In a world where anyone with an Instagram account and a ‘fit’ body can preach health and fitness tips – it’s hard to know what information is valid, and what is… not so valid.
To help your confusion, here are 4 fitness myths that need to be debunked!
Myth: Calories in vs calories out is the most important aspect of weight loss.
It is a common misconception that a calorie deficit is the ‘be all and end all’ formula for losing weight. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re at a calorie deficit you will lose weight, but there are so many other factors to consider.
The human body is a master adapter. If you greatly restrict your calories, you will lose weight very fast in the beginning (4 – 6 weeks). After this period, however, the body begins to expect a minimal calorie input and slows down your metabolism so that it doesn’t run in overdrive and risk starving itself. Most people, when they reach this point, either further restrict their eating (we do not recommend) or go back to their normal eating habits and bounce back to the weight they were. If they learn nothing from this, they will try another diet that focuses on a calorie deficit and repeat the process all over again. This is where the term ‘yo-yo’ dieting comes from.
Your calories in will greatly affect your calories out. The food you ingest can either fuel you or hinder you. Instead of focusing on restriction and starving your body – prioritise the quality of your foods and focus having a balance in all macronutrients. By doing this you will not only have more energy to expend during your workouts (making them more effective) but you will have the nutrients necessary to build your muscle post workout.
The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism (minimum energy output required to be alive). The higher this is, the more calories you burn throughout the day and the more excess body weight you lose just by being awake!
Another way to boost your metabolism is to eat smaller, balanced meals (protein, carbs and veg) regularly throughout the day. In doing so, you teach your body to expect regular nutrient input and in turn, causes it to burn energy more quickly to cater to this.
Myth: Lifting weights as a woman will make you bulky.
Lifting weights as a woman doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to look like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger! People who have this body type don’t get there by accident.
There are so many factors that go into building large amounts of muscle. Female athletes that compete in bodybuilding or have specific goals to build muscle control many things such as hitting specific macronutrient targets, frequent heavy lifting sessions, focus on a caloric surplus and even extreme weight cutting procedures to drastically reduce body fat percentage! Not only this but women have less testosterone compared to men, which is the hormone that plays the largest role in muscle development.
Lifting weights as a part of your fitness journey is a valuable way to increase you strength, boost your metabolism and tone your body. 2-3 sessions per week along with high and low intensity cardio sessions is a great foundation when structuring your workout week!
Myth: You have to workout 6 days a week to get significant changes.
Exercising 6 days a week is something great to strive towards but it is not a prerequisite when trying to create a noticeable change in your body.
Nutrition is 80% of the battle when it comes to your health and fitness. We have noticed change in clients who took control of their eating habits whilst only training once a week.
Obviously once a week is not ideal.
For someone who is time poor and can only train 3 times per week, is looking to build muscle and lose fat our recommendation would be to do:
3 x Full Body Weights sessions with one day rest between workouts.
Every time you train you produce micro tears in your muscles that stimulates the production of testosterone in order to repair and rebuild that muscle. By doing movements that target multiple muscle groups (eg. squats, deadlifts and pullups) you maximise your output in a shorter period of time, stimulate a greater production of testosterone and burn more energy.
Myth: You have to take supplements and drink protein if you workout.
Whole foods in a balanced diet is drastically more beneficial that a diet that is saturated with supplements and protein shakes. There is a reason why they are called supplements. They supplement what you can already get!
Track your food to see if your nutrition is helping you to achieve your goals:
A general rule of thumb is 40/40/20, where 40% of your calories comes from carbs, 40 from proteins and 20 from healthy fats.
Of course, not everyone has the time to prepare every single meal and that is where these supplements can be helpful. If you’re looking for sustainable change in your health and well being though, try to have at least 80% of your macro and micronutrients come from your food.