Nowadays, there’s always someone selling a diet that ‘works’, skinny teas that will help you lose massive weight and so on. If you are female and want to dive into strength training, you will hear repeated choruses about how lifting weights will make you bulky; that you will practically turn into the incredible hulk should you attempt to lift any weights heavier than the lovely pink and purple dumbells designed for ladies. If your knowledge is limited, you will spend your life believing these common fitness myths.
We will debunk the common fitness misconceptions here so that next time, you can tell that co-worker who wants to do a detox program before she embarks on her weight loss journey, to just STOP. You will be able to also understand that spending endless hours on the treadmill or looking for ways to lose belly fat only is a complete waste of time after we separate fitness facts from fitness myths.
COMMON FITNESS MYTHS DEBUNKED
Fitness Myth #1 You Need to Go on a Restricted Diet to Lose Weight
FITNESS FACT: You do not need to go on a miserable diet to lose weight. Diets fail and most of them are built on short-term goals. If your goal is to lose weight and permanently keep it off, you need to change your lifestyle not go on a 6 weeks diet that tells you to eat this and not that.
You need a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. That means that the calories that you consume must be less than the calories you consume. It is simple Mathematics when it comes to weight loss.
Yes, it is possible that you will lose weight when you go on a restricted diet but the question is how long will you stay on it and be able to keep the lost weight off? Rather take the healthy lifestyle route. Make lifestyle changes that will easily fit into your day to day life, this way, chances of binging and gaining all the weight back are lowered compared to when you go on a restricted diet.
Make healthy nutrition choices, have cheat (reward) meals once in a while if you have to but stay away from diets if you do not want to fail over and over again.
Fitness Myth #2 Lifting Weights Will Make a Woman Bulky
I can’t count how many times I have had this said to me. The latest was when a dude in the gym decided to offer unsolicited advice by telling me to stop lifting heavy weights because I was going to start looking like a man. I wanted to hit him on the head with a dumbbell!
FITNESS FACT: Lifting weights will not huge and gross a woman make. Women who are ‘bulky’, look that way because they have particularly trained for that kind of physique.
Lifting a 10kg dumbbell to train your arms will not make a woman look like a man, nor will squatting a 100kg.
Building noticeable muscle takes significant effort and time (years) and specific nutrition. If you lift heavy enough as a woman, you will simply achieve a look that you thought you would achieve by lifting those tiny pink dumbells. In other words, you will be ‘toned’.
Bret Contreras’ has done studies and written a very informative book (also includes training plans)about what women will ultimately achieve when they lift weights.
“To quote the study by Staron et al., significant increases in maximal isotonic strength (1RM) were observed over a 20-week weight training program for the lower extremity with no change in thigh girth. So, if women train naturally without steroid hormones, it is highly unlikely they will turn into Ms Olympia. In a groundbreaking paper published in the NSCA Journal, multiple studies have cited that weight training in women causes “a reduction in fat weight, an increase in lean weight and either no change or only a slight increase in total body weight.” This is elaborated in the article that Rochelle Louw, a Biokenist at the University of Pretoria, wrote for Fitness Chat. Click here to read the article on why women should lift weights.
Fitness Myth #3 You Can Reduce Fat in a Specific Area
This is one of the common fitness myths that is believed by millions. People want flat tummies and so they are always asking for ways to lose belly fat and only belly fat.
FITNESS FACT: You cannot spot-reduce fat. Training a specific area will not reduce fat in that place. Your body is by no means wired that way. You will have to lose overall body fat because it is YOUR BODY that decides where you lose the fat first, NOT YOU.
You can do all the crunches in the world in order to get abs, or even endless triceps dips to get rid of bat wings, but the fat in those areas will not budge until you start training all your muscles in full and also sort your nutrition out by eating in a deficit.
Fitness Myth #4 You Can Lift Light Weights and Get Toned
FITNESS FACT: First of all, there is no such thing as toning. Muscles do not ‘tone’. They are either strong or are weak and they do not go from saggy to firm and vice versa.
The toning that people speak of is just the increase of muscle tissue while at the same time, having low enough body fat such that the muscles become quite visible.
If you have been on a mission to get toned, I would like to ask you to take a look at Michael Matthews’ book, Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body. It will answer all your toning, sculpting questions and even teach you how you can achieve that look.
An increase in muscle tissue results from strength training. Performing a million reps with light weights day in and day out will really not get you that ‘toned’ look. Lift heavy weights effectively and again get your nutrition in order.
Fitness Myths #5 You Need to Detox to Lose Weight
This fitness myth is the one that has suddenly taken the health industry by storm.
FITNESS FACT: If your body had the number of toxins that would warrant a detox, you probably would be dead before you said the word detox. Detoxing is as real as a unicorn.
You do not need to cleanse your system with smoothies, juices or detox teas. A healthy pair of kidneys is in charge of that function. Desi Horsman, a nutritionist, speaker and wellness expert, wrote an article for Fitness Chat explaining why you don’t need to detox to lose weight.