Fitness Myth Busting 101

Want to optimize your workout and eating routines? Find out how to avoid being misguided by common misconceptions

Credit: Charles Zuckermann 

The truth about common misconceptions surrounding staying fit and healthy

Women often have misconceptions regarding personal fitness, training and weight management. In fact, for many years women have been bombarded with inaccurate information, trendy unhealthy fads, constant confusion, and improper training. Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club‘s fitness educator, Chad Benson (MSc and CPT), has agreed to help us clear up some of these myths.

Here are five of the most common misconceptions along with the correct, updated procedures and information.

Meals and Metabolism

Myth: Eating less or not at all will make you lose weight.
Fact: Eating small healthy meals throughout the day increases your metabolism, in turn helping melt away fat.

Not eating will actually slow down your metabolism creating long-term damage to your body. The calorie burning or thermogenic effect of food is an important consideration when planning meals. Benson suggests eating small frequent meals throughout the day, which will stimulate thermogenesis.

However, not all macros are created equally. The thermogenic effect of protein is significantly higher than carbohydrates or fat. Therefore, including your favorite lean protein in each meal will help increase metabolism and burn more calories when you’re not working out.

Credit: Charles Zuckermann 

Lifting Heavy Weights = Bulkiness

Myth: Lifting heavy weights will make your arms and legs look bulky.
Fact: Fewer reps with higher amounts of weight will actually tone and lean your limbs instead of creating that bulky affect.

Gaining weight and muscle size is difficult for everyone. Benson adds even men—who on average have 10 times more muscle building anabolic hormone testosterone than women—spend months in the gym before any noticeable change in size becomes apparent. If you’re truly concerned about gaining muscle, using higher rep protocols with moderate weight can significantly increase metabolism, while decreasing the likelihood of gaining lean muscle mass.

Credit: Charles Zuckermann 

Ab and Glute Exercises

Myth: Doing multiple crunches and lunges will give you the abs and butt you’ve always wanted.
Fact: There are better, more-effective ab and glute exercises, especially if you’re having neck or back problems.

Isolating one muscle like the abdominal isn’t the most efficient way to help transform your abs or booty. Benson recommends exercises that use the dominos as a connection point between the arms and legs, which are much more beneficial for burning calories. EMG activity, a measure of muscle activation, shows the plank to be one of the most powerful abdominal-strengthening exercises out there. Similarly, for the glutes, while lunges indeed use multiple muscles, the glute bridge is a far more dynamic exercise for engaging and toning your booty. This is Benson’s exercise of choice over lunges, or he suggests to superset the lunge followed by the bridge. This combo is a deadly multi-muscle metabolic duo.

Credit: Charles Zuckermann 

Abductor and Adductor Exercises

Myth: The hip adduction and abduction machines strengthen your inner and outer muscles.
Fact: Abductor and adductor exercises don’t stimulate your metabolism much and aren’t the most effective exercises for strengthening muscles.

Even though the hip adduction and abduction machines are meant to strengthen the muscles in your inner and outer thighs, they are seen more as time-wasters and these muscles would be better strengthened by other, more progressive exercises. The key to metabolism in transferable function to life or sport is integrating individual muscles into functional exercises. A few alternatives Benson recommends adopting in to your workout regime include adductor and abductor side planks or one foot standing cable pushes and pulls are great full body, metabolically effective variations of the seated abduction and adduction exercises.

Credit: Charles Zuckermann 

Expert Vs. All-Around Athlete

Myth: Becoming a cardio or spinning-machine queen will create the body you’ve always wanted.
Fact: A wide range of exercises—rather than only one daily activity or exercise—is what will give you that total-body tone you’ve always wanted.

When you focus on constantly doing one exercise, what starts to happen is that your muscles and joints become overworked and your chances of pulling a muscle or ligament increase substantially. Benson notes that myofascial and muscle recovery research clearly shows that a sufficiently worked muscle requires an average of 48 to 72 hours to fully recover. Therefore, if you can perform the same exercise on a daily basis you likely haven’t challenged your muscles sufficiently enough to create gains or maximize calorie expenditure. Benson’s solution: work hard, rest hard and repeat each exercise no more than three times a week.