In today’s show, I talk about, and dispel, 13 fitness myths that are still around and still causing you to waste your time, money, and energy.
And it pisses me off.
Some of these myths have been around for years and are readily accepted as truth. Others were born from savvy marketers preying on ignorant consumers looking for help with their health and fitness. My hope is that this shows opens your eyes to some things that will help you better understand how to get into shape and stay there.
Here are the 13 myths:
1. Weight loss is the goal.
This is wrong. In fact, scale weight loss should rarely, if ever, be your goal. Fat loss is the goal. Anyone can lose weight by going on a low calorie diet or avoiding fluids. That’s just fucking stupid. Instead, focus on fat loss and improving your body composition. Eat in a moderate calorie deficit, train your ass off, and don’t quit.
2. The Keto diet is the best way to lose weight.
While the Keto can be a great tool for weight loss, it’s not for everyone and VERY difficult to sustain. And being able to sustain your eating plan long-term is the key to making it work. Does the Keto work? Sure. It has plenty of health benefits as well. But if you like carbs and are used to eating them often, like 98% of the English speaking world, it’s pretty fucking hard to stick with. If it fits your lifestyle AND you can maintain it, go for it. Absolutely. If not, look for a different, less restrictive approach.
3. Flexible dieting is the best way to eat.
This approach can work very well but too many people use their flexibility to eat crap foods. That’s not what this is all about. Super restrictive diets can leave you feeling like you’re in food jail and it sucks. Nobody wants that. If done correctly, flexible dieting can be a pretty simple way to lose weight and clean up your nutrition. But because there is so much freedom over your choices, and we tend to be emotional and impulse eaters in this country, it’s not that easy. Junk food addiction is a very real thing and can be tough to overcome. Here’s a whole podcast episode I dedicated to this very subject.
4. Intermittent fasting gives you an excuse to pig out and eat whatever you want.
Nope. Just because you have a shorter eating window doesn’t mean you get a free pass to stuff your face with anything you want. Quality and quantity are still critical.
5. Supplements will help you shortcut your way to a better body.
No (legal) supplements are going to help you with your fitness goals if you aren’t covering the basics of good health first. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Reduce stress in your life. Get outside for fresh air and sunshine daily. Train with weights. Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugars and processed foods. Eat smaller portions. Stop sitting so much.
Cover all these things and then start talking to me about using supplements.
6. If you can’t do a full workout, don’t do it at all.
In my opinion, something, regardless of how little, is still better than nothing. Plus, doing something creates the habit of showing up. That’s a huge win! Small steps are the best way to build habits and small victories are what can keep you going when you’re feeling discouraged. Doing 20 pushups might not make you stronger, but it’s 20 more than you did yesterday.
7. Spot reduction is possible.
Just no. As much as you want to lose those man boobies and sloppy gut, you can’t pick and choose your spots. As you lose weight, your body will decide exactly where it will take fat from. Usually (and unfortunately), it’s often not from where we want it to come from. Our bellies are often the last place we lose weight, so your only option is to continue to lose body fat and I promise, it will come off sooner or later.
8. Fitness gadgets can help you get fit faster.
99% of these are marketers trying to make a buck off of “hot” markets. Your body is really all you need to get into shape. You simply cannot buy your way into fitness, it just doesn’t work that way.
9. Cardio is the best way to lose weight.
I hate this. Cardio, as in walking/jogging on a treadmill for a length of time, is good for your health yes. However, it’s a waste of time if your main goal is fat loss. Doing shorter, more intense workouts is a far more effective and time efficient way to shed fat. Plus, you get the added benefit from EPOC when using high intensity training, which will elevate your calorie burning for a day or so afterwards. More recent research has shown that the effect of EPOC isn’t nearly as pronounced as we once thought, but you’ll still have a slightly elevated metabolism after those intense workouts.
10. The “fat burning zone” is the best way to lose weight.
Instead of burning a slightly higher percentage of calories from fat using low intensity work, ramp up the intensity and burn more total calories. Why would you move slowly in an effort to burn more fat than carbohydrates when in all reality, just hitting it harder and burning a shit ton more calories is a far more effective way to lose fat? Who gives a shit if you burned 100 calories and 60 were from fat if you can burn 400 calories and 200 are from fat? You’re burning more calories and although the percentage of fat burning is a little lower, the goal of burning total calories is what’s most important.
11. Machines are safer than free weights.
I’d argue the exact opposite. Our bodies don’t move in a fixed line pattern like many machines and using free weights allows for a greater range of motion and muscle fiber recruitment. You’ll build far more joint, tendon, ligament, and muscle strength by using dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells than any Cybex or Smith Machine.
12. Ab exercises will give you abs.
If you’re too fat, they won’t show regardless of how many crunches you do. Yes you will build core strength, which is very important, especially for us dads who are nearing 40 and older. But if you’re just looking to “get abs”, then the only way to do that is to lose total body fat. This is done through eating a high quality diet and eating in a calorie deficit coupled with progressive strength training. There is more to it but this is it at a very basic level. If you need a program that will help you lose fat using simple, yet effective programming, join us for 90 days and see what can happen.
13. Muscle confusion is the best way to make your muscles grow.
The whole muscle confusion thing has been waaaaayyyy overdone and it’s become the new norm to see programs that never use the same workout twice. And while it can be beneficial to mix things up to keep your muscles “guessing” and keep you from plateauing, one of the better benefits is keeping your workouts fun and interesting.
Enjoying your workouts is huge because if you don’t actually like doing it, it’s probably not going to last too long. And remember, consistency is key. But having a benchmark to gauge your progress is very important as well and knowing that you’re improving and getting stronger counts for a lot. If you change your workouts every day, you have no way to know if you’re getting better.
Hopefully this clears up some things you’ve been led to believe and saves you some hard earned money or your valuable time. This list could have easily been 100 things long and maybe I’ll do a second show on this, but this will get you started.
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