When you spend a bit of time in gyms or listen to people trying to lose weight, you end up hearing countless things that are just ridiculous. I have empathy and it doesn’t surprise me that so many people never achieve their goal when they don’t know what to believe…
Here are 28 “myths” and lies that plague the fitness industry and often derail people achieving results…
1. Not eating carbs after 7/8pm.
To think that after a certain point in the day that your body turns any carbohydrate eaten into fat is just simply not true. If anything there are benefits to eating carbohydrates later in the day.
2. “Bread makes you fat”.
Bread does not make you fat. No food is capable of that. You gain weight (or don’t lose it) because you over-consume CALORIES, not one single food. Yes it is easy to over-consume, but so are sweets, chocolate and other similar foods.
3. “You’re allowed a cheat day”.
Nobody is going to stop you having a “cheat day”, but just remember those calories count too. Many people wipe out a whole weeks’ worth of progress in 1 day or 1 weekend with a binge. Your body doesn’t know it’s cheat day, it knows how many calories you consume. It will not "give your metabolism a boost".
4. “Do high reps for toning”.
The “toned” look comes from having low levels of body fat. The muscle you’re wanting to see is already there, it is just covered with body fat. Doing high reps of exercises isn’t going to push that muscle through the fat. Lose the fat first.
5. Drinking “sports drinks” in the gym.
Sports drinks are designed for athletes who are in long-duration events and need a top-up in carbohydrates to keep their performance high. Going to the gym is not included in this. Let your body use your fat stores.
6. Doing sit ups to get a six pack.
In a very similar way to “high reps for toning” being nonsense, this is too. Abdominal muscles will only become visible when your body fat reaches a low level, which isn’t achieved by doing sit-ups.
When you take fruit and vegetables and juice them you are removing the fiber and drinking what’s left, which is the water and the sugars they contain. You are removing the part which helps digest the ingredients slowly. Blending into a smoothie is far more nutritious than juicing as it will retain more anti-oxidants.
8. Detoxing / Cleansing.
You were born with kidneys and a liver which do this job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from birth to death. Save your money, no magic juice is going to do this for you, detoxes and cleanses are one of the biggest fads and misconceptions you will come across.
9. Being overweight runs in the family.
No, it doesn’t, it’s an excuse used for making poor food choices and not taking responsibility for it.
10. Getting weighed after the gym.
There is absolutely no point in getting weighed after a gym session. Your body will be full of water (hopefully) and to expect a drop in weight to be attributed to losing fat after one session is a little short-sighted. You're not likely to burn ~3500 calories in one session.
11. Fasted cardio.
There is this belief (started by bodybuilders), that doing cardio first thing in a morning before you have eaten will burn more fat due to not having other energy available. Your muscles will have glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in them which will be used. On the flip side, if you feel better for doing it, then it’s worth it.
12. “The more you sweat the more fat you lose”.
I am not sure where to start with this one, except sweating and fat-burning are in no way related to one-another. Some people sweat a lot, some people don’t, it has zero impact on fat-burning. Sweating is the body attempting to cool itself down.
13. “Protein is bad for your kidneys”.
There is absolutely no evidence for this. There are a lot of athletes and sportsmen/women who consume high levels of protein to help with their training who live incredibly healthy lives.
14. “Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar”.
Sugar is sugar regardless of whether it is white, brown, muscovado or any other names it may be given. This goes for honey and syrup too. Neither version is healthy or healthier than another.
15. “Going gluten-free makes you lose weight”.
Just because the gluten has been removed it often makes no odds to the calorie-count of the food. A 400 calorie piece of cake is a 400 calorie piece of cake regardless of whether it contains gluten or not. You may feel better for going gluten-free, but it does not mean you’ll lose weight.
16. “Margarine is healthier than butter”.
Another from the 70’s when people thought fat was bad for you. Margarine has had several processed oils added to it to make it last longer and make it spreadable. Butter is the real deal, completely natural and of no detriment to your health.
17. “You have to cut carbs to lose weight”.
Carbs are not the devil, in fact they're your bodies preferred energy source. People often remove carbs from their diet, however, this is because it’s a lot healthier than removing Protein or Fat, not because Carbs are “fattening”. The issue lies with foods that are very palatable such as cakes and biscuits, it's not the Carbohydrate that is an issue, it's the amount you consume.
18. “The best time to work out is.…”
There is no advantage to training at a certain time, only when is the best for you. You don’t produce better results by training in a morning or evening. You burn the same amount of calories whether it is 7 am or 7 pm. Train when you can and when you feel best.
19. “Lifting weights will turn fat into muscle”.
You can use fat as fuel, and build muscle from training, but they happen independently. The fat does not “transform” into muscle tissue.
20. “If you stop training the muscle turns in to fat”.
Just like the above, the opposite is false also. You may lose muscle (“use it or lose it”) and you may gain fat, but one does not turn into another.
21. Eggs are bad because they’re full of fat and cholesterol.
This was thought to be true in the 70’s and 80’s, but it’s been found out to be completely false. Foods with natural fats in are completely healthy and beneficial.
22. Spot reduction (targeting an area of fat).
You often hear people wanting to target areas of fat, like their love handles or their stomach. In the same way that you don’t get to choose where the fat goes when you gain weight, you don’t get to choose when you lose it either. This comes down to genetics and hormones. If you have a problem area you must just keep going.
23. “Lifting weights makes women bulky”.
Men gain muscle easier due to higher testosterone and growth hormone levels. Women have approximately 10% of these hormones so don’t gain muscle as easy. This shouldn’t put women off lifting weights.
24. Vibration plates.
The single most ridiculous piece of equipment I have ever come across. There is more chance of you chipping a tooth than “toning” your muscles or losing fat.
25. Fat-burning foods.
There is no single food that “burns fat”, just like there’s no single food that makes you gain fat. If it was as simple as eating some “fat burning foods” the 60% of the country that are overweight would be walking around eating them.
26. “Eat small meals regularly to speed up your metabolism”.
If you eat 1800 calories, it makes no difference whether you eat 6x 300 calorie meals or 3x 600 calorie meals. It’s the total that counts. There is no evidence that spreading them out into smaller meals burns more calories. If you feel fuller for eating more regularly, then great.
27. “You must eat breakfast to switch on your metabolism”.
As is the case with other myths, it’s not when you eat but what and how much. Many successful clients have skipped breakfast and people have deferred their calories until later in the day.
28. Weight-loss supplements.
There is no supplement on the market that can help you lose weight. Many will claim they contain a magic ingredient that will aid fat-loss, however, none are backed by evidence and if it was true many big corporations would be mass-selling them.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d pull a stupid face and someone would say “if the wind changes you’ll stay that way”?
Some of the above are just as ridiculous yet people blindly believe them.
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