In these times of endless amounts of information at your fingertips, you would think these fitness myths would have been debunked already. For some reason they still exist but I’m here to help.
I’ll cover the 3 most common fitness myths I come across when dealing with my clients. After almost a decade in the fitness industry I’ve seen many people waste their time following bad or outdated information. I must share these to prevent you from wasting any of your time.
Lifting weights makes you bulky:
False. There is a fear in some people I’ve trained that if they lift heavy weights they will miraculously turn into Arnold and now have to tear their sleeves off just to fit into their shirt. This is primarily a concern women have, most guys wouldn’t mind bigger arms with bulging veins. If you’ve ever seen a woman with scary amounts of muscle, odds are that is not natural. Here’s what really happens when you lift heavier weights.
Burn more body fat
Build bone strength
Lose more belly fat compared to cardio
Just those four points should have you reaching for heavier weights next time you train. I’m sure you’re asking yourself – Lose more belly fat? Yup. More than sit-ups and running? Hell yeah!
A University of Alabama study found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio.
Cardio is the best way to lose body fat:
False. Let me define what I mean by cardio, a cardiovascular activity that is long and steady in duration with very little resistance.
Let’s take running for example, if you do it for sport, to clear your mind or if you enjoy it, keep doing it. I would never discourage someone from being active. If you’re running to lose body fat, you’re taking on a very inefficient method of reaching your fat loss goal.
One problem with running for fat loss is that for the most part to increase the “benefit” you increase the duration. With weight training you can simply increase the weight and not have to workout longer. With H.I.I.T training you can adjust your work to rest ratio without affecting the overall workout duration. I would highly recommend giving H.I.I.T training a try. Here are some benefits to H.I.I.T training:
Build muscle (especially legs) Less impact (Hill sprints)
Burn calories after the workout
Here’s what a H.I.I.T session might look like. Get outside and find a hill, 10-second sprint up the hill, 60-sec walk back down. Do that 10x or until you feel you can’t keep good form.
Again I’m only against long-distance running for fat loss. Ultimately a balance between cardio and weight training is best for your health.
No Pain No Gain:
The goal in your training session should not be to destroy your body to the point that you could barely walk the next day. Lifting weights until it is hurting your body will only result in an increased likelihood of injury, not more results.
Exercise can be intense and some level of soreness may occur. You don’t need to push your body outside of its comfort zone to create increased stress on your body all of the time to get results. You’re not going to get to your results faster by breaking down your body to the point where you’re taking pain medication just to get through another session. This is a long term pursuit and your short term goals shouldn’t put your health at risk.
You should use max effort or attempt a heavier weight once in a while. The reality is most training days you’re maintaining, learning something new, or perfecting technique. Think of it like you’re an athlete. You have training days where you’re working on skills or learning new things and prepping to peak for a certain day or event. You’re not going all out all of the time, that’s going to results in injury or burn out and you’re not going to get to your goals.
Try this. Circle a couple of days on your calendar. Those will be your peak days. On these days you apply everything you’ve been working on at max effort. After your peak day, take a couple of days off, perfect new or current techniques, and repeat the process in 2-4 weeks. This will keep you progressing but more importantly injury-free.
At the end of the day, moving and doing any sort of activity is better than not doing anything. It can be cycling, dancing, or tennis, do it if it’s something you enjoy. Having said that, when fat loss is the goal and time is precious finding the most optimal route is key.
My goal was to help clear a few things up so you’re not wasting your time or risking injury while trying to achieve your goals.
I hope you found this list of fitness myths debunked to be helpful.
Good luck on your fitness journey! Barry Cardoso