Between fitness magazines, bloggers, and everything else on the internet, it’s hard to tell what’s beneficial when it comes to health and fitness. When it doubt, turn to the professionals. Fads and diets won’t get you very far, but research and proven tactics are what will take your routine to the next level.
The experts here at CLIENTEL3 have gathered the top nutrition and fitness myths we hear the most, to help you weed through the clutter and become the most knowledgeable you can be.
Cutting back on carbohydrates will help me lose weight
- When done incorrectly, dropping your carb intake is not always a pleasant experience; you could feel awful and unhealthy overall. The truth is that they are a great source of energy and not a fast track to weight gain like some have claimed. Much like fats were thought of as “bad” in the past, carbs have taken heat for the wrong reasons. Both macronutrient sources have options that are healthy and come highly recommended. Experts have suggested consuming at least 130 grams of carbs per day, which is a significant difference from many low carb diets, starting with 30 grams or less. Some short-term effects of these diets could include fatigue, constipation, and irritability; long-term may increase the risk of colon cancer and heart disease.
- Fad diets aside, the source of carbohydrates is what may be most important when reducing your carb intake. Begin by scaling back on refined sources, such as soda and foods made with white flour, while focusing on consuming healthier options, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. That said, people are often overly concerned with the GI index of carb sources. I’d recommend the “healthiest” options; however, when carbs are mixed with proteins and fats the resulting rise in insulin levels change.
Exercise can erase my bad eating habits
- Unfortunately, this is something that many people try to accomplish; however, it just doesn’t work out. “You can’t out train a bad diet”, is a statement that I’ve made to clients many times. You could spend all day in the gym and still go in the opposite direction of your goal if your nutrition isn’t in line with it. It all starts with “calories in vs. calories out” (Law of Thermodynamics); if you consume more calories than your body burns, you gain weight, and vice versa. This is why establishing your caloric needs based on your goal is helpful.
I can just tone my muscles
- When first discussing goals with a female client, “I just want to tone my muscles”, has been heard countless times. Their heart is in the right place, but the fact is, the way to get that “toned” look is by reducing body fat. Everyone has toned muscles, it’s how you function daily, some just need to peel back the layers of fat hiding them. Adjusting your diet and lifting relatively heavy weights are the keys to getting you there.
Women need different exercise than men
- Although men and women have different hormonal makeups, we are all human and have the same body structure. In short, when it comes to working out, there is no need to take a different approach, despite any differences. Women, in general, may have a different strength ability but should be working just as hard, and with the same exercises. Some women tend to focus on glutes, abs, and, triceps, while some men focus on chest and biceps. Everyone should be focusing on developing the entire body.
Women should lift lower weights and do higher reps than men
- Another thing often heard from female clients is, “I don’t want to get too big”. They have the assumption that once a relatively heavy weight is picked up, they run the risk of turning into Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight. This simply isn’t true without the help of chemical assistance and a lot of time. Most women won’t be lifting as heavy compared to men due to hormonal differences but should be lifting with weights that challenge them in the 6-15 rep range. There are plenty of men who’ve been trying to “bulk up” for years, yet they don’t look like the Hulk yet.
You should always stretch before exercising
- Many gym goers stretch prior to exercise, simply because they feel or were told it is the right thing to do. The thought behind this is that stretching elongates the muscle and helps lessen the risk of injury. However, based on the intensity of stretching, the muscle may be weakened by 30%, possibly increasing the risk of injury. You should focus on getting the blood moving with a dynamic warm-up or some light cardio and save the heavy stretching for post-workout.
I can reduce fat in one area
- This is another very common myth in most gyms. “Spot reduction”, the idea that if you work a specific area of the body, you are directly burning the fat in that specific area is false. People often spend time focusing on their abs in hopes of a six pack, but no matter how many sit-ups they do, it will come down to the individual’s overall body fat percentage. People should focus more on burning calories with intense exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, dips, and pressing movements. Nutrition is a big factor as well, hence the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen”.
I’ll burn only fat at my target heart rate
- Cardio equipment often displays charts that show the target heart rate to put you in the “fat burning zone”; however, the human body is much too complex to calculate this accurately. You are likely to see better results with high-intensity interval training (HIIT); a combination of both moderate and high-intensity intervals.
Shakes are great for weight loss
- You can lose weight while consuming shakes, but they aren’t the best approach. Many of them are filled with cheap (sometimes underdosed) protein sources, added sugar, and coloring agents. Although they aren’t necessarily bad for you, they won’t provide the same satiety and nutrition that you get from nutrient-dense whole foods. Shakes are better used for convenience and by those looking to fit extra calories/protein in their diet. When using them, look for a well-respected company and add things such as fruits and nuts to increase the nutritional value.
Eat only egg whites and not the yolks
- Many have thought that egg yolks would negatively affect your cholesterol levels. On the contrary, research shows the fat from the yolk may help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). The yolk is what contains the majority of the egg’s vitamins and minerals, along with half of its protein. The fat content may also help control hunger and the rise in insulin levels compared to an egg white meal alone, potentially providing more sustained energy levels.
- There are a variety of other “healthy” fat options available as well, such as coconut oil, red palm oil, and macadamia nut oil.