Fitness myths are everywhere. They are started by the mainstream media, and then perpetuated by common people without even stopping and thinking about if they are true or not. Here are the top 10 fitness myths I hear over and over again. Have you heard them?
Women Shouldn’t Lift Weights Because They’ll Bulk Up
This is a very real fear for most women. They fear that lifting weights will bulk them up and make them look manly. Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. Women lack comparable amounts of the important muscle building hormone – testosterone. Because of this, it makes it more difficult to put on muscle. The pictures you see of women that are starting to take on the characteristics of men are usually on hormones. For the average female, lifting weights does a body good.
You Burn the Most Fat in the Fat Burning Zone
This fitness myth is finally dying a slow death. There was always so much confusion with this because you do in fact burn more fat in the fat burning zone. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle. You burn a higher percentage of fat in the fat burning zone, but you burn more total fat as you work out past that zone.
In fact, you burn the highest percentage of calories from fat while you sleep. Take a look at the following chart. You will see that during exercise it is possible to burn a higher percentage of calories from fat in the fat burning zone, but actually burn more fat. Focus more on total calories burned.
You Can Target Fat Loss
I see workouts posted all over the internet for firmer arms or for a toned butt. Six pack abs workouts are everywhere. Unfortunately, you cannot target fat loss. Fatty acid mobilization is systemic – not localized. This means that as soon as you start working out a muscle, any muscle, your body sends out fat mobilizing hormones that are dispersed throughout your entire body in just a couple of heart beats and seconds. Fat is pulled from all over your body to fuel that particular activity.
I heard a great way of explaining it so that it makes sense to most people (Thanks Jason)
Losing Weight is a Physical Challenge
Hang on a second now. Of course losing weight is a physical challenge. You bust your butt in the gym several times a week. It’s not easy. However, the hardest aspect of losing weight is the mental part. Nearly everyone starts off a fitness program successfully following their workout program.
The real challenge lies in the mental challenges. Do you give in to that pizza? Do you eat those donuts someone brought into the office? Do you skip lunch with your coworkers at the risk of being a social outcast? What’s one day of missing the gym really going to do to you? These are the real challenges of losing weight. The mind has a powerful influence over the body. If you take control of your mind, the weight loss will follow.
Products/Supplements Can Help You Lose Weight Fast or Easily
Run far and fast from any fitness claims that you can lose weight fast or easily. There is nothing fast or easy about losing weight. It will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your life. Be careful of the claims made on fitness products. Do they seem realistic? Are the claims funded by the company that produces the product?
Reebok was sued for $25 million for their toning shoe claims. Their claim was that just by walking in their shoes you could tone your legs. Those claims turned out to be false, and they paid for it. Getting fit is not as easy as slapping on a new pair of shoes. You have to work for it – work hard. Nothing in life worth doing comes easy.
You Burn the Most Calories During Your Workout
I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked what the best workout to lose fat is. Here’s the thing – you might burn 200-500 calories or so during your workout, but you burn thousands, yes thousands of calories the rest of the day. I highly urge you to stop worrying about the amount of fat you’re burning during your workout, and instead focus on having the best workout you can.
Use your workouts to build that valuable muscle that will in turn continue burning fat for you at all hours of the day – even in your sleep. You want to lose weight in your sleep? Then get in the gym and start lifting those weights.
You Need to do Cardio if You Want to Lose Fat
Are you one of those people who is slaving away on the cardio equipment trying to lose weight? If you are, you might want to reassess your fitness program. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is a great addition to a well rounded fitness program; however, it’s not necessary to lose weight.
Your heart does not know the difference between the treadmill or weight training. It only knows perceived stress. In essence, any workout can be considered cardio, it’s just a matter of how hard you push yourself. The two key components to losing fat are building muscle and having a great diet – with your diet being the most important.
0 Grams of Trans Fat Means There’s No Trans Fat
Did you know that just because a product says that there’s 0 grams of trans fat that it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s actually 0 grams? You see, the FDA allows all food products that have less that .5 grams of fat to be expressed as 0 grams. This means that a product that has 6 servings (like the product shown below) could potentially have 3 grams of trans fat. Not exactly 0 grams…huh?
Look at the following product. You’ll see they claim 0 grams both on the front and the back, yet in the ingredients there is partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat). Always read the ingredients! This is just 1 of the 10 examples I provided in “food advertising tricks that you’re following for” that marketers use to mislead us into buying their products. I highly recommend you read the article and be aware of the rest.
Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
Maybe you’ve heard this one before. People try to explain why they weigh as much as another person yet look so much more fit. They say that it’s because muscle weighs more than fat. I understand their intentions, and they are almost right.
In reality, what they are trying to explain is that muscle is denser than fat. 1 pound of muscle weighs the same as 1 pound of fat, just as 1 pound of feathers weighs as much as 1 pound of bricks. So, this phrase is half right. Muscle does weigh more than fat – when comparing similar sizes, which is essentially density. More important than whether this is a myth or not is to understand that your weight is meaningless, and that a 130 lb woman can be much more fit than a similar 130 lb woman. It’s all about body composition. Throw your scale away and pick up a pair of body fat calipers.
Do Sets With Higher Reps if Your Goal is to Burn Fat
How many times have you heard the advice that if you want to lose fat you should use high reps, and if you want to build muscle, you should use low reps? What makes higher reps so special? If you’re lifting weights with sets of more than 15 or so reps, you’re wasting your time. Once you start getting up into those high reps, you’re turning your workout into a cardio session.
While there is nothing wrong with that, it’s not going to help you effectively build muscle. Remember, muscle is what helps you burn fat. Muscle contains mitochondria, which is where fats are oxidized. You will burn calories working with higher reps, but as I already pointed out, the calories you burn during your workout are miniscule compared to the calories you burn the rest of the day. Keep your workout intensity high, focus on building muscle, and burn fat the remaining 23 hours of the day.