Have you ever watched MythBusters on the Discovery Channel?
I loved that show. What a cool concept. Watching a rerun the other night got me thinking about what fitness myths are still floating around in the world, ready to be tested and waiting to be busted.
The health and wellness industry is growing exponentially. Since the early 80’s people have started becoming obsessed with getting fit. Since then we’ve learned so much more about how the body responds to physical activity. There is a ton of helpful information out there, but have we let go of the information that isn’t so helpful?
Now I’ve got to admit that I have fallen victim to some of these fitness myths. I want to make sure that you’re making the best choices and seeing the best results when you workout. Let’s bust these 5 fitness myths.
Myth #1: If I go to the gym I will lose weight.
Most people head to the gym with too vague of a goal. If your goal happens to be, "I want to lose weight," get specific. You need to tailor your goal to you. An example of a stronger goal is “I’m 180 lbs. I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months.” From there, you have a solid idea of what to expect. This is a measurable, time specific goal.
Here’s another example. "My body fat is 29%. I want to loose 5% body fat by May 31st. “
Side note: It’s hard to know how to develop a specific goal if you don’t know where you stand today. That’s what trained fitness professionals are for. Get a coach who can help keep you on track.
Myth #2: If I go to the gym tomorrow, I can eat ice cream tonight.
Technically, working out can offset our indulgences, but this mindset only leads to disappointment. You might say to yourself, "it's okay to drink this 34oz beer, as long as I make it to the gym tomorrow." Your body doesn't work that fast. I definitely fell victim to this mindset. After a fun weekend of cookie cake, I thought I'd be able to make up for it by working out even harder come Monday. False. I've learned now how important it is to understand the purpose of physical fitness. That cookie cake shouldn't be the reason you head to the gym. Getting slimmer, gaining muscle mass and looking good is the by-product of the real reason why you just should be going to the gym.
It should be an overall lifestyle goal of getting healthier, prolonging your life and keeping your body healthy and your mind happy.
Myth #3: The gym is only place to burn calories.
Another big fitness mistake is the idea that unless you are at the gym, you can't progress in your health goals. Actually, by incorporating small changes into your daily routine, you can drastically improve your metabolism, weight, and physical health.
For example, if you’re working a 9-5 desk job, try taking regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around. Better yet, get rid of your desk chair, and stand! Just by standing up, you can burn so many more calories.
Plus, at-home workouts can be ideal for a busy person. There are a ton of bodyweight workouts that you can find online, in books, and on blogs like this one. If the gym isn't your thing, no worries. Find what works for you and stick with it.
Myth #4: A good workout is a comfortable workout
Don’t get me wrong. Getting up and moving is a great start. Exercising in any form is better than not exercising at all. I find that some people are going to the gym only to get a mediocre workout in.
Remember, the idea is to get the most out of your time and not to settle for a mediocre workout. Keep the intensity up. Now, be honest. On a scale from 1 to 10, rate your last workout...
Most often, your workout intensity is really around a 4 or 5. Push yourself to get that intensity way up to 10. A high intensity workout doesn’t necessarily mean a fast-paced or a super aggressive workout. But you should definitely be breaking a sweat every time you lace up. Walking around the block one time isn't going to cut it.
Myth # 5: I'll get bulky if I lift weights.
Here’s the thing: strength training doesn’t equal bulking up. In fact, for women, because you have less testosterone in your bodies, you won’t gain massive muscle size like a man does. Unless of course that’s your goal, in which case, I recommend doing some serious research on how to achieve that look.
In terms of how heavy the weight should be and how many repetitions you should perform, there are some general rules that are universally excepted. For a leaner look, you should be performing higher repetitions with lighter weights. Aim for about 15 reps. To gain size and mass, lift heavy weight for less reps.
Here’s what I really think.
You should be lifting heavier. Like I said, don’t be afraid of bulking up. The truth is, when you have more muscle, you burn more calories. This is because your metabolism is increased while your body maintains muscle, rather than fat. Gaining muscle has the potential to burn fat.
Now that we've uncovered the truth... you’re next step is to find a place to start. Avoid these fitness myths. Identify what your specific fitness goal is. Get help from a coach or trainer to stay on track. Don’t be afraid of getting bulky. To make a true body transformation start lifting heavier. And finally, adjust your mindset to understand that health and wellness comes from a lifestyle change, and its not just about going to the gym.
Are you guilty of following any of these fitness myths? I definitely was. Let me know in the comments below. And help me bust these myths by sharing this article with your friends and family. Myths...Busted.