Some little diet and exercise ‘untruths’ have become the norm over the years. There are so many rumours spread about diet and exercise that it is sometimes difficult to know what to believe. But the key is to understand the reasoning behind what we are doing to or putting into our bodies. Here are a few myths which we still tend to believe.
Myth: Fasting will help you lose weight.
Fact: In the short term, yes. But fasting also makes you lose muscle, and slows down your metabolism. If you lose muscle, your body would need less food. So when you go back to your regular diet, you have the potential to actually gain weight.
Myth: Lifting weights is more important than cardio for men.
Fact: It completely depends on your body, and what your fitness goals are. A complete exercise program should consist of both cardio (running, walking, cycling, etc.) and strength training. If you want to lose weight, you may need to put more effort into your cardio routine. If you want to build and tone muscle, don’t expend all your energy on cardio because strength training may be more important for you. If you’re more concerned about heart health and your overall body health, both cardio and strength training are equally important.
Myth: If food is labeled ‘low-fat’, it must be good for your diet.
Fact: Your body needs 3500 calories to gain 1 pound (or 7700 calories to gain 1 kilogram). Low in fat does not necessarily mean low in calories. So we need to be looking out for the caloric content of the food we eat, not just the fat content.
Myth: Out of your personal trainer’s mouth come the words of God himself.
Fact: The truth is that a personal trainer gets his/her knowledge from experience. Although there are some great trainers out there, not all they say might be true for your particular situation. A personal trainer once told me I had to do a particular exercise a certain way. I got so bummed out when I realized that my joints could not move that way. After trial and error, and the internet, I realized that there were other ways I could do that particular exercise, and it worked for me.
Myth: Don’t eat after 8pm because your body metabolizes slow at night.
Fact: Calories can’t tell time, so eating late is not about metabolism; it’s about our late night habits. One reason not to eat late is that you would probably end up on the couch or in bed afterwards and you need physical activity to burn off calories. Another reason is that you tend to eat more comfort food late at night. However, if you are confident that you can curb these late night habits, there’s no sin in eating whenever you want to.
Myth: If you exercise in your twenties, you’ll be fine in your fifties.
Fact: As you grow older, you metabolism usually reduces, and so you’ll need to adjust your exercise routine and nutrition program to match the changes in your body. Consistency is key because if you have been exercising for ten or twenty years, your body would adapt to the change easily.
Myth: Going on a quick fix diet is the best way to lose weight.
Fact: This is one of the things I stress the most. Don’t do something you cannot keep doing on a long term basis because you’ll end up turning your body into a yo-yo. The most effective way to maintain a healthy weight, and build healthy muscles, is to keep up a healthy lifestyle – this includes a consistent diet and exercise routine.
Myth: Drinking more water will help you lose weight and build muscle.
Fact: Just adding water to your diet will not have a positive or negative impact on your weight loss goal. It will help regulate body temperature, and improve athletic performance, but it does not contain any nutrients that help with weight loss or muscle growth. Drinking water can help to lose weight and build muscle only if you are replacing sodas and other high calorie drinks with water.
Myth: If you exercise consistently, and maintain a good nutrition program, and the scale does not budge, you are doing something wrong.
Fact: You could be shedding pounds and gaining muscle, so you need to consider the physical changes in your body, not just what the scale says. Also, if you weigh yourself at different times of the day, you may not notice small changes in your body that you could see by just looking in a mirror.
Do you have any fitness myths that you recently found were not true?