’s information laden World it is difficult to know what is the truth, and what is not (or is it!!!)
This certainly applies to the fitness world where guess work and unsubstantiated claims are common place.
The irony is that there are even people spreading harmful fitness myths encouraging people to avoid working out!!
The general idea these myths are advancing is that exercise is harmful, or at the very least, not worth the effort.
Most of these myths are crazily ridiculous; but can be quite damaging to those who believe them!
Below I am going to review some of these ‘myths’ and provide my own take on them.
Weight/Fat Loss is not assisted by exercise:
This myth is so surprising considering the vast amount of research which has been conducted in this area.
The research conclusively shows how exercise helps improve weight loss.
Actually, there is a strong correlation between exercise and weight loss.
However, the myth continues!
Nobody can say that exercise by itself can help in weight loss, but it helps a great deal in combination with other factors.
Researchers have consistently proven that exercise promotes the burning of calories.
This means that workouts make the excess fat melt away faster due to the increased energy demands they cause, and this leads to weight loss.
Exercise also helps build muscle, and muscles consume more energy even during rest.
This boost in metabolism can make a big impact to anyone trying to lose excess weight or fat!
The Best way to Lose Weight is through Exercise:
Confused! Didn’t I just say that exercise promotes weight loss???
That may be so, but exercise is not the best way to lose exercise as some people believe.
These people assume that they can eat whatever they like and stay fit because they will work it all off in the gym.
However, an exercise scientist at the University of Texas says that healthy and proper diet plays the much greater role in weight loss.
For example, a low-carb diet will help you lose weight in a couple of weeks.
Exercise has lots of health benefits, no one can dispute that; and weight loss happens to be one of them.
However, physical workout does not play the biggest role in weight loss, diet does.
And that is what weight watchers need to consider the most as they try to shed the pounds!!
This is an very damaging myth that has been proven wrong by numerous studies indicating that exercise at this age is actually even more beneficial than ever.
As well as promoting cardiac health and general fitness, exercise in old people helps stave off age-related chronic illnesses including memory loss!
Women shouldn’t weight train:
The crazy untruth that weight training is the reserve of men alone is unfortunately still believed by some!!
The thinking behind it being women don’t produce much testosterone, and therefore don’t stand to benefit with muscle growth from weight training like men do.
Not that many of them would want them anyway!!
However, this is a fallacy. Weight training still offers several body-related benefits for a woman.
For example, a woman can get a firm, tight and round rear by working out her glute muscles with weight exercises such as the “Barbell Glute Bridge”, the “Barbell Hip Thrust” or squats!
Additionally, weight training offers health benefits as the muscles can still get stronger, if not bigger, and this usually comes with added health benefits like improved metabolism and better bone strength.
The longer the workout the better:
This is bad news for fitness buffs who pride themselves on spending hour upon hour ‘beasting’ it in the gym.
Studies tell us that working out too much can lead to over-training, and this can harm the body since muscles are not given enough time to properly recover from the previous workout session.
Gym workouts should last around 45 minutes with a very good exercise plan with regard to muscle groups, sets and repetitions.
Having sufficient between workouts is also very important.
Constant physical exertion tends to be counterproductive.
The body needs several hours to recover after a workout.
So, working out for longer can cause damage, and not the desired results the extra work might deserve.
Don’t run! It makes you look older:
This is a funny one….
Apparently, plodding the ground for several hours can do a lot of damage to your skin’s elasticity, giving you a “runner’s face.”
The myth has had quite some traction in the UK and the US, mostly because cosmetic surgeons helped promote it!!!
The truth is that there is no evidence that running could damage facial laxity.
Running without skin protection from the sun could certainly compromise the health of your skin, but running by itself cannot make you look older!
Carbs are bad for you:
Numerous people actually believe carbs are very bad for their health; and also ruin their chances of staying fit through workouts.
However, the truth is that the body needs carbs during intense workouts. Even if you are fat, the fat is not going to help at these times, but carbs will.
That is just the way the body works.
And yet, some people go to the extremes of completely eliminating carbs from their diets so that they lose fat faster when working out.
This is dangerous since carbs are needed for many activities in the body, including normal brain function.
The more you sweat, the more calories you are burning:
Some fitness enthusiasts consider sweat to be the ultimate measure of how many calories they have burnt!
This is simply incorrect!
Sweating simply means that you are in a hot environment and the body has done what it has to in order to cool itself down.
Even sitting in a hot car will get you drenched in sweat, and that does not mean you have burned a significant amount of calories!!
Sure, exercise can cause you to break a sweat, but that in itself is a not a good way to determine how many calories your gym session has helped you shed.
Caffeine is bad:
The reason this myth exists is partly the fault of many caffeine consumers – they take way, way too much of it!
As many studies have shown, moderate doses of caffeine can actually be quite beneficial to the body.
Adequate caffeine can even improve performance and improve some important body functions.
Over-consumption, however, of which many people are guilty, can make caffeine have detrimental effects!
Don’t expect any muscle gain if you are already over 40:
After the age of 40, muscle degeneration usually sets in. Numerous studies back up this fact.
For this reason, some believe that muscle gain becomes an impossibility after this chronological milestone.
But this is not the case. Sure, building muscle will be a little more challenging at this age, but it is still doable.
But while at it, it is also important to check with a medical professional in case any hormonal deficiencies have set in so that supplementation can be used to get things back on track and help you build muscle a bit faster!
A good workout should make you sore the next day:
Some workout enthusiasts consider a workout to be a complete waste if it does not make them wake up sore the next morning.
Soreness is simply inflammation brought about by certain chemicals in the body, it is not an indication that your muscles are growing.
There are people who have gone for months without soreness and yet continue to pack on muscle.
Instead of soreness, you can use other measures of progress in your fitness journey.
For instance, you can measure your heart rate, the size of the weights you can lift, and so forth.
Soreness is as poor a measure of workout success as sweating, as we saw earlier.
So, don’t let the soreness myth lead you to think you are not doing enough in the gym and end up seeing no point in continuing to pursue your fitness journey.
Any questions, fire them over.
Ian ‘Myth Killer’ Worthington
Creator, Owner and Coach at GymWolfPT