I don't know where or how these myths get started but apparently they sound good enough to repeat over and over again until you have a never ending game of "telephone". Knowing the FACTS is the only way you'll ever hit your goals or you're just wasting your time and frustration. Getting fit is never fast but it can go relatively quickly when know what's right and follow through.
1. MYTH: If girls lift weights, they'll get big.
TRUTH: First, girls are physically and physiologically incapable of getting as big as men. You need testosterone, and lots of it. Getting "big" also takes strategy. You don't just lift weights, you have to lift heavy… and a lot…and often. Yes, women will grow muscle, but that's a good thing! That's what makes you strong and keeps you fit.
2. MYTH: Working your abs will make your stomach flat.
TRUTH: Working your abs shapes and tightens the muscles and actually make them grow, but in the 6-pack kind of way. The FLAT comes from nutrition. You can have the best abs in the world but if you don't eat right, they will remain covered by "layer". Work the muscles to to shape them, eat well to SEE them.
3. MYTH: Doing lots of cardio will get you in shape.
TRUTH: Cardio works the heart and can be great for losing pounds and fat burning BUT you have to eat right and work the muscles too. In fact, too much cardio can slow down your progress as the body will adapt to long bouts of activity. Your best bet is HIIT cardio, that is, "High Intensity Interval Training" which is bursts of power followed by a slowing down phase. Sprints are a great example, but you can do HIIT on cardio equipment, or by running hill, stairs, or even doing full body circuit training.
4. MYTH: You need hours at the gym to get in shape.
TRUTH: You don't need a lot of time, you need a lot of focus and intensity. You need to make sure you hit all your different muscle groups and combine with cardio, or combine resistance and cardio in a full-body workout. This can be achieved in as little as 15 minutes. But generally, you don't need much more than an hour to get the whole body pumping.
5. MYTH: When you stop working out, muscle turns to fat.
TRUTH: Muscle and fat are made from completely different tissue. You can no more turn muscle into fat as you can turn fat into muscle. What happens when you stop working out is your muscles atrophy and get smaller and softer. Add to this the fact that most people may not be sticking to the most nutritious eating plan and they get "soft".
6. MYTH: If you workout, you can eat whatever you want.
TRUTH: Food is the clay, exercise your sculpting tools. If you eat junky food with little to no nutrition, the body has no raw material to build a tight lean body. You need enough protein to build muscle. Period. You need good solid carbs for energy, and you need all the micronutrients from whole grains and produce so your body can run efficiently. If you eat junky and workout, you end up even-steven, never getting ahead, and never achieving "lean".
7. MYTH: Exercising a certain body part will make it slimmer.
TRUTH: You can't spot reduce. If only. Love handles, and a squishy tummy are primarily nutrition based but you have to workout the whole body and eat clean to be lean.The beauty is, your whole body gets lean too, not just that one spot. Yes, work your problem spots but then eat as clean as you can so your the body has nothing extra to store in those spots, or anywhere else.
8. MYTH: The more you workout the more weight you lose or the better shape you'll be in.
TRUTH: QUALITY not quantity. Hours at the gym doesn't guarantee fitness. In fact, over-training can cause you to stall and cause irritability, moodiness, trouble sleeping, perpetual soreness, trouble concentrating and exhaustion. It can also cause Cortisol to rise, a hormone known as the "stress hormone". Too much and the body goes into protection mode and holds onto fat to keep itself protected from over-activity. An hour (give or take) of solid focused workouts 3-5 days a week is plenty.
9. MYTH: Exercising in the morning on an empty stomach will help you burn fat or lose weight.
TRUTH: Your body needs fuel to work and it needs glucose (carbs) to do it. When you sleep, your body depletes this storage, which both your muscles and your brain needs. Working out with no fuel hampers a good workout and could be dangerous if you begin to feel light headed. If you want to hit an early morning bike ride, or cardio session, try eating something small, like a banana, or some whole grain toast.
10. MYTH: You shouldn't eat after 8pm.
TRUTH: Your body doesn't care what time you eat, it cares WHAT you eat. Often people succumb to cravings and binges at night so "no eating after a 8pm" can be a good guideline. But if you're truly hungry, EAT, especially if you're working out. If your body doesn't have a food source, it will look to your muscles for fuel. There is nothing wrong with snacking on fruit, protein or veggies late at night. The body will use it up, not store it. But snack on junk and it may *stick* with you.
11. MYTH: You can't gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
TRUTH: Of course you can. Every time you fuel your body with the right nutrients and hit your workout, you're building and burning. You're building muscle by pushing through your reps and burning with the energy you're expending doing it.
12. MYTH: In order to get get fit you have to watch calories.
TRUTH: Once again, I go to QUALITY not quantity - quality of food rather than the quantity of calories. Fitness is about balancing nutrients not calories. If everything you ate was whole, natural and healthy, and you balanced your meals throughout your day, you'd never have to think about calories ever again. It's very difficult to gain weight eating lean protein, vegetables, fruit, and other healthful food. People have a tendency to place too much emphasis on the number of calories rather than the quality of the food. 500 calories of junk food (fatty, sugary, carby) and 500 calories of grilled chicken and a hearty salad will work completely differently in your body. One forwards your health, one takes it back; one feeds your body, mind, energy, fitness and the other takes all that away. And to restrict calories too much means you won't have the right nutrients to build a strong body or the energy to do it. Plus with too few calories, the body simply slows down to conserve the food it has. The best, most athletic bodies don't starve, they EAT, and eat right.