The majority of the population is overweight. Most of the younger generation sees the issues older adults, who have neglected their health, have to deal with, and they work like hell to avoid ever having to go through that themselves.
Because of this, the fitness industry has boomed. There are more of us than ever before looking to get fit and learn about fitness, which means, there’s more bullsh*t on the Internet than ever before.
From gluten-free to low-carb diets to juicing and detoxing, here are the top 11 fitness myths you need to stop falling for right away:
1. Cardio is best for weight loss.
Generally, when people are trying to lose weight, the very first step they take is on the treadmill. It's a widely-held belief that cardio is the best option available to help us shed that extra fluff.
Well, this couldn’t be more wrong. While cardio is good, it quickly loses its overall effectiveness in terms of calorie burning.
The body adapts quickly to what you throw at it. This is especially true of cardio.
The body adapts to cardio within four-to-five sessions, which means while you may still be running three-to-five miles in the same amount of time, you’re burning less and less energy to do the same amount of work. In other words, you’re losing less weight.
Cardio also doesn’t help you build muscle. Too much cardio can actually cause you to atrophy muscle tissue, meaning your metabolic rate will also decline.
All of this basically means that too much cardio will leave you skinny fat, with the metabolism of a 70-year-old woman – 50 years too soon.
2. You need to “work up” to the gym.
Most people generally avoid going to the gym until they feel ready to face their fears of people gawking at their swamp ass. Doing this makes it far too easy to give up on the gym completely.
The gym is a place where you can make your fitness goals happen. While some of the marketing tactics and douchebags who popularize most gyms suck, gyms are there to help us, not terrify us.
In fact, the most common fear that new people have about the gym is that they’ll be watched and judged when in reality, gym-goers really only care about themselves.
I’m not saying that the gym is absolutely necessary for people to get in shape.
Millions of people have gotten in kick-ass shape using just their own bodyweight. But, the gym does offer a form of motivation and community that can help foster success.
3. Low-carb diets are the best for fat loss.
Society has seemingly moved on from its war on fat to a war on carbs.
Sugary, delicious carbs have a bulls-eye placed squarely on them and have been named the culprit for everything from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and erectile dysfunction.
There’s definitely no shortage of cheaply made, processed carbs on which too many people rely. But, does this mean all carbs are bad? Far from it.
Very few people have ever gotten fat from eating 5,000 calories worth of broccoli or asparagus, both of which are carbs.
Blanket statements like “carbs are bad” don’t do any good for teaching people how to eat sensibly. If anything, this eventually increases the instances when we binge on “bad” or “restricted” foods.
4. You need to eat every three hours.
Somehow, it became common knowledge that in order to diet, it's best to consume smaller meals throughout the day. Ideally, five or six smaller meals spaced ever two-to-three hours throughout the day is best.
The dieters who preached this said that it “stoked” metabolism and kept it burning like a fire.
In theory, this is an awesome idea. If you fill up your gas tank too much, the rest spills out, or if you throw a big log on a fire, the fire can’t handle it all.
It’s easy to see the body and the way it handles food the same way. Except that it's completely wrong.
Human metabolism is a complicated process that includes many factors. For many people, eating smaller meals works really well and keeps them from overeating.
It’s not the only way to properly diet, though. If you prefer to eat only two big meals per day, go right ahead. It won’t harm your weight loss efforts at all.
5. Juicing is good for weight loss.
We are supposed to eat vegetables, not throw them in a glass, chug them down and then lie to friends about how delicious it tastes.
Juicing isn’t a superior way to get veggies and doesn’t help anymore with weight loss than just eating veggies.
Somehow, juicing gained major popularity, by playing off laziness and allowing people to just drink their veggies rather than the incredibly stressful process of chewing. I’m not saying that drinking some veggie juice every now and then is bad for you.
But, somewhere along the way, people started to view juicing as a vital key to weight loss.
This isn’t only wrong, it’s actually not nearly as healthy as eating your veggies. Juicing strips veggies and fruits of one of their best qualities: fiber.
Additionally, unless you’re making the juice yourself, there’s usually a ton of added sugar to make these green concoctions taste decent.
Not only are you losing fiber, but you’re replacing it with sugar, which is just plain dumb.
6. Lifting weights makes you bulky (looking at you, ladies).
Unfortunately, far too many people in this world think that lifting a single weight will turn them into an Arnold lookalike with bulging biceps and veins that resemble a roadmap.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Lifting weights not only won’t make you bulky, but it will help you keep off excess weight in the long run. Lifting weights increases muscle mass, which isn’t a bad thing.
Having more muscle mass means that you burn more calories per day just by staying alive. Burning more calories means that you keep excess fat off. Last time I checked, these are things that all of us want.
7. You need to detox to stay healthy and lose weight.
Some really smart supplement company came up with the idea to package some fiber and herbs that help you shed water and decided to sell it as a detox.
They told tales of how toxins accumulate in your body and these are responsible for everything from cancer to obesity. They made millions.
It’s not hard to find a thousand different detoxes on the Internet that tell you how they’ll make you healthier and slimmer. In reality, they barely do anything other than keep you in the bathroom for a week straight.
The body has a couple of excellent detox mechanisms built in (the liver and kidneys). These work incredibly well, and don’t need any more assistance than you eating some vegetables and drinking some water.
8. Skipping breakfast is bad for you.
Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day. It’s an important meal, but so is lunch. Don’t forget about dinner, either. All meals are important.
There isn’t one that is more important than the other, no matter how you slice them.
It’s true that people who eat breakfast feel less hungry during the day, but that’s pretty obvious if you think about it.
They’ve already eaten anywhere from 250-700 calories. They should feel less hungry. They’ve had a third of their daily food intake.
If you don’t like breakfast, don’t worry about it. If feeling like you have to rush to eat breakfast and it stresses you out, then just don’t do it. It won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts. Don’t believe me? Give intermittent fasting a quick Google.
9. Working out is all you need to do to lose weight.
It takes 35 hours of exercise to lose just one measly pound of fat without any dietary intervention. This means that fat loss can be considered a fulltime job. Go ahead and turn in your two weeks notice.
I’m not saying that exercise is useless or anything ridiculous like that — exercise is awesome. But, exercise isn’t all there is to the weight loss equation.
Most people see it as the exact opposite and think exercising allows them to eat that extra slice of pizza or cookie.
In reality, exercise isn’t a punishment, reward or tool that allows you to eat more. It’s merely something we do that shapes our bodies into what we desire. It’s a large tool on a tool belt of things at our disposal.
If weight loss is your goal, then dieting will play the majority of the role. Without getting your diet in order, weight loss will be infinitely more difficult in the long run.
10. Gluten-free is healthier for you.
Having Celiac Disease is no joke. Just minor gluten exposure can make you feel like your insides are being twisted in knots and leave you puffier than the Pillsbury doughboy. For those unfortunate people who can’t tolerate gluten, it is undoubtedly the devil.
In America, that means roughly 3-to-5 million people need to avoid gluten for their health. Gluten free, however, is now a buzzy phrase that brings in billions of dollars annually.
The only problem with this is that for the average person out there, gluten free doesn’t automatically mean healthier.
Gluten is a protein that holds together bread and other foods and gives them the texture we love. If gluten has to be removed, it gets replaced with something else.
That something else is usually some sort of flour that is cheaper, digests quicker and might even be a greater source of calories. All of these combined spell "doom" for our waistlines. Eating gluten sometimes might actually keep you thin.
11. You need to lift light weights to “tone.”
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Toning is complete bullsh*t. Or, at least toning as we know it. Having toned muscles looks awesome, but there isn’t one specific way to get toned muscles.
Toning is nothing more than a byproduct of having low body fat. If your body fat is low enough, your muscles will look toned. The best way to get your muscles to show is to lift challenging weights and shed body fat.
Get both of those taken care of, and you’ll be more toned than Tracy Anderson could ever hope to make you.