Something I’ve noticed quite a bit lately, is how many myths are out there doing the rounds when it comes to training. How many times have you heard that only doing planks or crunches all day will give you a six pack? Or maybe you’ve heard that carbs should be avoided at all costs and that endless amounts of cardio is the secret to losing weight?
Well, here are 5 popular myths I’ve been hearing a lot lately that I am going to try and give a better solution to…
Myth #1– You can “spot reduce” fat.
What the myth sounds like; “I don’t like my thighs, so I’m just going to do squats to get my thighs thinner”, “If I only do sit-ups for a month my beer boep will go away.”
Exercising only the part of your body where you want to lose weight, will in fact, not let you lose weight in only that area. “Spot reducing” is simply not possible. Everyone carries fat in different areas, whether it is in our glutes aka bum, backs, stomachs, arms or thighs.
You can go and do a 1000 squats a day and it won’t lean out your thighs to the extent you think it will. You as an individual will lose fat in different areas at a different pace to that of you sister, brother, aunt or anyone else out there.
So what’s the alternative? The biggest thing to do is check in with your diet! Nutrition has the biggest part to play if you want to lose weight. Remove all the processed food and eat nutritious whole foods.
You need to do full body workouts – then it is important to know your body, and to find out what types of exercises work for YOU. Your body is different to the next person, and you will lose weight in different areas at different speeds.
Myth #2 – Cardio is the only answer to weight loss.
Running on the treadmill or on the road as if your life depended on it, is not the quick weight-loss fix answer you are looking for guys! Also, running is not for everyone.
I am all for it if it makes you happy, but for the everyday Joe out there that thinks huge amounts of cardio is the way to go for fat loss, think again. It just is not true. Rather focus on strength training sessions and combine it with HIIT workouts.
These are a lot more effective because your calories/metabolism will be boosted after the workout and it keeps burning calories when you are at home busy watching TV or sitting in traffic driving to work or home. (After burn effect) With Cardio, you burn the max amount of calories whilst you are doing the cardio.
SUPER important guys – it’s 70% what you eat, and 30% how you exercise. You simply cannot “out-excise” a bad diet.
Myth #3 – All Carbs are bad.
A lot of people out there are telling you that carbs are bad for you and you should stay away from every carb out there. It’s just Wrong, jip, with a capitol W!
We need energy and that energy comes from carbs. Energy to do work, think, live and exist. Remember those times that you might have felt confused and drained at the same time, or when you felt “down” and groggy?! It’s was probably because your brain needed more carbs to function properly.
To generalize that all carbs are bad is a silly thing to say. Fruits and veggies are carbs too. Healthy non-processed, non-refined carbs is essential to a healthy diet. There are healthy grains like quinoa and oats that are carbs and that carries fiber that keeps us fuller for longer. Moderation here is key.
Stay away from refined sugar – the cakes, pastries, white breads and donuts. Also one of the biggest mistakes people make is not checking what they DRINK – cut back on those soda drinks, fruit juices etc. There is a mountain of sugar in those drinks!
Myth #4 – Planks/Crunches are the key to flat abs.
I overheard someone saying the other day, that if you want a flat stomach, you have to do planks and crunches the whole day.
It’s a recipe for disappointment!
Doing any ab exercise is great for strengthening your core and building muscle, it’s not the magic ingredient to an iron board stomach. In fact, flat, defined abs are made in the kitchen! Your body has to have a low fat percentage so that your ab muscles can show. Eating clean and incorporating a few HIIT workouts during the week is sure to get you that dream 6 pack.
Myth #5 – Girls “Strength training will make me huge and bulky.”
Some girls out there are scared to do strength training because they don’t want to get big or bulky. The truth is, strength training builds lean muscle and will decrease body fat. (muscles burn more calories during the day to function). By only doing cardio, you are actually losing muscle – and muscles is what we need to function in our daily lives. Having muscle strength will let you live a healthier, more functional life.
Also ladies, don’t be afraid to lift weights because you are afraid of the muscle weight “gain” that will show on the scale. The real measure will be in the measurements and those before and after pics!
So guys, these have been the 5 popular myths I hope I’ve managed to discredit.
If there are any other myths/hacks you’ve heard about and want to know if these are valid or not – just drop me a mail.
All the best,
Nico Mentz is a personal trainer and fitness professional in Fourways, Sandton.