I have been a personal trainer for years now and it never ceases to amaze me that the same fitness myths and buzzwords from over a decade ago are still around! How is this even possible? We have so much information available at our finger tips with today’s technology. So how can we still be in the dark about these misconceptions? We have access to top doctors, trainers, physical therapists all at the touch of a button and yet here we are and here I am still fighting to dispel them! So lets dig in!
One of the top myths I hear ALL the time involves women and muscles. I always hear, “I don’t want to get BIG, I just want to tone”. This is a double whammy statement for me and here is why… First of all, the majority of women do not have the genetic make-up (i.e. hormones) that would cause one to get “big”. So literally, your hormones are against you. Additionally, most women are not going to train at the level of an Olymipc athlete so you will not get big and bulky. If said individual has gotten “big” for their liking, it is almost always because they started a fitness program and didn’t change their diet, therefore building up their muscles but still keeping or adding to their layer of fat. While this will indeed make one feel bulky, I assure you, you don’t look like Mother Russia from Kick Ass 2. The other whammy in this myth is the use of the word “tone”. It makes me literally cringe, “I don’t want muscle, I just want to tone up.” Let’s get some things clear here. You DO want muscle… Why? Because that is what is causing you to look “toned.” Muscle definition is what give you that lean, fit, and fabulous look (and feel!). Also a little fun fact here, the more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn 24-7! Why wouldn’t anyone want that?! It also means the more you can eat to fuel those muscles too!
The next buzzword is “weight loss” or the phrase “I just want to lose weight.” Instead, you should be saying, “I want to lose FAT. I am interested in FAT LOSS.” As fitness pros, we learn the only acceptable weight to lose is fat. If you say weight loss, it is referencing the body as a whole and all that composes the body. You don’t want to lose weight from your muscles, tissues or organs, so it’s always best to use the term “fat loss” and ditch the words “weight loss”.
Another concept, especially for women, is the myth of eating 1,200 calories a day. For most people, just covers basic functioning of the body. This doesn’t take into account all the daily movement from work, errands, and physical activity like working out. Most women can consume more than 1,200 calories. In fact, chances are that your lifestyle requires more calories than that in order to have the energy to accomplish your daily tasks! I also suggest meeting with a credible personal trainer and having them figure out your daily caloric needs. And, don’t even get me started about protein consumption… That’s a whole other rant.
Next, we have one of my favorites, “but I eat clean/well.” The problem with this is there is no set criteria defining what that means or a definition for “eating clean”. Therefore, it is open to individual interpretation. My version of eating clean is probably very different compared to someone else’s definition of eating clean and so on. I like to get specifics from my clients, such as a few days of a food log, to see if we are on the same page. This is when the truth always seems to come out! It’s so much better to just hand your trainer or nutritionist over a food log rather than to generalize. The more specific you are with your log, the better (even if it’s just for your own reference and you’re not having anyone review it)! Also, make sure you consider portion control. You may be “eating clean or well” but if you are not controlling your portions, you can still sabotage your goals. Over eat “good for you” foods will still result in putting on weight.
Our last myth is, “I must have the latest and greatest supplement from the local vitamin/supplement shop”. Supplements are always a hot button. There are so many products out there that it’s hard for anyone, even a professional, to sort through all of them. The options to pick from are extremely overwhelming on their own – let alone topping that with misleading advertising and insane prices. Far too often, many supplements have to either reformulate their ingredients or just disappear completely from the market after being found to have harmful negative side effects over time. Stick with the basics and go from there. Do your research so that you can choose a reputable brand and product that truly works for you. I tend to just stick with a superior line of powdered vitamins, protein powder, fiber, and protein bars.
Hopefully this article has entertained and educated you on all those naughty fad words and myths out there surrounding the fitness industry. Help me spread the good word so that we can stop those myths and misconceptions in their tracks. It’s almost 2016, which means it’s time to make these history and start on a clean slate!