When it comes to the world of fitness and nutrition we’ve pretty much heard it all. There’s a lot of old wives tales about fitness and a lot of these common misconceptions are holding many people back. They are keeping them fat, they are keeping their progress stagnant, and they are frustrating the hell out of them! You’ve probably heard at least some of these. Anyway, let’s get down to it.
- Women Shouldn’t Lift Weights
This one I hear a lot and it bothers the hell out of me. It has turned the cardio area into a safe haven for women who are afraid to venture out into the weight room for fear of “getting bulky”. This one is nonsense because women, in general, have 1/20-1/30th the testosterone of men needed to achieve big muscles. Resistance training will give you strong and lean muscles and a firm body. But it sure as hell isn’t going to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger.
People (men included) who do nothing but long drawn out cardio sessions end up what we call “skinny fat”. This is a body type where you look good in clothes but not so much in a bathing suit. Not overweight, but there is no definition in the muscles. I do resistance training with every single one of my female clients. And they are strong, fit, and look great.
- I Worked Out Hard So I Earned That (Fill in the Crap Food Here)
No. I’m sorry but if you’re trying to lose body fat you don’t get to eat more calories because you burned a lot. The calories you burned were crappy food choices from the past. It makes no sense to pile on more fat right after. That’s like digging a hole and filling it back up with dirt. You’ll never get anywhere. Stick to a healthy diet full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots and lots of veggies if you want results. You can’t out train a crappy diet.
- It Takes 1,000’s of Crunches To Get a 6 Pack
While crunches and other direct abdominal work will help you get an awesome 6 pack, it’s only about 30% of the equation. The other 70% is diet. You can have the sickest abs in the world but if you have 20% body fat covering them you’ll never see them. A lot of people also have the belief that lots of crunches burns ab fat or the “burn” they feel is their fat being burned. That is not true. So spend some of that time crunching on meal prep and cooking healthy
and you’ll get that 6 pack.
- When You Stop Working Out Your Muscle Turns to Fat
A lot of people believe this but it’s actually biologically impossible for your muscle to turn to fat. A muscle cell and a fat cell are completely different and cannot change back and forth. What really happens when you stop lifting is you lose your muscle mass (because that’s what happens when you stop lifting) and you gain body fat because now you’re just hanging out and probably eating the same amount of calories if not more. People tend to eat healthier when they are exercising consistently. But to reiterate, a muscle cell cannot physically change into a fat cell.
- Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
When I was in middle school they asked us “which weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?” A lot of kids instinctively yelled out “Bricks!”. And right off the bat it would make sense that the bricks were heavier, but it’s the same. A pound weighs a pound. It doesn’t matter if its feathers, fat, bricks, or burritos, 1lb will always weight 1lb (unless you go to the moon in which case its 0.2lb). So why do some people think that? Muscle is more dense than fat, just like bricks are more dense than feathers. A pound of muscle takes up a much smaller space than a pound of fat so some people think its heavier.
- BMI – Body Mass Index is Flawed
The BMI or Body Mass Index is a calculation of your weight divided by the square of your height then expressed as a number. This measure is not valid because it does not take body fat into consideration. So although I am a 6’1 215lb personal trainer and former physique pro sitting around 15% body fat I have a BMI of 28.7, which is on the higher end of the Overweight category and only 1.3 points from Obese. Really? So the 6’1 guy who never gets off the couch, eats like crap, looks and feels like crap, and has a beer gut gets the same score as me because we are both 215lbs and 6’1? Makes no sense. A much better indicator of physical health is your body fat percentage, which is the ratio of your total bodyweight to your fat.
What did we learn today? Don’t believe everything you read and especially don’t believe anything you overhear in the gym locker room from someone who isn’t in any better shape than you. If you have questions seek the help of a credentialed professional and not the “guru’s” who hang out at the gym water fountain.