Look, there is some dodgy advice floating around the internet about certain aspects of the fitness world and while it would be nice for some of them to be true, it just isn't how life works. So, I'vee found the most common misconceptions people have AND I've researched all the information to prove that they just aren't right and could be hindering your health and fitness journey.
- You didn't train hard enough if you are not sore post-workout.
Once you cool down and leave the gym (or your lounge room) the level of tired and sore that your muscles are, does not indicate how successful your training session was. Your body will gradually adapt to the workload that it is given, your muscles will get stronger and what was once felt like a heavyweight will begin to feel like a feather. You can always progress and start picking up heavier weights to challenge and grow your muscles but sticking to the same weights can also be effective.
- Cardio is the best way to lose weight
Cardio is good, it's necessary for heart health and if you really enjoy cardio it can, of course, be a part of your training routine. But if you don't enjoy cardio than simple, don't do it. Don't do a form of exercise that you truly don't love because you think you need too. Muscle burns more calories than any other tissue we have in our bodies, breaking down those muscles with the weights also means that more energy is being required in order to repair them. More muscle equals a faster metabolism.
- Lifting weights will make you bulky
It is time to stop being afraid of lifting any wights over three kilos- girls I see you. You think weight lifting and you think of those incredible muscley bodybuilders.. that will not happen to you unless you want it too. The figure of a bodybuilder has taken years to reach and has not just come about simply by lifting weights, it takes dedication, a rigorous schedule and a strict diet. Lifting weights will make you stronger, not necessarily bigger.
- You have to spend hours in the gym every week.
Wrong. Some people think you need to spend at least an hour every day in the gym to reach your goals, that is simply not the case at all. Exercise is all about quality over quantity, there is more use in doing properly executed squats than in doing 20 with poor form, and no activation. If you want to spend as little time working out as possible then you need focus on the big compound movements that require you to use maximum effort, I'm talking squats, deadlifts, shoulder press, plank ect.
- Exercising fasted will burn more calories.
There is absolutely no proof to back this one up. In fact, most people will find they have a worse training session on an empty stomach- your body needs that fuel to power on. If you go hard on an empty stomach you can finish your session with some light-headedness and dizziness. It is ideal to eat around 45-60 minutes before working out so your food can be digested and provide you with that fuel to build muscle and burn calories.
- You can spot reduce.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions ever in fitness. Many people are under the impression that simply by strengthening and working a certain muscle the fat surrounding that muscle will decrease. Unfortunately, there is no way to pick and choose where you lose stored fat from, that all comes down to your genetic makeup. The one and the only way to lose the stored fat is to reduce your caloric intake, to be using more energy than you are consuming. Haven't you heard the 80:20 rule? It is 80% of the food (and how much of it) you are putting in your body and 20% about training.
I hope this has debunked some of the myths you may have believed surrounding your health and fitness journey. Don't feel bad for believing them, there was once a time that I refused to pick up weight because there was no way I wanted to look bulky. There was also once a time that I would spend at least an hour on the treadmill every day. It is all about educating yourself and training smarter, not harder.