Ten diet and exercise myths
Anyone who’s ever laced up a pair of trainers with intent is now jumping on the fitness bandwagon.
And why not; there’s an ever-growing market and ever-new angles to take on the same theme.
But as Nancy from Number Six becomes an overnight fitness guru blogging to the eager masses, myths are perpetuated and distorted. Here are 10 such myths for you to forget about right now.
One: The stretching before exercise myth
There was a time when every fitness guru preached a laborious set of pre-workout stretching exercises to ensure we were like a rubber band. Well, rather too many snapped rubber bands later, this has been proved to be far from gospel. In fact, all recent studies prove that stretching can actually lead to injuries. Yes, stretch after exercise to minimize soreness, but do nothing more than a light warm up – walking, slow jogging – immediately before.
Two: The crunches six pack myth
You’ve done 100 crunches every day for a month, yet you’re not even sporting a one pack, let alone six of them. Where are these fabulous abs you were promised? Well, right now they’re hiding under a layer of fat and they’ll be in no mind to show themselves until you lose it. See, you can’t just crunch your way to abs, you have to diet as well.
Three: The muscle-bound woman myth
A lot of women are reluctant to embrace weight training for fear they end up looking like Dwayne Johnson. Somehow this belief that lifting weights makes women bulky has persisted despite one fairly important piece of evidence to the contrary: testosterone. Men have it in abundance, women not so, and it’s needed for bulky muscles. Relax ladies, weights will only tone and shape.
Four: The more is merrier myth
You’re cramming high intensity cardio and weights into every day of the week and wondering why you’re always tired, sore and cranky. You may also be wondering why you can’t sleep or can’t stop sleeping. Guess what; it’s called over-exercise and yes, there is such a thing. It’s very real and totally counter-productive. About three hours a week; that’s the general consensus. Our bodies are effectively traumatized by exercise; they need time to recover. If you don’t give them that time, they’re going to punish you through fatigue, pain and, worse, injuries. One hour, day on, day off; there’s your ideal plan.
Five: The cut calories myth
If you believe the only way to lose weight is to cut those dastardly calories out of your diet, you might be right. You’ll lose an unhealthy amount of weight very quickly. You’ll also put it back on equally quickly. Cutting calories out of your diet doesn’t work.
Six: The ageing weight gain myth
Middle-age spread, love handles, whatever you want to call it, it’s not an ageing inevitably at all. It is if you don’t exercise or maintain a sensible diet. So no excuses; if you want to be svelte in your seventies, you will be.
Seven: The late night eating myth
This silly myth has been distorted by the nature of late-night snacking; it tends to be cold pizza rather from the fridge rather than apples from the fruit bowl. No, eating late at night won’t pile on the weight. Calories don’t wear watches.
Eight: The fresh fruit myth
It’s a myth. Tinned or frozen fruit and veges can be just as healthy as fresh fruit, not to mention a heck of a lot cheaper. Uncanny.
Nine: The carbs are a curse myth
Anything overdone is a curse. But there’s a reason why fruit, vegetables and pretty much everything else deemed healthy contains carbohydrates; the right ones are good for you. School up on the bad ones – simple carbs – and the good ones – complex carbs – and eat considerably more of the latter.
Ten: The fatty food myth
Does fat make you fatter? If you fill your face with pots of lard, probably yes. But you need fat; it helps to absorb important vitamins and nutrients. Do do indulge in moderation.
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