10 Health & Fitness Myths You Still Believe
Updated: Jun 30, 2019
How many times have you been told something and believed it for years, only to realise later on that it was complete bollocks?
Well, if you work in the Health and Fitness industry like me, it’s a daily occurrence.
I still remember a lot of the information I learnt when I was getting qualified as a Fitness Professional.... now that I look back, I can safely say most of it was complete Bulls***!
Unfortunately this industry that we call ‘Health & Fitness’ is loaded with misnomers and complete horse doo doo. So why is this?
Well….. There’s a few reasons:
- People get information from friends or family and believe it to be fact.
- Studies that have been funded by a corporation wanting to push an agenda get misinterpreted into being legitimate.
- The so called experts like Dietitian's and Nutritionists are unfortunate victims to corporations like Big Pharma and the Food Conglomerates manipulating the very education thats supposed to be helping this industry.
N- o body makes money from healthy people so why would we want to educate them on facts anyway.
With that being said, let's run through some of the absolute doozy's that I still hear thrown around today.
1. Cardio is the best way to lose body fat
Cardio that is aerobic in nature (think of low intensity exercise like walking on a treadmill) is somewhat useless for fat loss. This type of cardio is actually training the body to be as efficient as possible at using the least amount of energy and oxygen to perform the greatest amount of work.
This does NOT promote fat loss.
The body quickly adapts to this type of training & over the long term with the absence of strength training, leads to a reduction in muscle mass which reduces the amount of calories your body burns at rest.
As a caveat, if you're just starting off at exercising, then maybe this low intensity cardio is a great first step as you condition your body for more intense exercise down the track.
Solution: Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and lift weights for more favourable fat loss results. This will build muscle requiring the body to burn more fat, along with fixing your metabolism in the process.
2. Dieting is the best way to lose fat
The truth is.... dieting very rarely produces any long term results.
The main problem with dieting is it promotes a fixed mindset of “someday in the future” when I’ve lost all that weight I will stop eating and training this way.
Dieting often leads to just as much muscle loss as fat with severe calorie restrictions and increased exercise.
Eventually, when your motivation and will power gives out (which it will for everyone), you go back to the calorie intake of old but now you replace your lost fat with more fat and your lost muscle with fat too!
Plus, the damage done to your hormones more often than not puts you in a worse spot that when you started.
Solution: Don’t go crazy with a calorie deficit.
Reduce your intake by 200-400 calories a day and eat whole foods like meat, vegetables, seafood, nuts & seeds and fruit. Put quality of food first rather than thinking about quantity. Also aim for a higher intake of protein as it will fill you up and promote fat loss.
3. If you want to get toned, do light weights and high reps
Just think about this for a second.
Wouldn’t every female be lean, toned and cut to shreds if this were true?
Getting “toned” actually requires a couple of tasks:
1. Lose body fat
2. Increase the size of muscle
Solution: Lift heavy weights of sets around 8-12 reps to build lean muscle.
Then, eat a 'diet' thats full of whole foods high in protein to promote fat loss.
Finally, add in some Interval Training to create a caloric deficit and you can’t fail.
4. You’ll lose more fat by doing weights and cardio in the same workout
One of the biggest issues throwing in cardio at the end of a weights program is for most people it lengthens the workout to well over an hour in duration.
When your workout drags on, your stress hormone Cortisol is elevated and it taps into fuel sources from muscle to keep you going.
This is the opposite of what you want to happen as stress is not a good environment for fat loss.
Secondly, studies have shown that those who do weights and cardio in the same workout have a very poor hormone response meaning their testosterone and growth hormone are lowered for 48 hours.
This is not what you want during the recovery process for repairing and building muscle.
Lastly theres this complex thing called gene signalling. In simple terms, if you do steady state cardio (low intensity), and weight training in the same workout, your progress will be significantly blunted and slow at best.
Solution: Try and keep your weight training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) on separate days if possible.
If not, keep your workout under an hour total whilst spending no more than 10 minutes on intervals after the weights.
5. Eggs are bad
Urgh….. I get so angry when I hear this, especially from a “Health Professional”.
Eggs are one of the best foods you can eat for your health and for fat loss.
They provide an abundance of vitamins and easily digested amino acids…. not to mention an excellent source of protein.
Without going into all the fabulous details, egg yolks are full of Choline which is essential for brain function and helps the liver to detoxify and avoid accumulating fat.
There is no scientific link between egg consumption and elevated cholesterol, in fact, quite the contrary.
A 12-week study followed a group of men who ate three eggs daily on a lower carbohydrate diet. They lost 5KG on average and significantly improved cholesterol markers…. funny that.
6. Everything is fine in moderation
In short, moderation doesn’t work. Just take a look around. Moderation is the current recommendation to the public. Is it working? Hell no.
Today’s foods are hyper-palatable and enhanced to taste incredible. It’s no wonder we see these studies showing former drug addicts finding it harder to kick sugar filled food than it was to kick Heroin.
If you have heard yourself saying “everything is ok in moderation”, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news, you are wrong!
Moderation doesn’t work for most people. You need to ask yourself, “is cutting out a food that makes me eat way too much, feel physically sick and terrible about myself really a bad thing?”
Do we have this same mindset around smoking? Or do we tell people to go cold turkey?
Solution: Cut out that crap that makes you feel like sh*t! Stop kidding to yourself.
You don't need it!
7. Eating more fibre will help you eat less and lose fat
Did you know the most commonly eaten foods with Fibre in Australia are Cereal and Bread! Are they fat loss foods? Most certainly not!
So this “fact” can be very misleading. Fibres that reduce food intake and aid in fat loss come from whole foods like vegetables.
Solution: Make sure fibre is coming from real food to get the benefits of fat loss.
8. All calories are created equal
The debate of “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” has been around for a long time now. The research proves that this just isn’t the case.
A single calorie whether it's derived from carbohydrate, fat or protein not to mention food quality has significant differences on the human body and that particular individuals make up.
A recent study proved that a stunning 25KG variance occurred in the results of female patients based on their insulin health.
This means some performed very well on a low carbohydrate diet, where as others had minimal fat loss results even though calorie intakes were similar based on their weight and muscle mass.
Solution: Everyone is different when it comes to what type of eating plan is right for you. One thing we do know is eating a whole food diet high in protein is the best bet. Look to test your carbohydrate and fat intake to see if you do better with one higher and one lower.
9. High protein diets are bad for you
High protein diets are bad for your bones and healthy kidneys right? Wrong.
There is no proof whatsoever of this being true. In fact, its quite the contrary. High protein diets are great for the bones as bone is largely made up of protein.
If you ever hear your doctor tell you this, ask him to show you the conclusive studies. There are none!
What I would say is if you are on a high protein diet (2g+ per/kg bodyweight) then make sure you get in plenty of antioxidants and alkaline plants to level out acidity levels and reduce any inflammation.
Also if you have pre existing kidney issues, then protein in high concentrations can be problematic so seek professional guidance.
Solution: Eat high protein diets for fat loss and consume adequate vegetables to reduce inflammation.
10. Having a trainer guarantees you results
Being a Trainer myself, I wish this one to be true. Unfortunately, most trainers don’t have a clue what they are doing.
Sure, if you’re a 19-year old male looking to build some muscle and drop a couple of pounds, even a one arm, blind monkey after 7 bottles of Scotch could get you results.
When it comes to people with real problems like metabolic syndrome from years of poor eating, 90% of Trainers wouldn’t know where to start.
Don’t look for the guy thats busy all the time or the girl thats got an amazing body, because that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to helping you.
Solution: Find a Trainer that has achieved results with dozens of people in different age brackets with larges amounts of weight to lose.
They should be someone that looks at the way your body moves, checks posture and identifies imbalances and injuries.
A good Trainer should be able to tell when something is too hard for you and effectively modify the exercise to your level.
These are the Trainers that will get you results.
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