You’ll find plenty of fitness gurus on Instagram and Facebook telling you how to get skinny thighs or six-pack abs or shoulder boulders or trendy tri’s or beach-worthy bi’s.
However, their impressive photos and client testimonials probably don’t tell the whole story.
How can you distinguish between fitness myths and reliable facts? Start with discovering the truth about these 5 common claims.
Myth #1: You Can Eat Anything You Want As Long As You Exercise
You may be overestimating how many calories you burn at the gym. You will gain weight if you think you have a license to consume endless donuts.
Wiser Eating Tips:
Eat whole foods. Studies show that ultra-processed foods cause weight gain. Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other real food.
Calculate portions. You still need to monitor how much you eat. Learn to estimate an ounce of cheese and 4 ounces of fish.
Increase protein. If you’re trying to lose weight and gain muscle, consuming slightly more protein may help. It boosts your metabolism and makes you feel full.
Myth #2: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky
You’re unlikely to wind up resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger accidentally. After all, it takes a LOT of the right kinds of food to get “bulky”. However, lifting weights is a great way to build and retain muscle mass, especially as you age.
Wiser Weightlifting Tips:
Train safely. To avoid injuries, gradually increase the amount of weight you use. It’s also important to use the correct form.
Mix it up. Free weights are highly effective, but you may enjoy variety. Experiment with weight machines and exercises that use your body weight.
Myth #3: You Need to Work Out 7 Days a Week
Excessive exercise can weaken your muscles and organsand leave you feeling burned out. Most adults need at least one recovery day a week. Fact is, recovery is an essential part of the exercise process.
Wiser Tips for Workouts:
Try active rest. In addition to taking a day off to relax, you may benefit from alternating between high-intensity and gentler activities. For example, if you bench press on Monday, spend your Tuesday workout taking a walk.
Manage stress. Figure out why you’re overdoing it. Talk with a friend or a counselor if you’re struggling with personal issues.
Myth #4: You Can Choose Where You Want to Lose Weight
You gain weight from head to toe and you lose it the same way. Sit-ups will tone your core, but they won’t remove fat from just your waist.
Wiser Weight-Loss Tips:
Eat less. If you want to lose weight, you’ll probably need to cut calories.Focus on healthy eating habits like those mentioned above that you can stick with.
Move more. Exercise will burn some calories. Plus, as you shed fat and gain muscle, you’re likely to look thinner.
Buy new clothes. Meanwhile, your wardrobe can help you make the most of your current body. Look online for advice on how to dress for your body type.
Myth #5: Your Bathroom Scale Rules
Your body weight is only one of many ways to measure fitness. Take a broader view. Consider muscle mass, body fat percentage, bone density, and more. A scale from a company like Renpho can give you more balanced insights on your overall body composition.
Calculate your waist to hip ratio. The size of your waist says a lot about your health. That’s because it’s closely associated with your level of body fat.
Talk with your doctor. Maybe you’re working out for health reasons like coping with the symptoms of a chronic condition. Your physician can advise you on activities that would be safe and effective for your goals.
Love your body. A healthy lifestyle can work wonders, especially if your goals are realistic for you. Strive to be a superior version of yourself instead of dwelling on reaching an arbitrary weight or looking like a model you saw on a magazine cover.
Want Better Results?
Fitness myths were around long before the internet, but social media can make them seem more credible. When you’re looking for information, check reliable sources or ask a professional with the proper credentials in their field. Then your fitness regimen will be based on facts - not myths - and you'll be more pleased with your results.