The internet is full of ridiculous fitness myths that have been spread around for so long that everyone just takes them for granted as being the truth.
This makes it incredibly confusing for you to figure out how to get real results when you start a workout program.
Out of all of these crazy ideas there are 5 core fitness myths that I think are most responsible for holding people back from achieving their goals.
- The idea that you need hours a week to exercise if you want results
- Believing that losing weight is all about lots of cardio
- Thinking that eating fat makes you fat
- The idea that you should always eat low-carb to be healthy
- Believing that lots of sit-ups and crunches will give you a flat stomach
Below I’m going to go into detail about why these misconceptions are so wrong and why they can be so harmful to your personal fitness goals.
5 Common Fitness Myths
1) The Idea That You Need Hours A Week To Exercise If You Want Results
This is one of the most damaging myths that I see as it causes people to burn out quickly.
I’ll see someone who wants to lose a few pounds and get back into shape read through some fitness magazines and develop some crazy program of lifting weights for an hour three times a week along with six hours of grueling steady state cardio on a treadmill or stationary bike.
It’s no wonder they never see the results they want as they just give up after a few weeks.
I actually used to exercise like that many years ago when I was single and had the time but in truth I’m in better shape now working out less than two hours a week.
I also enjoy myself a lot more and feel more functionally strong.
The way that I was able to achieve this is by distilling what gave me the best results and removing all of the fluff.
By removing all of the smaller muscle isolating exercises and switching to only doing a few large compound exercises I worked just as many muscles but in one-third the time.
For example, instead of doing three different sets of muscle isolating exercises for your legs to target your quads, hamstrings, and calves you can just do one set of squats which will actually target way more muscles throughout your body and take significantly less time.
The other trick I use, that I want you to try right away, is to do all of your resistance training in a circuit fashion.
Instead of doing three sets of one exercise followed by another three sets of a different exercise you intermix the two exercises together (ideally more than two) and this allows you to spend less time on recovery between exercises because you’re focusing on different muscle groups.
By reducing the time between sets to under 20 seconds or less you are keeping your heart rate elevated the entire time and you are getting both your cardio and your resistance training done at the same time.
You see how much time you can save doing this?
Imagine what you could do with all of those free hours from not having to grind away on an elliptical every day.
2) Believing That Losing Weight Is All About Lots Of Cardio
Another major myth that holds people back from achieving their goals is thinking that losing weight is all about doing lots of cardio.
The reality is that you can burn just as many calories from resistance training but the effect occurs gradually over time instead of immediately.
The reason for this is that your body has to repair and build up your muscles much more after resistance training than it does after regular cardio sessions.
This in turn requires a much higher amount of energy that your body will burn over the next couple of days as your muscles grow back stronger.
This will keep your metabolism higher so the total number of calories that your body burns stays higher, which is exactly what you want if you’re trying to lose body fat.
Another added bonus to this is that your muscles won’t shrink or atrophy as you lose weight if you make sure that resistance training is a part of your routine.
Another big misconception that people have is thinking that cardio has to take a long time.
By doing your resistance training in a circuit fashion, as I discussed above, you can blend your cardio and resistance training workouts together to save a huge amount of time.
Also, when you exercise in this manner you will be doing a form of exercise known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which causes your body to burn a huge number of calories over time.
Circuit training in this manner can keep your metabolism raised for up to 72 hours after you’ve finished a workout making your body into a calorie burning furnace!
3) Thinking That Eating Fat Makes You Fat
Fat is an essential macro-nutrient that our bodies need to be healthy and strong.
Our brains and nervous systems are basically one giant lump of fat!
Many kinds of fat are a very efficient fuel for our bodies as long as our heart rate stays at a medium pace.
The egg yolks that we have always been told to avoid eating are actually full of healthy and essential nutrients, such as choline, that our bodies need to be healthy and strong.
On top of all of that the truth is that eating fat doesn’t make you fat.
It’s the hormones inside of your body that manage what happens to all of the calories that you ingest that decide what is done with all of that energy.
When your body senses that your blood sugar is higher than the amount of energy you need at the moment your hormones will start shuttling all of that excess glucose into your fat cells.
That’s why the biggest culprits in excess body fat are sugary drinks.
When you chug down a soda or even a fruit juice you are flooding your body with a sudden burst of energy that it has absolutely no use for.
Your body panics from seeing the flood of excess sugar coursing through your blood and immediately packs it all away safely around your middle for future use.
Your body needs carbohydrates, especially your brain, to function at high energy output levels but it never needs the 42 grams of instant liquid sugar you get from a can of soda.
Our bodies just haven’t evolved to process and use energy in those types of bursts.
Now that we realize that eating fat doesn’t make us fat and we should really be trying to avoid excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks we sometimes run into the next problem which many people have.
4) The Idea That You Should Always Eat Low-Carb To Be Healthy
Many people have jumped on the low-carb bandwagon as they’ve learned that it is an amazingly effective way to lose weight.
But there’s one small problem with that.
Carbohydrates are still an extremely valuable and powerful fuel source that can never be completely ignored.
Especially if you want to be living an active lifestyle.
If your heart rate never went above around 120 beats per a minute you could get by pretty well with almost no carbs at all but we don’t want to be living that sedentary a lifestyle!
In order to perform the kinds of high intensity workouts we want to be doing, both to be as strong as possible and save time, we can’t get by without carbohydrates.
After finishing an intense round of circuit training our muscles’ stores of glycogen are almost completely depleted.
Our bodies are now waiting for a critical influx of carbohydrates to begin restoring the fuel that our skeletal muscles need to replenish their strength.
If your body fails to receive this fuel it will begin to feel it is being starved and release hormones, such as cortisol, which will cause it to go into conservation mode.
This is the last thing that we want to happen!
After working out we want our metabolism to go into overdrive to burn up calories and rebuild our muscles to grow stronger.
This is a mistake that many people make when they’re attempting to lose weight too quickly.
They fail to give their bodies the fuel it needs to perform which in turn puts the brakes on the entire process.
Even though reducing the intake of refined carbohydrates can be a great way to control your body’s utilization of fat for fuel you have to be sure not to over do it.
Make sure that you still give your body enough fuel to be able to live a healthy and athletic lifestyle or not only will you not feel good but you also won’t be able to create the type of body you want.
5) Believing That Lots Of Sit-Ups And Crunches Will Give You A Flat Stomach
Probably my least favorite exercise in the world is the sit-up and I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in this.
Luckily for me, and everyone else, the sit-up is also one of the most useless exercises there is so I just stopped doing them!
The sit-up is an exercise which doesn’t even really work your stomach muscles that hard in the first place.
In fact, it mostly just pulls on your hip flexors and puts an excessive amount of force on your lower back without even making your stomach muscles do much work in the first place.
The crunch does a little bit better job of isolating your stomach muscles but even then you’re only focusing on a small patch near the top of your stomach.
Also, both of these exercises fall into a category that I never think anyone who isn’t recovering from an injury should waste their time on; muscle isolating.
As we talked about earlier, trying to isolate muscles as opposed to performing whole body compound exercises is just not worth your time for many different reasons.
Just the act of performing any squat with weight is going to be working more of your abdominals than any sit-up or crunch ever could.
Also, by using our core to brace our mid-section properly we are using our abdominals the way nature intended them to be used.
We don’t use our abdominals to do a lot of work directly.
We mostly use them to brace and protect our spine and internal organs so that our other muscles can feel safe to properly fire at full strength.
Another reason that trying to do lots of sit-ups and crunches is a waste of time is that we can’t choose where fat is burned on our body.
Most people do sit-ups because they want to have a flat stomach but the truth is that working the muscles in an area is not going to have any influence on how much fat is burned from that area.
Ultimately, your body will burn fat as a fuel but it doesn’t choose to burn the fat in any particular area that you can control.
You can build and sculpt the muscles in your core but you can’t tell your body to burn the fat from that specific area.
You just have to treat lowering your body fat in a holistic manner that will take time and involve both exercise and diet.
Knowing the truth about these five common fitness myths can really help you reach your fitness goals.
By realizing that;
1) You don’t need to spend 5 hours a week in a gym;
2) You don’t need to do an hour of steady state cardio every day, just do resistance training in circuits for maximum benefit;
3) Eating fat does not make you fat;
4) You need a good amount of carbohydrates to fuel your active lifestyle;
5) Lots of sit-ups and crunches are a waste of time;
You’ll be well on your way to developing workout plans and eating habits that make sense and can deliver the healthy and strong body you’ve always wanted!