Whenever I talk to someone and they begin a statement with “they say…”, my brain instantly goes on high alert for misinformation. This is because people often believe things they just “heard some person say” without ever really doing research of their own or, at the very least, asking a real expert!
I gathered my top 7 myths that seem to re-surface time and time again in conversations about exercise. These fallacies can keep people from adopting and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Myth #1: I am at a healthy body weight, so I don’t need to exercise.
Weight management is one of the many reasons why regular exercise is a good habit. However, maintaining an active lifestyle is good for a lot more than just having a normal BMI. I like this CDC article regarding the issue. Even beyond disease management, regular exercise with groups of people can build strong, mutually beneficial relationships.
Myth #2: If I stop working out, all my muscle will turn into fat.
This one always makes me have a good laugh. Muscle and fat are two different types of matter, and cannot become one another. If you stop a weight training program what will more than likely happen overtime is your muscles will atrophy.
Myth #3: I need to drink protein shakes and supplements to build muscle.
At a time when there are countless brands and types of dietary supplements in the market, people often get lost in the aisles of their local vitamin store. The truth is the average person does not need protein supplements to build muscle. They can be good additional sources of protein for some bodybuilders and athletes, but it is possible to get adequate amounts of protein from whole foods. Besides these supplements are not FDA-regulated, meaning unscrupulous companies could “enhance” their products with no immediate consequences.
Myth #4: No pain, no gain!
This term is often misinterpreted. In this popular catch phrase, the term “pain” means challenging. Real pain suggests an injury is about to happen or one exists already. It is important to be supervised by a qualified trainer or individual, especially when it comes to stuff like weight training where “ego lifting” usually ends badly.
Myth #5: Doing abdominal exercises will give you a flat stomach.
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that doing a thousand crunches will NOT give you that nice “six-pack” or “bikini-ready” belly. A good combination of cardiovascular and strength training coupled with good nutrition is the way to go. Everyone has stomach muscles; some people just carry more fat over those muscles, making them less visible.
Myth #6: Spot reduction is a real thing.
I have way too often been asked the question: “What if I just want to tone my arms and stomach?” Just like the abs thing, if the muscle definition isn’t there, it is because there is some fat covering it. It is better to focus on overall fat loss; your body doesn’t know how sexy you want your arms to look!
Myth #7: Women should not lift heavy weights because they will become bulky.
I saved the best for last, this is a big one! Even though people are getting more knowledgeable, I have encountered many women who will not lift weights for fear of gaining massive amounts of muscle. First of all, it is a very difficult thing for women to grow big, bulky muscles. They don’t produce the same amount of testosterone hormone as men, which is very instrumental in gaining size. If you see any bulky, muscular women walking around it is very likely that they went through a great deal of trouble (and possibly enhanced products) to gain that kind of size. Ladies, have no fear! Weight training when done right will work wonders for you and give you the best physique you have ever had.
Has anyone ever told you something exercise-related that you had doubts about? Leave a comment and let me know what it is so we can continue the discussion…