By Steven McKee
We’ve all heard (and likely believed) fitness myths our whole lives. From “carbs are the enemy” to “cardio is the best way to lose weight,” men and women everywhere have tried and tested every weight loss trick they come across. However, most of these fitness myths aren’t true and can unfortunately lead to unhealthy decisions when it comes to losing weight and getting in shape.
With New Year’s resolutions set in place, now is the perfect time to bust these fitness myths once and for all, and share some healthy fitness tips that will get you looking and feeling your best.
Myth: Lifting weights make you bulky.
Busted: Lifting weights will actually help to increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day. Rather than making you bulky, lifting weights will tighten and tone your body while also burning fat.
Myth: Cardio is the only way to lose weight.
Busted: While cardio can help shed some unwanted pounds, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training will also help you lose body fat – sometimes quicker than by only doing cardio.
Myth: Crunches lead to six-pack abs.
Busted: Even if you do 100 crunches per day, you still won’t see six-pack abs anytime soon. The only way you can lose fat from your belly is to lose fat from your entire body through strength and interval training. Focusing on your nutrition and keeping a clean diet is also very important. While some people say 80 percent of your fitness regimen is nutrition, it should really be a focus 100 percent of the time. Abs are made in the kitchen!
Myth: Carbs are the enemy!
Busted: Your body actually needs carbohydrates to complete its basic functions. Rather than ditching all carbs, try only eating the “good” ones, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Swapping out refined grains for whole grains may actually help you reduce total body fat. Your daily activity will also dictate how many carbs your body needs. If you have a heavy cardio day (such as a day of boxing or hiking) your body will need more carbs to keep your energy levels up. If you are sitting at your desk all day, you won’t need as many.
Myth: Crash diets help you lose weight.
Busted: Crash diets will actually slow your metabolism, leading to future weight gain and deprive your body of essential nutrients. Crash diets can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk of dehydration, heart palpitations, and cardiac stress. If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to do so slowly by dropping just 1 to 2 pounds per week. Exercise regularly and stick to a diet that limits saturated fat and sugars and emphasizes fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, and whole grains.
While every body is different and what works for one person might not work for another, it’s important to make sure you’re following proper advice and taking healthy steps toward a fitter you. You may also need to try a couple different approaches to find the one that works best for you and your body.
— Steven McKee is regional vice president of fitness for EoS Fitness.